Registered MARA Migration Agent
Frank Rijkers – South Africans to Oz
A Registered MARA Migration agent is the only agent in Australia who may legally charge you a fee, when helping to submit your visa application to DIBP.
This is for your protection and it is illegal for Oz Migration Agents not to be registered. Even if you choose an agent working somewhere else in the world i.e. RSA, make sure they are MARA registered.
I did my application without using a migration agent but both my daughters (Visas 189 and sponsored 457) did. They think that, at least for them, it would have been quite difficult to have settled in Oz without their agents.
My niece on the other hand did the application by herself and had no problems bringing her family here on a 189 visa, 2 years ago.
If in doubt let a registered MARA migration agent give you a professional assessment of the problems you may face. Doing this may possibly save you a ton of money and frustration.
What is MARA
“The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority is an office attached to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). We are based in Sydney and operate nationwide.” That’s a quote taken directly from the About Us page from the official site.
How will the latest Visa changes affect me
Recently the government made changes to its immigration policies that mainly seems to effect:
- 457 Temporary visas
- Fewer jobs on the Skills lists
- New age requirements
- English language requirements
- An agreement between the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to make sure you are getting paid a fair wage.
It’s up to you to decide which way you want to go, but if you have the slightest doubt about your personal situation, then contact a registered MARA migration agent.
How much will it cost me
Before you enter an agreement with a registered MARA migration agent make sure you have in writing what your full application is going to cost.
Every situation is different and only your agent can confirm the cost to you.
On MARA’s website there is an approximation Agents Fee chart that I have copied. This is their latest data in Aussie dollars from end December 2015.
|Temporary visa services|| Bridging visa
Graduate – Skilled
Other temporary resident
Temporary Work Skilled (457)
|$150 – $700
$500 – $1,500
$900 – $2,200
$550 – $2,800
$400 – $1,500
$500 – $1,650
$500 – $1,800
$900 – $2,200
$500 – $3,500
$1,800 – $5,000
$300 – $1,000
$200 – $1,100
|Permanent visa services|| Australian Declaratory visa
Employer Nomination Scheme
General Skilled Migration
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
|$500 – $4,000
$4,000 – $15,000
$1,100 – $3,300
$2,000 – $5,500
$1,500 – $4,400
$1,200 – $3,500
$1,500 – $4,000
$1,500 – $4,500
More about Fees
You will find that some agents will give you a FREE assessment which can be an automated service that calculates your points.
If you pass and before they go any further with your application, they will ask you to sign up. A 20% to 40 % deposit is usually required.
Others again will CHARGE you for an assessment and if you sign up, the assessment fee already paid by you is subtracted from their overall fee.
If an agent asks for a large upfront fee before he/she even considers your situation then I suggest you find another agent to compare notes with.
In a nutshell I would not agree to anything until the agent has looked at my details.
He must then in writing inform me for which visa/visas I might qualify and the total cost involved, which includes the agent fees.
It’s your right to make sure that you understand the Australian migration procedure before investing a lot of time and money.
Registered MARA migration agent obligations
Your agent is bound by MARA to give you a fair cost assessment on the information you have provided them.
He must also advise you in writing of any extra charges that may become due, because your circumstances have changed.
Remember, MARA agent are obliged to give you a honest assessment as to whether you are wasting your time and money when applying for an Australian visa.
It reflects badly on the migration agent if DIBP sees that their applications fail to succeed at an acceptable rate. This can result them being investigated and subsequently being unregistered with MARA.
How to find a registered migration agent
You can find a MARA registered migration agent on their list of all agents with a valid registration.
A Registered MARA Migration Agent obligation
Once you have an agreement with a chosen Registered MARA migration agent in place, he/she is required to notify the DIBP who will then make them your ‘authorised recipient’
If you decide you no longer require your agent’s services, he/she must inform the DIBP who will then relieve them of their obligations to you.
You can use your family
Because my wife and I were sailing on a yacht at the time of our application (visa 143) I used my daughter (who is now a citizen of OZ ) as my go between, which worked out fine.
The DIBP would contact her for any further information they required. She in turn would get the required information from us, wherever we were in the world.
Visit my resources page to help you get started with your visa application.
Find out here how to go about getting a sponsored job DIY
Beware of visa scams that can cost you plenty
Start here to make migrating to Oz easier in 2017