How much really Migration Agents charge?
Do you want to know the truth? Migration agents fees vary by as much as six times. That’s right.
But don’t take my words for it. Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) released average fees that migration agents charged in 2015 – for different visa categories. Below is the snapshot of the table (link to the page) …
If you look in the table, for example, under permanent visa category, different agents charged between $500 to $4000 for Partner migration. Another popular but temporary visa, 457, had a range between $1800 to $5000. The difference was almost three times for this temporary visa.
It is true that there is no legal scale on how much migration agencies can charge for helping you with your visa. However, “Fees and Charges” under section 5 of registered migration agents’ Code of Conduct document says…
a registered migration agent must set and charge a fee that is reasonable in the circumstances of the case.
Basically, it says that the agents must be fair and reasonable on how much they charge.
Initial consultation fees
This is the first meeting between you and the agent – in person, over the phone, or by email, and usually you get to decide that. As a courtesy, many migration agents provide a free 30 minute initial consultation.
Others that charge, which they must tell you in writing how much before the meeting, usually agree to credit the fees back to you if you choose them for help. If you don’t, you pay whatever you agreed upon. This fee could be anywhere from one hundred dollars to as high as few hundred.
Depending on the complexity of your case, and the amount of information you provide to the agent, usually all it takes is this one meeting to find out:
- What visa type is appropriate for your case,
- How long the preparation might take, and
- Estimate of the cost (immigration fees plus agent fees).
To take full advantage, go prepared. Take any documents with you if you have to, and don’t hold back any information during the discussion. The only way an agent can honor his/her fees estimates is when you reveal all the information they need.
AGENT’S SERVICE CHARGES
Migration agents charge to prepare, file, and manage your case until the decision has been made. How much they charge for providing the service depends on several factors.
What can impact agent’s service fees?
According to OMARA, there are a number of factors that can influence the fees charged by the registered migration agents (RMAs).
While some of them are related to your own circumstances, others are not. Here are the common reasons why agent fees fluctuate:
1. Hourly rate vs. bill by service: These are two different ways an agent can bill its client. Which one they pick depends on their own business practice.
In an hourly rate format, the agent will provide you a “more detailed itemized statement of the services“, where as in bill by service, the agent will charge you in a “package” format for the complete service. In either case, RMA must give you an estimate of the charges before starting the work.
2. Visa type: Temporary visas such as visitor, bridging, tourist, or holiday visas are relatively easier to apply and hence, take less time to prepare. Permanent visas such as partner or skilled visas generally require strong and carefully prepared supporting documents, thus more preparation time.
3. Complexities: Do you have dependent in your application? Expect to pay more.
4. Size of the Company: This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with who you choose to represent your case. If you pick an agency that has twenty staffs, office in the CBD, and branches all across the country, their fees can be higher compared to other smaller companies.
That’s because there are certain costs associated with running a large business. The advantage? Because these companies have been in business for so long, their expertise and depth of experience is usually unmatched.
5. The level of experience: Experience is highly desirable but it comes at a price. Compared to lesser ones, more experienced RMAs, regardless of their company size, are very likely to charge higher fees.
6. Qualifications: Some of the RMAs are also immigration lawyers. And someone with legal expertise may inherently charge slightly higher compared to RMAs.
However, if you need legal assistance in your immigration application, choosing agents with both expertise may be cost-effective.
There you go…six reasons that can impact agents fees.
One last thing I should mention…
No Visa, No Fee
You may have heard about “No visa, no fee” or, “No win, no fee”. Some registered migration agents offer such scheme.
OMARA says – “Under this model, the RMA charges clients up-front, and they are required to keep sufficient funds available in the event that the RMA is required to refund client monies. This may occur if the visa application is not successful.”
While the scheme seems genuine and a clever marketing strategy designed to buy client’s trust, my guess is that RMAs offering “no win no fee” are very selective on who they choose to represent.
So, I did a quick google search and found out the following…
True blue migration is one of the few companies that offers “no visa no fee”. However, the offer is valid only on their select visas categories, as this page mentions (you may have to contact them to get a list of visas though).
Is the visa you’re applying on that list? If so, you pretty much have nothing to lose using one of these migration agencies.
Couple of things before you get too excited about it though:
- You’ll have to meet all the requirements for the visa. Only that’s when the agency will offer you no visa, no fee. Good thing is the agencies will do the initial assessment at no charge, whether you end up meeting the criteria or not. (You can request your free consultation here and mention no visa, no fee agents only)
- No visa, no fee may only cover agents’ share of service charges. Government fees or any other fees may not be included. Before signing any contract, confirm what’s eligible for refund in case your visa is refused.
To wrap up,
There are too many variables in play when it comes to estimating migration agent fees. Because each case is so unique, the best way to really find out is by talking to the agents.
At MQ, we help you find highly qualified agents. Our list is pre-screened, and all of them provide free initial consultation. If you want to know how much these migration agents charge, just tell me what type of visa you are applying for, and I will instantly connect you with one of them.
About the Author,
Hey, This is Yogi. Thank you for visiting my site. I am an ex-Electrical Engineer. Recently moved to Melbourne after spending 15 years in USA. I am not a Migration Agent, but if you need help finding one, I can help you with that.