If you’ve been weighing up your future in another country lately, it’s time to investigate how to pick the right immigration consultant to suit your needs – and your budget.
Here’s our list of important attributes you should be looking for in the company or individual that will be helping you emigrate to the country of your choice.
Free visa assessments
The best immigration consultants will help you work out whether you’re eligible to live and work in the country of your choice – ideally free of charge.
“I don’t believe it’s ethical to charge people just to find out whether or not they qualify for a visa,” says the managing director, Ryan Rennison, of United Kingdom immigration consultants, Move Up.
“That’s why we offer free visa and birth certificate assessments to any South African investigating their UK immigration options,” he adds.
The right immigration consultant should only charge you for their services in actually representing your application to your potential new home country.
A good track record
Has anybody had a positive experience with the immigration consultant you are considering using?
If your potential immigration company does not list positive testimonials on their website, it’s important to check out their Google reviews, or to ask them for previous clients’ contact details so you can quiz them on customer service and their success rate.
You will be spending a lot of money on your application, so it’s important to make sure you have the best chance at success – the first time around.
Do you actually need a lawyer?
Don’t fall into the trap of using an immigration lawyer, unless your particular case needs the highest level of legal expertise.
Save costly lawyers’ fees for when you actually have a complex immigration problem.
If your application and circumstances are straight forward you can save money by using an experienced, reputable immigration consultant instead.
If you are planning to move to another country, you don’t necessarily have to hire an immigration consultant from that destination in order to lodge a successful visa application.
South Africa has many reputable, effective immigration agencies that can easily assist. The bonus is that they are usually cheaper, too.
Make sure, however, that you find an agency that specialises in the immigration laws and practicecs of the country you’re hoping to move to.
Social media proof
Google uses a company’s social media platforms to rate its relevance and legitimacy, which means you should, too.
Investigate your potential immigration agency’s social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) and see if they are current.
Inactive or empty pages may be an indicator that the immigration company is only a façade for an unscrupulous business and should be avoided.
Communication is key
Not always, but often you’ll get a good idea of an immigration agency’s capability by how long they take to reply to your initial inquiry and how professional their communication is.
A prompt reply to your first email is an excellent sign that you’re dealing with a well-oiled machine.
Patience is a virtue
While immigration consultants know their industry inside and out, most people requiring assistance with moving to a new country can find the whole process stressful and overwhelming.
The best visa companies understand your predicament and prioritise being patient and understanding with all of their customers, even if they do ask a thousand questions!