Should I use a Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer or should I Apply for a Visa Myself?
Should I use a Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer or process the application myself?
If you're reading this blog, you’ve probably heard about Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers. So, what’s the difference and is it possible to process the visa application yourself?
A Migration Agent is someone who is registered with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), an organisation run by the Australian Government. MARA is in place to ensure that those giving migration advice are knowledgeable and can be held to account. Migration Agents undergo a one year course in Immigration Law, but they are not lawyers, unless they hold joint registration.
If you decide you use a Migration Agent, it’s important to make sure they have excellent English skills and in-depth experience in the migration field, particularly in the specific area of Partner visa applications.
An Immigration Lawyer is a lawyer who specialises in immigration law. Immigration Lawyers complete a 5 to 6 year university course and then carry out 6 months of rigorous study, followed by a period of supervised work, before they can practise independently.
These are the people with the most legal knowledge, but they may also work in other areas of law. Some Immigration Lawyers are also registered with MARA, as government bureaucracy requires that lawyers already licensed to practice law must also register with MARA to give immigration advice specifically. Many Immigration Lawyers still register with MARA to obtain a registered migration agent number.
Essentially, Immigration Lawyers are professionals who can protect your rights and help to advance your case.
The alternative is to process the Partner visa application yourself. Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers charge fees for their services and the average fee for processing an Australian Partner visa is usually between $5,000 and $6,000 Australian dollars.
It’s important to find out exactly what a Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer will do for you. Ask them which documents they will prepare or write for you, how they plan to communicate with you and what information they will provide you with. If you have strong English skills, understand the immigration law and have the required time and confidence, you may be able to process the application yourself. It’s a case of weighing up peace-of-mind versus the costs and deciding what’s important for you.
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