Choosing a MARA Registered Migration Agent
You do not have to use a migration agent to get a visa for Australia, you can do it yourself. But we did use one. Why?
Although my wife’s skill was on the Skilled Occupations List, she did not have a recognised qualification for it so her skill had to be independently assessed before we could take our application further. I was over the maximum age limit, so with those two factors combined, we felt our application wasn’t straightforward.
Engaging a migration agent to help us gave us the comfort of knowing that our application, when it was finally sent off, was sound and did have a good chance of success. This is because any MARA registered migration agent has a duty to ensure that all applications they send to the Australian Government have a realistic chance of approval.
In fact, I believe that if any MARA registered agent continually submits poor applications, they will find themselves in danger of having their licence taken away from them.
Can you recommend a MARA registered migration agent?
The agent we used was based in offices in Docklands, London, but has since moved back to Sydney in Australia and no longer acts as a MARA registered migration agent. So I can’t recommend her to you. But I am pleased to say I have now been working closely with a MARA agent on this website since the very beginning of 2012 who I highly recommend and you can now get your own personal and professional visa assessment right here.
Visit my page called Visa Assessment Service for more details.
What is MARA?
“The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA) is a discrete office attached to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.” That’s a quote taken directly from the about me page from the official site, which you can visit here…
And if you do, you will see that “In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.”
So, if somebody is not MARA registered, they cannot charge you a fee to help you submit your application. But everyone listed on that government website is registered, and you will find all the information you need there to find an agent to help you.
How much will it cost?
MARA has a page on their website with a guide to fees…..
How much did my agent cost?
We were charged £1,213.25 including VAT by our MARA registered migration agent, but in addition to this we had to pay £675 including VAT for my wife’s skills assessment.
We came over on the “General Skilled Migration” visa, so according to the MARA websites guide to fees, that currently costs between $1,200 and $3,850 including GST.
At current exchange rates (May 2011) that means we paid about $1,950. That’s almost exactly in the middle of their price variation. Although the pound was much stronger in those days, one GBP was worth about 2.4 AUD. So we paid closer to $3,000.
But it is worth noting that the fee only applies to the main applicant and includes members of their immediate family. It’s not a fee per family member.
Payments in advance.
Some migration agents ask for quite large and substantial upfront fees before they even look at your details or your situation. This should not be the case and there is no justification for any agent requesting such fees and you should treat any such requests with caution.
Other services offer a “free” assessment, but this is usually just an automated process that takes some basic details and calculates your points. If you score the requested number of points, you are then asked for a substantial sum in advance before they will help you further, again I suggest caution.
Never pay large sums in advance to migration agents, substantial fees should only be paid after the agent has looked at ALL of your details and has informed you, in writing, which visa or visas you might qualify for and the exact costs of applying for those visas.
With our Visa Assessment, you will pay a small fee for the service, but my agent will spend something like a couple of hours looking through all of your information, deciding which options are best for you, putting it all in writing and fully explaining all the costs. If my agent feels you would not qualify for any visas, he would advise you of what YOU can do to improve your chances of success and, if possible, suggest ways you can achieve a higher points total.
Should you decide to use my agent to represent you, your assessment fee is added to your account as a credit towards your costs.
If, for any reason, anybody is unhappy with the service and nobody has been yet, I will personally refund your money, I guarantee it.
Here’s one BIG final tip
Google is your friend. No, really! If you are considering using a specific MARA registered agent or company, and you want to check them out, simply search for the name of that company followed by the word “reviews”.
You will be amazed by what might come up.
I have been contacted by several disgruntled readers who have paid good money, sometimes a lot of money, to supposedly reputable agents and they’ve received nothing but disappointment.
For each one, if these people had simply Googled the reviews about those companies they would have surely seen the opinions of many disgruntled clients and stayed away.
I suggest you Google first, pay later.
More useful links:
In addition to the fees and charges made by your MARA registered migration agent, should you choose to use one, there will be a fee payable to the Australian Government for your visa.
These fees vary but the government has a page on their website with the details.