Have you ever wondered what a Migration agent actually does or why they even exist?
If you’re considering a visa for your Thai Wife or Thai girlfriend to join you in your home country for a visit or to live with you permanently, then choosing your migration agent is one of the most critical decisions you may ever have to make. But with little knowledge of an Immigration Consultants’ work than choosing a professional Immigration Consultant is certainly a challenge. Making a mistake can be so easily made, especially in Thailand. Choosing a poor consultant or agency could cost you time, money and ultimately as has been experienced before – one’s very own relationship. We hope with this guide we may able to give you an insight into how the practice of Immigration Consultancy began, what a Consultants’s role and background is, how to appoint a consultant, and what services you should receive as a client of an Immigration Consultant or agency.
Foundation of Immigration Consultancy
Immigration consultants started working in the 1960s when a large number of people started migrating from Asia and Latin America to the UK, Europe, Australia, and the US. Generally, these developed countries have very stringent rules for immigration and visa processing. To help aid people who need clarity regarding the Visa and Immigration rules of various countries, the concept of immigration consultancies comes forward.
Initially, consultants dealt with relocation to another country for an applicant and his/her family called Permanent migration or Settlement. Consultants also dealt with Employment migration, this is where an applicant wishes to work and gain employment in another country. In more modern times the remit of a visa consultant’s work is extremely varied and covers many different forms of both permanent and temporary migration. Consultants still process Permanent/Settlement applications and employment migration applications as mentioned previously. However, with the advent of easy and affordable air travel plus the relocation of family and loved ones in another country, visa consultants also process applications for temporary stays such as for Tourism, visiting Family, Marriage, Business, and Studentship.
Immigration Consultant – Migration Agent Definition
An Immigration Consultant is a person who helps people to emigrate from one country to another and through legal and documentation processes helps to increase the chances of immigration for travel, study, work, or business purposes. Immigration consultants also help process applications for permanent migration from one’s home country to another. This enables the applicant to join on a permanent basis a Spouse, Partner, or Parent in another country. Immigration consultants are legal experts and have extensive knowledge regarding immigration laws, visa laws, and the procedure of obtaining different types of visas.
Appointing A Migration Agent In Thailand
Many governments have authorised bodies that provide a license to deserving immigration consultants who are thoroughly up-to-date regarding the Visa and Immigration rules of a particular country. The licenses are given only to individual migration agent who meet the country’s strict selection criteria. Licensed immigration advisers are regularly audited and vetted to ensure the consultant is advising and processing applications in the correct manner. A list of country’s with Authorised immigration governing bodies can be found below in our ‘Useful links’ section.
- Wherever possible try to use a licensed migration agent if this is not possible exercise due diligence regarding the consultant and company. Do your homework research the Consultant and the company you are about to appoint.
- Seek clarity on the terms of service being offered and ensure you obtain a reasonable contract for the service(s) being provided
- Ensure you have a clear indication of any fees involved and also make sure that the price quoted is fully inclusive of all costs from the outset.
- If any guarantees are offered, ensure these are clearly explained to you and formed as part of your contract with the Consultant/Company.
- Enquire as to the timescale and the processes involved in the preparation of the proposed application. Also, enquire as to the end process, what happens after submission of an application, is a level of support offered all the way through the application.
- Ensure you have a right to recourse if you encounter any problems, check with the Consultant the procedures if something does not go to plan, what would happen next?
- When and only when you are satisfied with the answers on the above should you then consider handing over any fee to the consultant. It is recommended that a deposit is given initially to appoint the Consultant to begin work and you must have this fee recorded plus a receipt issued to you for payment.
- If in doubt remember google is your friend always
- We strongly recommend at the time of appointing the Consultant and paying any fees that a legally binding contract is signed between you the client and the consultant which would be on behalf of the company they work for. As mentioned previously please ensure you have had time to read thoroughly the contract beforehand and allowed to make any changes if possible or have the terms and conditions fully explained to you. Immigration Consultants work remit
Immigration Consultants can normally advise potential applicants with regard to entry clearance, leave to enter (temporary), or Leave to remain (permanently) in another country. Immigration Consultants can process basic applications for a client that is within the chosen country’s immigration rules in the following categories:
- Spouses/unmarried partners, for example, Wife, Fiancé(e), De Facto and same-sex partner
- Other family members, for example, children and parents
- Immigration employment documents
- Other applications such as au pair, postgraduate medical/dental training, and private medical treatment.
- Nationality and citizenship ApplicationsBasic applications for:
- naturalization as another country’s citizen
- registration as another country’s citizen. Competency RequirementsImmigration Consultants should demonstrate competence in the following areas:
- Core Knowledge & ExperienceSufficient knowledge of immigration and asylum law to identify:
- That a client is subject to immigration control
- Possible immigration categories that might apply
- Relevant forms and procedures that apply
- The requirements of the Immigration Rules that must be satisfied in respect of a particular application
Remember offshore migration agents do not need to hold a license always ask what formal background they have in migration law, did they ever have an immigration license?
- Relevant time limits
- Urgent situations.
The migration agent needs to have a clear understanding of the limits of their knowledge and competence, and an understanding and sensitivity as to when a client’s case has to be transferred to another consultant.
Skills and Aptitudes
The ability to draft letters and complete application forms clearly and accurately in English, particularly with the relevant Embassy and other agencies, using the correct terminology and enclosing the appropriate evidence or a clear explanation as to why it has not been provided with an application.
Sufficient verbal communication and interpersonal skills to:
- identify to whom an inquiry relates, establish their wishes and intentions and the relevant facts of the case
- communicate advice clearly to a client, giving reasons and explaining all options
- inform the client of what steps they and the adviser need to take, including urgent action
- The ability to identify appropriate resources (e.g. textbooks, internet) and use them effectively.
- Awareness of, and a commitment to follow, established good practice.
- The ability to act with an appropriate sense of urgency.6. The ability to maintain clear, comprehensive, accurate, and structured records.
Immigration Consultancy Services
All immigration consultancy’s and consultants offer a varying level of service. Below we have listed what a good consultancy can offer you when processing an application on your behalf:
Fully managed visa service
- Liaising with both the applicant and sponsor in their own language
- Booking the visa or immigration appointment (where necessary)
- Making sure the correct application forms are used
- Provide you with an up to date document checklist of supporting documents
- Arranging the collection of your application and supporting documents from the Embassy
- Checking, copying, and preparing your application for submission to the Embassy
- Getting your application accepted, paid for, and lodged with the embassy – on time
- Collecting your visa from the embassy
- Returning your passport, visa, and all supporting documents back to you
- Arranging certified translations of all documents if required by the relevant Embassy
- Providing a return flight reservation (not confirmed booking) if required by the relevant Embassy
- Providing the required level of travel insurance if required by the relevant Embassy
- UK OISC http://oisc.homeoffice.gov.uk/
- Australia MARA https://www.mara.gov.au/
- New Zealand http://www.iaa.govt.nz/
- Canada http://www.iccrc-crcic.ca/home.cfm?setLanCookie=En