FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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General IMMagine Immigration FAQ
The range of Australian immigration services that we provide includes, but is not limited to the following:
- An assessment of your eligibility for various temporary and/or permanent Australian visas.
- Advice and assistance in the preparation and processing of your migration plans either from within Australia or abroad.
- A regular immigration newsletter emailed to all of our clients, keeping them informed on political, economic, national and community developments.
- Information on life in Australia for migrants including:
the climate and weather;
schools and tertiary education;
cost of living;
sport and sporting facilities;
music and culture.
- Assisting where possible with referral to good moving companies for door-to-door transportation for client's furniture and personal effects.
- Facilitating contact between migrating families in their home countries and in Australia, thus providing further moral support during the pre-appraisal period and the first few weeks of settlement.
- Introducing clients to experienced lawyers, accountants, doctors, real estate and home rental agents, employment consultants, insurance brokers, and other service providers.
- We even open bank accounts for you!
Two answers. We are Australian immigration professionals and in life you get what you pay for.
You do not visit the Doctor for free. Or your Accountant, Dentist or Lawyer for free. We don't expect to. We are sure you don't either. We can only offer you the level of expertise and service that we do because we are profitable. We do not dabble in the immigration business, we are committed to it. We know immigration law better than anyone. We are committed and successful professionals.
This is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life and resettlement is usually the most difficult process you will face in your life. Believe us - many of us at IMMagine Australia have been through the process ourselves and it wasn't easy. You therefore owe it to yourself and your family to ensure you get the most accurate and up to date advice on your eligibility and issues such as our lifestyle, cost of living, employability and education. You wont get that for free no matter how hard you try.
In return for this fee, your situation will be assessed by one of our senior team, probably one of the Directors of IMMagine Australia Immigration. You will not be dealing with junior or inexperienced staff who have little practical knowledge of the process. You will not be dealing with people who are just starting out in the business either.
Our assessment is an in depth analysis of your options. We invite further questions until you are at the point of being fully satisfied that residence is or is not an option.
Our commitment is to leave "no stone unturned" in your assessment and for that reason they can take several days to complete and it may well involve extensive exchanges between us as we seek more information we can use to help you meet the entry criteria or explore all the options.
The fee we charge does not begin to cover all our time required to assist your case but acts to identify those that are serious about the process. The reality is emigration will cost you many thousands of dollars through airfares, shipping, and Government fees etc and we learned long ago that those unprepared to part with AU$150 to assess their eligibility are unlikely to be able to bear the cost of successful emigration or may not be really serious about it.
We only want to work with those that are serious and committed to exploring every angle and every issue associated with this life changing decision.
We have a simple philosophy in business and life. We will treat you as would like you to treat us if we were in your position. As many IMMagine Australia employees are migrants themselves we know what you face if your dreams and expectations are shattered. With more than 70% of our work coming from referrals we believe this philosophy has stood the test of time.
We are therefore quite happy to put our reputation and experience on the line by offering a performance guarantee on most categories we deal with. This means if you don't get the result you were expecting and we said we would deliver so long as the conditions of the guarantee were met we will refund at least half of our consulting fees. In return we ask that clients accept the responsibility for being both honest with us and committed to the process of filing their application. Our performance guarantee is designed to protect both you and ourselves.
If we are retained to file an application and the client changes their mind we are not obliged under our terms of business to refund any of the fee. This is to ensure we are only dealing with highly committed clients.
Although the guarantees offered may be slightly different in different situations generally they will record that if the Australia Immigration Service decline the residence application clients will be refunded at least half of our consulting fee. In the event of the application being declined no refund will generally have been offered on our consulting fees if the application was declined (or not filed) for any one of the following reasons:
- Failure to disclose a medical condition or criminal conviction of any person included in the application;
- The presentation of any false or fraudulent documentation or information;
- Failure to provide us with independently verifiable evidence of exact dates of employment and job description by way of official service records issued by each employer;
- Owing to a change in the Australian Government residence policy prior to or after the filing of the residence visa/permit application.
In the unlikely event that an application is declined (we have a success rate better than 99%) for any of the reasons above clients are not be entitled to any refund of our disbursements or Government application fees. The guarantee does not extend to all categories of applications.
Of course nobody posts bad references on their website or in their marketing material and we have been doing this work for long enough to know that you can't please all your customers all the time. Sometimes your customers just don't understand the complexity of the process and cannot comprehend that bureaucracy in a first world country could be as obstructive and frustrating as the DIAC can be. However we are very confident we keep the vast majority of our clients happy the majority of the time.
Here are what some of them have taken the time to write to us (there really are a lot more but modesty prevents us!) - Read our Australian Migrant Testimonials.
Individuals and not companies are registered under the Australian Government's regulatory system. All those offering migration advice must be registered or they risk severe penalties.
All our staff who give migration advice are registered.
For your own protection do not work with anyone who is not registered.
Our work does not end when a temporary or permanent visa application is made and granted.
We know that all clients will feel anxiety while waiting on and indeed after receiving residence approval. To an extent, they are stepping into the unknown. We keep in regular contact with them from the time of our first meeting until after they are well settled in Australia.
We co-ordinate clients' essential needs before and after arrival and then provide personal advisory support during those first few tentative weeks in the country.
We do more than just process your application. We offer a range of services which are aimed at increasing your knowledge of your new home and providing you with a sound background of the country.
In regard to the preparation of your documentation, after you have received our formal instructions, the process normally takes between 4 and 10 weeks for you to gather the documents we require, 1-4 months for the skills assessment application to be approved and 6-15 months for the Australian Department of Immigration & Citizenship to process your residence case from the time it is lodged.
