Simply put, a migration agent is anyone who uses knowledge of migration procedures and regulations to offer advice or assistance relating to emigration or immigration requirements and procedures.
“Should I use a migration agent or should I try and do it all myself?”
This is a question which most potential emigrants ask themselves as they contemplate leaving the country they call home and moving to a new beginning in a land such as New Zealand. If you have not yet considered this question then now is a good time to stop everything else and spend some time looking at the facts which could have a significant impact on your future.
After making the decision to migrate, the next very important decision which will confront you is whether you should use the services of a migration agent or not. While it is a significant decision the answer is in fact very simple; unless you have emigrated at least once in the past twelve months and are very familiar with all the immigration requirements and regulations it would be very wise to consult a licensed migration agent.
What is a Migration Agent?
A migration agent is anyone who uses knowledge of migration procedures and regulations to offer advice or assistance to a person (or persons) wishing to obtain a visa to enter or remain in a country of their choice.
Why use an Agent?
Immigrating to another country is a complex process which will have a long term effect on your life in your new home. There are many choices to be made, requirements to be met and procedures to follow. A licensed migration agent knows the law, the complexities and the criteria applicable to presenting an immigration application and they know how to best compile, prepare and present your case to the department of immigration.
With a migration application, you potentially have one chance at success, fail and you could possibly close the doors for a significant time if not permanently. As a specialist, your migration agent ensures you firstly apply for the correct visa. Secondly your migration agent will prepare your case in a manner which will guarantee the best possible opportunity for a visa grant.
Your migration agent ensures the correct information is stated on the vast number of application forms and that the correct supporting evidence is provided. A formal submission is prepared which presents the information and supporting evidence and addresses the applicable laws, regulations and procedures as set out in the manual immigration officers use to evaluate your application.
The application for a visa to immigrate to another country is a lengthy process, in most cases up to fourteen months. During this time there is normally a great deal of communication and many queries, mostly due to changes in circumstances and/or regulations. Your migration agent will take care of all of these questions and represent you throughout the process.
Another, very important, aspect to consider is in using the services of a licensed migration agent, you have recourse to the licensing authority should the migration agent fail to meet the criteria set by the authority. In New Zealand, the Immigration Advisers Authority only grants a license to migration agents who have satisfied the Authority’s stringent requirements. These requirements set out, for example, a minimum level of competency, require a commitment to continuing professional development and the annual renewal of the license by the agent.
All of this very strongly supports the decision to employ the services of a licensed migration agent when planning your new life in New Zealand.
Are the fees charged by agents excessive?
The cost of a visa application is significant and should your application fail the fees paid are not refundable. In reality more than 50% of do-it-yourself applications fail with the consequent financial loss.
No-one sets out to fail. All of the information necessary to submit a visa application is available from various websites, documents from the New Zealand government and numerous other sources. However, there is so much information which can be so overwhelming that important factors may be missed, with unfortunate consequences.
Once you have made a decision to migrate, you should be able to feel confident, secure and assured your case has the best possible chance of success and this will obviously have great influence on the rest of your life. A migration agent will be able to provide you with that assurance. We pay for professional services such as lawyers, architects or doctors when the need arises as we require their specialized expertise to address a particular situation. So too, the specialized expertise of a migration agent will address a particular, life changing, situation.
Your visa is your passport to your future, without it the doors are closed to your new life in New Zealand.
Considerations when hiring an immigration adviser:
- Start by checking the online register at the Immigration Advisers Authority website.
- The register allows you to find your nearest adviser but also to check if your adviser has had their license cancelled or suspended.
- Attend a migration seminar and hear what the presenters have to say. Do not rush this step! It is as much a part of your future as stepping onto the plane and remember anyone giving immigration advice relating to New Zealand must be licensed by the IAA, unless they are exempt. Details of who would be exempt can also be found on the IAA website.