Active Migration Australia is preparing a partner visa guide for you who plan to apply for Australian Partner Visas. It won’t be just another guide, but the ultimate one. Once it’s ready, you can download it in our Partner Visas’ page, here.
Below is the preface of the said guide, written by our Managing Director and Senior Migration Agent, Scott Walker.
The purpose of this enormous document is to be used as a guide – It is not a ‘How-to’, and while many of the details are very much a ‘How-to’ you need to first understand the immigration legislation and history.
The Migration Act of 1958 is the most volatile Act I believe in Australian history, with a revision on average every 2-4 weeks. That means the information today may not be correct tomorrow. As a registered migration agent I learned this the hard way. One long and tiring day I finally finished a client’s application ready to lodge at about 9 pm on a Thursday. Tired, and wanting to do one final check with fresh eyes I went home to rest. The next morning I reviewed all of the files again. But overnight, without notice, changes had been made and the client was not eligible. Fortunately, the following week legislation had changed back.
The lesson here – Make sure of what you lodge. There are very few instances where refunds of application fees are available. It is what it says, an application fee, a fee to apply, not a fee for a decision. One small error can see this significant fee lost.
This guide is very comprehensive. But it does not replace a Registered Migration Agent’s knowledge, skills or experience. Here are some fun facts: the current department partner visa website has about 5 pages of information. This guide – roughly 50 pages, the professional library that Registered Migration Agents use – roughly 120 pages.
Using a Registered Migration Agent
If you are reading this guide then you have probably decided to go it alone, and that is fine. Agents cost money and for some, that is cost just out of reach. However, if you have the means then you should seriously consider this as a viable option.
Only registered migration agents can legally give immigration assistance in Australia. To do this, they must be listed on the Register of Migration Agents, held by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.
Immigration assistance is when a person uses or claims to use knowledge of, or experience in migration procedure to assist with visa applications or other visa matters by:
- Preparing, or helping to prepare, a visa application or other document
- Advising about a visa application or visa matter
- Preparing for proceedings before a court or review authority in relation to a visa application or visa matter
- Representing in proceedings before a court or review authority in relation to a visa application or visa matter.
Be careful of unlawful operators pretending to be registered migration agents. Always check this website to make sure you are using a registered migration agent. It is important to note the OMARA has jurisdiction to consider complaints about registered migration agents only.
If you encounter an unlawful operator providing immigration assistance, report them to the Department of Home Affairs through the Border Watch online report.
If you do decide to use an Agent then here are some tips.
- Make sure the Agent is registered with the MARA (www.mara.gov.au)
- Check the Agents experience – A good guide might be the registration code. The first two digits on the code indicate the year they became an agent. Mine, for example, is 10-67594 meaning I was registered in 2010. My wife’s starts with 03 meaning she was registered in 2003.
- Arrange a consultation – Most agents charge a fee that is credited to future work. Some don’t. Treat the consultation like an interview as well as a fact-finding mission. A good agent should be thorough and know the topic well.
Visa Checking Services
Visa checking services could be the safety net that you use to take that little bit of security with you before you lodge. There are a few Registered Migration Agents that offer checking services however, most will not as it can leave operators exposed to risk should applicants not take the advice in the checking service or not understand the advice.
I believe that checking services are a good sanity check before you lodge, and for a DIY person, it should be a high priority. You would normally be charged less than $1000 which is very cheap when you consider the money you could lose.
If you’re interested, you can book one here.
Going it alone
If I have not convinced you to use a Registered Migration Agent it is time to keep reading. And even if you are now busy looking for a Registered Migration Agent this guide will still come in handy.
We wish you the very best.
Go to the following page to download the Ultimate Partner Visas Guide