Thanks for your comments.
I will not rehearse my opinions about the incompetence of some RMAs because I know you are not unsympathetic to my views about those.
Legend is available to anybody who wishes to pay to use it. I enquired about that when I was preparing my mother's visa application but I did not bother to buy a subscription to it because I was concerned only with the question of how the legislation would treat my half-sister. The POPC dealt with that when I asked them about it before submitting the application, so I had no need of Legend as well or instead.
- I believe that migration agents have an ability to access suitable people at the Department in a manner that the unrepresented cannot.
Not so. Please recognise that just because you do not know about alternative ways & means with the Department does not mean that they do not exist. They do exist and they work well because the Department is a lot more inclined to help the layman who is stuck with a genuine query than it is to help an Agent who ought to know - or be able to discover - the answer without having to ask them.
It is common knowledge that the Department and Agents enjoy a thoroughly uneasy relationship. Barbara Deegan has commented on it, so has the Commonwealth Ombudsman and according to Mrs Deegan's report, the Law Council of Australia has commented as well. Mrs Deegan has recommended in black & white that the Department should copy everything it sends to the Agent direct to the applicant as well. Please see Page 63:
I suspect that Mrs Deegan shares my own scepticism.
Is this evidently uneasy relationship, described by Mrs Deegan from Page 60 onwards, really the best basis from which to shell out a shed load of money to a third party who claims that s/he will "help" one with obtaining a visa for Oz?
The Ombudsman has no faith in the regulator of this industry and neither have I:
18 months after the Ombudsman's Own Motion Report, the MARA is still at pains to ensure that the consumer is aware that they will take a year or more to do exactly nothing that will actually assist a consumer who has cause to complain about the service (or lack of) provided by an RMA:
Apparently the MARA is dedicated to the idea of conducting internal inquests at considerable inconvenience to the poor bloody client who has already been inconvenienced by the RMA in the first place or s/he would not be complaining to the MARA or anyone else. It would seem that the client can enjoy the dubious privilege of helping the MARA to navel gaze next but there is a cast-iron guarantee from the MARA that this codswallop will have no useful impact whatsoever today and will not under any circumstances provide financial redress for the client. Apparently helping the MARA to conduct nothing more than research might help future generations of migrants. Are they real? Is anybody who subscribes to this MARA outfit real in any way? It beggars belief, doesn’t it?
I'd be thinking of a lot less than £2,000 for "assistance" when the whole thing is so blinking gimcrack & flaky, frankly.
I am the first to say that I personally believe that you and Go Matilda are one of the better RMAs/firms in this game. I have no reason to doubt your own ability or your integrity.
I do find your unwillingness to discuss the issues which so clearly face your new-found 'profession' with the public whom you wish to serve rather strange, though.
- I invite you to have a look at the forums for the numbers of individuals whose skilled applications are not progressing at what appear to be a reasonable pace given the general pattern of processing. My perception is that this is an increasing number - or at least there is a steady number of applications that are seemingly not going anywhere quickly. If you were in their shoes who would you contact? Who goes into bat for these applicants if they do not have an agent who is prepared to make suitable enquiries?
I have come to the conclusion that the forums are not very accurate depictors of the market, actually. My observation is that about 50% of wannabe migrants who come to the forums are represented, nearly always by Registered Migration Agents. Jamie Smith insisted to me that only about 20% of the overall number of visa applicants are represented. So there must be a lot of applicants out there who never come to the forums, evidently, because I am pretty sure of my 50% or so on them.
The forums provide no evidence for the proposition that applications which seem to have stalled inexplicably have been made by un-represented applicants. In very many of the cases that I help to sort out the solution is actually to ditch the Agent and for the applicant to take over in person. That works like a charm with Contributory Parents, as the Poms in Oz boards reveal. With the GSM applications the applicant is often from a high risk country, which brings inevitable delays by itself.
And in far too many other cases an RMA is involved, the application has stalled and the RMA concerned is the one who refuses to do anything meaningful about chasing it up. How so and why so?
I am the first to agree that Go Matilda then gets tarred with the same brush - completely unfairly. But that should give you the best possible incentive to set about cleaning up this scruffy little cottage industry and forcing the thing onto a properly professional footing, shouldn't it?
Why don't you discuss with us why it is that the Law Council, Mrs Deegan and the Ombudsman are all so critical of the migration advice industry? Bad news travels on a skateboard. Good news takes a lot longer to disseminate. Your desire to brush these very real issues under the carpet in favour of trying to make out that you have some sort of hotline to God makes me suspicious, my friend. Smoke & mirrors is what I suspect.