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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Moving to Australia

"I paid a migration agent in Slovenia $4000 to organise my visa for Australia. After six months, he is asking me to pay another $1900. I don't have the money. I am on a tourist visa and not allowed to work."

There are too many stories of this kind. Some Slovenians who do not speak English well or do not feel confident enough to tackle the difficulties of migration themselves somewhat naively think they could move to Australia, find a well paid job and live here happily ever after. There is only this issue of work permit and visa which will surely get solved, they think, even if they have no idea how.

In Slovenia, migration agents organise seminars where they present different ways of moving to Australia. Not all migration agents are dishonest, of course. But there are some who see here an excellent opportunity to fleece naive would-be-migrants by blinding them with the promise of beautiful life in Australia. They charge large amounts of money for a service that anyone can in fact get for free.

There are situations where migration agent's assistance can be invaluable but before making any payments please check their credentials. In Australia, migration agents MUST be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority. It is ILLEGAL to give advice on migration to Australia without being registered with the Office. You can check whether your agent is registered by checking the Office of MARA website at www.mara.gov.au and selecting Find a Registered Migration Agent.

Registered migration agents are bound by the Code of Conduct and cannot charge you for services they can't provide.

Alternatively, anyone can take a really good look at the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website (www.immi.gov.au) and find all answers about visas and settling in Australia there for free. Before hiring somebody please research thoroughly their website and see whether you really need anyone to help you. If your occupation is on the skill shortages list, the Australian Government may actually INVITE you to apply for a visa that will allow you to work legally in Australia.

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