Use Only a REGISTERED MIGRATION AGENT
(or do it yourself)
A fair question, and one you need to decide for yourself. As a Migration Agent, obviously I think you should use a Migration Agent to do the processing for you. And truthfully I will tell you that with practically every one of our clients we are there to stop them from doing at least ONE silly thing that would have either resulted in an instant refusal, or at the very least caused them some headaches. You take the stress and the risk out of the process by using a professional, and given the importance of the issue (ie. does your wife come and join you, or does she get stuck in the Philippines for several more years or maybe forever?), the extra cost is very small and insignificant in the whole scheme of things.
But the decision is entirely up to you. You do not HAVE to use an agent, and are free to prepare your application yourself. If you do, I would only warn you that Manila is a notoriously tough port to deal with, and they have a very high rate of refusals.
And for goodness sakes, avoid NON-registered agents. In Australia, by LAW, Migration Agents need to be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority, and our bound by a strict Code of Conduct. In the Philippines there’s an “agent” (aka opportunist) on every corner, bound by no Codes whatsoever. And every travel agent will happily take your money and have a go at it themselves.
Choosing a MIGRATION AGENT
1. Is the agent REGISTERED with Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) ie. www.mara.gov.au ? If not, you have no protection and no comeback. You don’t know if they know what they are doing. And if something goes wrong, you’re on your own. Watch out for local travel agents!
2. Does all advice come from the Registered Migration Agent (if they are registered), or do they have unqualified staff who give advice?
3. Is the Registered Agent here in the Philippines, or do they only come here from time to time? We are here all the time! We do this for the following reasons (apart from the fact we like it here):
(i) Applications for partner visas for Filipina/Filipino applicants are lodged here in Philippines, so logically we should be here to handle the paperwork. We would not trust employees to do this. Every application is handled personally by me.
(ii) Our lady applicants are far more “high maintenance” than are our male sponsors. Therefore it makes practical sense that we are here.
4. Do they specialise in partner visas (spouse visas and fiancée visas, aka partner visas and prospective marriage visas)? Or do they do all types of visas? We do nothing but partner visas, as well as associated tourist visas. My wife and business partner is Filipina. We went through all of this ourselves years ago. What more can I say?
and make a start on bringing
your sweetheart to Australia!