Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about acquiring a tourist visa to Australia from the Philippines. You will also find information regarding Registered Migration Agent Jeff Harvie’s Down Under Visa service.
Please keep in mind that tourist visas are NOT short-cuts to partner visas. Tourist visas are for tourists. Please read this post.
It’s very difficult to get a one-year tourist visa, because they don’t want you to use a tourist visa as a substitute for a partner visa. No one takes a “one year holiday”. Please read this article for a better explanation. http://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/08/30/1-year-tourist-visa-filipina/
Only if you are not a tourist. Please read this post.
No, they are definitely not a waste of time. You just need to be certain that your intentions are genuine and that you have a strong enough relationship to back up the application. And the way the application is presented makes all the difference.
Avoid wasting time, and get Down Under Visa to help. Start with getting an assessment of your case, and be assured of an honest response from us.
Because the Department deals with hundreds of thousands of applications every year. Most of the processing time is literally taken up by the application sitting in a large pile waiting for a Case Officer to be assigned. And if there is investigation to be done, or further information to be sought, then it will take longer. Once the application has been assigned, it is quite possible for a visa to be processed in a single day if it is well-prepared and all of the requirements are clearly met.
Definitely not! And any agent who says they can, they are not only lying they are also breaking the Code of Conduct (assuming they are registered!) Visas are GRANTED when the Regulations are met. They are nobody’s “right”. You are not a “customer”, and they won’t be pushed. You need to be patient.
The very worst thing you can do is to do the “I’m a taxpayer and I know my rights” outburst. And beware of any “agent” insinuating they are friends with Departmental staff who can fast-track. This is the Australian Government you are dealing with, and you don’t want to be party to suggestions of obtaining special favours from Departmental officers, as this smells of serious corruption. Even if we believed this was a possibility (which we do not!), we run an honest business and would never involve ourselves in this sort of thing. Please don’t ask us.
Different visas, different people, different situations, different requirements. Once you become our client, we will give you all the checklists and guidance documents you need, and we are always available to answer questions. Once you’ve become our client, never be embarrassed to ask!
The other side of this coin is that if you are not our client yet, please don’t expect we will analyse your your case and give you free advice. We will assess your situation and give you an opinion on whether you have a strong case, and we will do this for free (many agents charge for this), but don’t ask us to work for nothing.
You don’t need to fill out visa application forms. Not the Form 40SP, Form 47SP, or Form 1419. Even the Form 956, you only need to sign it after we complete the details. We don’t expect you to fill out forms, as this is our job to do. Please read this: http://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/07/22/filling-in-visa-application-forms/
The Australian Embassy doesn’t work like that these days.
- You need an appointment to get in to see them
- They won’t discuss visa applications with you anyway. They will direct you to their website.
If the visa is an offshore visa (eg. Tourist visa, offshore General Skilled Migration visa, or Student visa), then there is no right of appeal. If it is an onshore visa, or if there is an onshore sponsor, then yes it may be appealed at the Administrative Affairs Tribunal (formerly the Migration Review Tribunal or MRT). The AAT is independent of the Department, and will overturn decisions if they are proved to be incorrect.
If only it were that easy! In some cases? Yes. But for the average Filipino it’s very hard to get a Visitor Visa. Please read this document as it’s explained in great detail.
You don’t! You’re free to do all of this yourself if you wish. However, you do this at your own risk. And in about 90% of cases we manage to stop a client from doing something that would have caused them problems with their applications, maybe even a refusal. You are also free to defend yourself in court, or treat your own medical problems. However, you are missing out on the services of an experienced professional who has been through this process many times before. What price do you put on your future, or the future of your loved one?
Our main office is in Muntinlupa/Alabang (Manila). In most cases we don’t need to seeclients at all. In this electronic age, we can do everything we need via email, phone, fax and couriers. We have clients from all over the world, and many successful visa applications from people we’ve never physically met. If you need a face-to-face, provided we are in the correct place (or country) at the time, we can always make arrangements. And we are VERY quick to return emails and phonecalls!
My wife Mila does. (I speak enough to get myself into trouble, and that’s about it). So basically, yes we do.
Previously? No. Now? Yes, we do. Although we offer them to QUALIFIED clients. High-risk clients with really difficult situations, obviously not. But with our remarkable success rate we realised it’s very little risk for us to offer a money-back guarantee on our professional fees to clients with strong cases. So the answer is yes, to approved applicants, yes we can. We’re one of the more reasonably priced agents around, despite now offering this.
Under Section 2.14A of the Code of Conduct for Registered Migration Agents (which is set in Law), we’re not allowed to do that. However, under Section 2.6 of the Code, we need to be honest with you about the likely success of a case. We turn clients away on a regular basis when we don’t believe their application would succeed. And remember too that the decisions to grant a visa comes from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), so how can anybody guarantee a decision that is out of their hands anyway?
Check out these documents DOC-1 DOC-2 to get more information on unregistered agents. The Philippines is full of them. And almost every travel agent becomes an instant Migration Agent when the opportunity comes their way. Of course they’re cheaper! Registration for Registered Migration Agents costs money! So does maintaining a professional library, attending Continued Professional Development courses, keeping proper records and running a professional office.
And there are those “agents” who don’t actually submit an application for you at all. Very cheap! Proceed at your own risk. In Australia it is a criminal offense to give migration advice without being registered with MARA. With an unregistered agent, you run a serious risk and you have no protection or comeback.
For some reason, everyone’s an expert when it comes to migration. There are over 70 different types of visa for Australia. The Migration Act of 1958 and the Migration Regulations of 1994 are like a couple of phonebooks in thickness, and many of the Laws and Regulations change several times per year. And there is very little consistency across the different visa types. Beware of well-meaning friends!
You’re always free to deal with another agent, and we’re too professional for bad-mouthing. However, most agents will specialize in an area or a demographic (market) that they’re familiar and experienced with. There are some areas where we pass work onto other agents who have greater expertise than us.
We specialize in visas from the Philippines, because we have a wealth of experience with Filipino culture (my wife is Filipina, and I’ve had over a decade of association with the country and people). We have an office here. We live here. And we know the cultural and bureaucratic peculiarities. I tend to talk to the Australian party in a visa application, and Mila deals with the Filipinos. It’s a good combination, and it works well. Please read this BLOG post.
We are Registered Migration Agents (RMA), registered with MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority, which is run by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) in Australia. Our MARN (Migration Agents Registration Number) is 0959797. It is illegal in Australia to give migration advice unless you are an RMA, so yes it’s a form of licensing. So yes, we are.