Processing times are often dependent on where the case is lodged, which officer is processing it, what the category of entry is and whether or not any problems arise.
Once the application is approved, you will generally be granted 12 months from the date of the earlier of your medical examinations or police clearances to enter Australia; commonly called stamping in or landing.
Most of our clients therefore retain our services for between two and four years. The first year is to get the paperwork correct and the visas application lodged and some of the second, third and 4th years are spent assisting clients with the settlement process.
A word of warning:
Migration Agents (the good ones) recognise they are being retained by clients to ensure the outcome is what the client seeks. No one can absolutely guarantee anything in terms of processing times nor outcomes, however the better and more experienced operators who keep abreast of trends in migrant numbers, Government policy shifts and all the factors that can influence processing times are the best placed to provide their clients with the greatest degree of certainty in terms of the big "how long will it take question".
None of us want the process to take a day longer than it needs to because of the emotional investment clients have made. But the process is itself difficult to fathom and "straight forward" cases can take an eternity and the tough ones can sail through with an ease not predicted. Such is the nature of dealing with bureaucrats.
What we at IMMagine Australia can do very well is to ensure that you get what you are after. Usually more quickly and with less stress than if you were trying to engage the process on your own.
We receive literally hundreds of emails every month from prospective migrants who need a job in order to get into Australia asking us whether we can help them to get the job or how they should go about doing it. Naturally it is the biggest concern for anyone moving from one country to another not only because it tends to be a pre-requisite for entry these days.
The fact is that the vast majority of you are going to require that offer of employment in order to make living in Australia a reality. We receive hundreds of letters and electronic messages from people telling us that they have sent off many curriculum vitae to Australia companies, schools or other potential employers and have not yet been offered any job. They seem surprised. We are not.
On the one hand Australia does have a chronic shortage of skilled workers with record low unemployment (the lowest in the developed world at 5%).
However, Australian employers, like those in your own country we are sure, are reluctant to employ people that they have not met face to face and had a chance to talk to, and who do not have residency in Australia and possibly never will, and who understandably are reluctant to "burn their bridges" at home and come over to Australia to take up a job (if one was offered) without any guarantee of residence.
So clearly there are major difficulties lying ahead of you. How do you get around the problem? Is it possible to find work without visiting Australia?
The short answer in 95% of cases is no.
The first thing which you should do before even contemplating seeking employment in Australia is to find out from a professional migration agent what your options are with regard to meeting Government entry criteria, whether that be temporary or permanent and what issues you might confront.
We are constantly amazed how many people find jobs in Australia expecting to be able to stay permanently only to be told that their chances are virtually non existent because they do not meet permanent entry criteria. Often this has occurred after they have shipped goods to Australia, uprooted their spouses and children and naturally it comes as a great shock when they get here. So before you do anything else, download our questionnaire, e-mail it to us along with your payment for our internet assessment fee and we will then advise you whether we can get you to the starting gates!
If after we have assessed your options we believe residency is a genuine possibility and you require an offer of employment our advice to you will be quite simple - buy an airline ticket and book a trip to Australia, which will last at least 4 -8 weeks (the longer the better) to find a job. You really have no other choice even if this means applying for visitor visas for those that cannot enter on an eVisitor visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), available to the citizens of a number of countries including the UK, US and the EU. If you require a Visitor Visa to travel here to look for work you are in a very delicate situation in relation to how you explain the reasons for your visit here and still be regarded as a genuine visitor/tourist.
Might it be possible to line up interviews before you land in Australia?
Possibly, but again it is less likely than if you are here. If you have some specialised skill and a patient employer-to-be in Australia then this does happen especially in occupations where there is a desperate shortage. You should really only begin this process a few weeks before you get here or you will be of little interest to employers and recruitment agencies.
It is unlikely a recruitment company will market you in this way before you are here to actually attend any interviews they might be able to line up.
So generally our advice is to start this process of job hunting when you are here and able to take up the job within a short time.
Who is the best person to market my skills?
Once you are in Australia we believe that as a general rule the best person to market you is you. Personnel recruitment agencies generally speaking have shown a lack of interest in people who are not permanently resident or who do not have work permits although this has begun to change as the labour market has tightened. They will often however give you little more than a passing consideration as a consequence. Even if they do consider you it will probably be because they have some incredibly desperate employer/client who cannot fill the position locally. This doesn't mean there aren't jobs - it just means Recruiters are often not overly interested in helping you because Australia employers are often reluctant to get involved with the migration process (and having to deal with the immigration bureaucrats) or are reluctant to get involved with migrants full stop.
Therefore we advise the best way of finding a job is as follows:
The Internet - increasingly this is the medium by which employers and employees find one another. The largest internet based recruitment site in AU is Seek Jobs Australia but there are plenty of others. Our advice is to do a Google search - note how almost all vacancies listed however will demand of you a work visa or residence visa before they wish to interview you. A classic catch-22 for most of you. You may wish to discuss solutions to this with us.
Use local newspapers and the Situations Vacant columns although this is diminishing in importance, and;
Identify companies which may be able to use your skills and approach them directly. The local Yellow Pages telephone directory is very helpful in this regard. The yellow pages is on the internet (http://www.yellowpages.com.au/).
Try personnel recruitment companies but don't be disappointed if they don't appear overjoyed to see or hear from you.
English language ability may be relevant to a visa applicant in two respects namely:
- It may determine the score that an applicant will achieve and;
- A certain level of English language ability may be a requisite to be able to apply for a particular type of visa.
Different types of visas will have different requirements in this regard and it is important to ascertain the English language requirements of the class of visa that you will be applying for.
Please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.