TIPS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND WARNINGS FOR WHEN DEALING WITH AN AGENT

Graham Paddington & Associates Pty Ltd
ACN 614 349 067
Migration Agents and Business Consultants
MARN 0006555

Graham Paddington

The Australian Government recommends that you only deal with agents who are registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (the MARA). The MARA imposes very strict conditions on the conduct of agents and this is your protection against unscrupulous and unregistered agents. 

As of 1 July 2005, all agents applying for re-registration must hold professional indemnity insurance. To be eligible for re-registration each year, an agent must attend and successfully complete the necessary annual CPD (continuing professional development) course, to demonstrate his or her proficiency in matters of immigration law. Please visit the OMARA website at www.themara.com.au and read the “Code of Conduct”, to which Registered Migration Agents must adhere. On the OMARA website, you can also confirm whether or not the person who is giving you immigration assistance and/or advice, is registered. Simply click on the link “Register of Agents”. If an agent cannot provide you with their 7-digit registration number, they are not registered with the OMARA. If he or she is not registered, DO NOT deal with them, because it is most likely, that you will have NO protection. Any guarantees or refunds that they are offering, may not be enforceable and you could be left with nothing. Worse still, your chances of obtaining a Visa may be lost forever.

Throughout his travels, Graham has seen many “agents’ who masquerade as “registered” migration agents. He has also seen companies that have their principals as registered migration agents but, who employ staff (salesmen and women) who are not registered and, who give immigration advice to the clients, this practice is totally unacceptable.  These people have no formal training or qualifications and, are only interested in “sales”, because that is what their income is dependent upon. Please note, that only Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or New Zealand citizens who hold a special category visa can be registered migration agents, pursuant to the Australian Government law and, the Migration Agents Registration Authority.  Therefore, if you are being given advice by anyone, other than a person who is registered as a migration agent with the Migration Agents Registration Authority, not only should you not accept or trust the advice, YOU SHOULD NOT PAY FOR IT.

Free On-line Assessments - these would have to be some of the most misleading and inaccurate “services” to be offered.  Typically, you will be asked to complete a “free” on-line assessment. It will come as no surprise, that the majority of people are “congratulated” because they “qualify”. You will then be asked (encouraged) to go to the next step in this “exciting” process, and pay a “fee”, so that your application can proceed further.  What a load of rubbish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you do this, you will most likely be led down a path of deceit and, DISASTER. 

Before you pay any money, or commit to any sort of contract, you must ensure that:


  • You are dealing with a registered migration agent (who also has the appropriate experience)
  • You have the registration number of the agent (the one who is actually giving you the advice) NOT the person who simply owns the company
  • You check his or her current registration status at www.themara.com.au
  • You have been provided with a thorough and detailed assessment


If you do not perform these basic checks, you will find yourself committed to a “virtual agent”; who will take absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for your application. You will be told:


  • “We will guide you through the entire process”
  • “We will save you money”
  • “We will educate you on how to lodge your own application”
  • “We can offer you several levels of assistance, to suit you and your budget”


What you will not be told is, that they will take NO RESPONSIBILITY for your application because, YOU HAVE PREPARED AND LODGED IT IN YOUR OWN NAME!!!!!!!!!!.  Whatever contract or agreement you have with them, will be full of disclaimers whereby they will not accept any responsibility for the outcome of your application.  Typically, you will be offered (and usually at extra cost) a half hour telephone consultation.  This is simply not acceptable.  Do not look for the answers that you WANT to hear, look for the answers that you NEED to hear!!!!!!!!!! Graham has “rescued” many unsuspecting and innocent people from this free on line assessment “trap” and, in the process, saved them from not only wasting their time and money, but more importantly, saved them from the emotional trauma of the disappointment of an inevitable failure.  So many potential applicants, are risking their life’s savings to pursue and, hopefully secure a better future for their family.  It is absolutely unconscionable and unacceptable, to mislead these innocent people, the way that these “free on line assessment” websites mislead and misguide them.  The cultural understanding of, and sensitivity to, these people, is what makes Graham such a unique, caring and capable individual, a person who you can truly trust and, depend upon.  Internet based applications and electronic lodgement, does not and cannot, provide the personal advice that is required for complex Visa applications.  

We strongly advise that you deal with a person, not a machine (and this also includes the DIBP website, and other "online application facilities).  As previously advised, please make sure that person is a Registered Migration Agent, registered with the OMARA.

Responsibility for your Application: 

Unlike the “free on-line assessments”, Graham will take personal responsibility not only for your initial enquiry, but also your assessment and (if you qualify), through your entire application process. You will have direct access to him by telephone and email, and you will not simply be a “number”.  Your enquiries will be attended to within 24 hours, seven days a week.


What should I do now?


The most important thing for you to do now, is to decide on which Registered Migration Agent you wish to seek advice from.  Once you have made that decision, you should forward your enquiry to them and, he or she should advise you of your options.  If, at any time you do not feel comfortable with your choice of Agent, find another one.  You should not commit to any agent by the paying of fees or entering into a contract, until such time as you are satisfied that they can help you achieve your goals.  Graham will provide all the necessary preliminary advice and assessment, you will need, to enable you to make an informed decision, and with confidence.  Graham will also be happy to provide you with extracts of the relevant regulations and/or legislation, to support his assessment and/or advice.

Once it has been determined that you are eligible to make an application, and you decide that you want to proceed and to make an application, it is a requirement of the OMARA, that prior to commencing work, or receiving any payment, that the agent provides you with written advice regarding the services to be provided, and the associated costs.  This is usually provided by way of a “Client Contract/Agreement for Service.  It is also a legal requirement that a Registered Migration Agent provides you with a copy of the document titled “Consumer Guide”.