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While it’s essential to choose an immigration agency that handles visa and passport applications
both professionally and efficiently, with so many options out there how can you know which one to
Here are 10 tips to help you choose a reputable consultancy that best suits your needs:
1. Just Ask
Ryan Rennison, managing director of UK visa solutions experts, Move Up, says your first port of call
is to ask friends and family about their experiences,
“Social media is an amazing tool for polling your networks for their recommendations of which companies do a good job – with a smile – and those you should steer clear of. The chances are if your neighbour, cousin or colleague had a positive experience with an immigration expert, you’ll have one too.”
2. Google Reviews
Marketers will tell you, nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to endorsements – and
criticisms. When you’re doing online research, make sure you read your prospective immigration
agency’s Google Reviews for unadulterated, first-hand opinions from people in the know.
3. Social Media
If Google uses companies’ social media presence to rate businesses’ relevance and legitimacy, then
you should too. Take a look at your prospective immigration agency’s social media platforms
(Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) to check whether they are up to date. An inactive or
empty page may be a sign that the company is ‘fronting’ and not to be trusted.
4. Lawyer or Agency?
Avoid unnecessary costs by finding out exactly which services you require.
Immigration lawyers are best suited to complex immigration cases and often charge higher fees, while a straightforward visa
or passport application can easily be managed by a reputable and experienced immigration consultancy.
If you’re exploring moving to the UK, try this free birth certificate evaluation to see if
you qualify for an ancestral visa or British passport.
5. Get Quotes
Make sure you compare immigration consultants’ fee structures to get an idea of the range of
services out there. While some agencies are cagey about telling you how much of what you’re
paying goes straight into their pockets, there are agencies that openly publish their fees on their
On the flipside, remember that too-good-to-be-true fees are usually just that! While the offers from
less reputable agencies can have hidden Ts and Cs, some trustworthy companies like Move Up offer
a solid fees-back guarantee: if your visa application is not successful, they promise to refund your
fee in full.
6. Ancient History
Not always, but usually the best immigration agencies have been around for many years. Look at
the company’s track record. Are the employees experienced? Does the person heading up the
organisation have a solid reputation? Can you get in touch with them easily if something goes
wrong? Don’t be shy to ask for contactable references if you’re still unsure.
Good agencies will have policies and procedures in place that help give you peace of mind when it
comes to handling and storing sensitive, personal information.
For secure online payments, make sure their website URL begins with ‘https’ – the ‘S’ means the website is secure and will safely
process any credit card transactions you initiate.
8. Governing Body
Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t yet have a governing body or regulator to assist consumers with
avoiding rogue immigration agencies. Few governments have the capacity to regulate other
countries’ immigration agencies, which means it’s up to you to scrutinise your options.
9. Background Check
Relocating to a new country can sometimes involve paying hundreds of thousands of rands in fees,
mostly to your future home government.
If you’re nervous about parting with a large sum of cash, there are companies that offer background checks (on individuals and companies) for your peace of mind.
10. The Gut Test
With no governing bodies or regulators in the industry, once you’ve gathered all the information you
need, trusting your intuition is the next step forward.