Guest rockpool crab

"**** **********" based in Edinburgh featured badly in Daily Record

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    Guest rockpool crab

    Hi there,

     

    My father-in-law drew my attention to the fact that there was an article in the Daily Record yesterday and thought it might be to do with our Visa Agents...and sure enough it is...

     

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/entertainment-catch-all/2008/08/04/oz-dream-in-tatters-as-visa-boss-flees-86908-20683355/

     

    Sigh..no wonder we haven't heard from them in ages. Although..rather bizzarly my hubbie phoned today and got through to "Clare" who isn't in Oz..but is in Edinburgh. She logged onto aspc website and checked to see if there was anything pending on our application. There was a receipt for medicals outstanding..and that was it.

     

    Jeezo...dunno what to think. Maybe papers got it wrong..or maybe she was just feeling particularly helpful today!..but it's the first sign of life from that agency in months.

     

    It's tough enough trying to do this normally without the added pressure of your agents possibly fleeing the country.

     

    Onwards and upwards eh.

     

    Carol Ann

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    Guest deanrm

    Hi Carol Ann

     

    Was about to PM you after reading the thread about your conversation with the ASPC and when I sam your location. Really sorry you had to read it in the papers.

     

    I had asked the mods a few weeks ago to start a thread warning everyone that this company seem to be in trouble but to no avail. (Sorry mods but what is this site for if not to help each other).

     

    I will PM you with my number if you want further info, but my advice at this stage is to follow the ASPC's advice and fill in form 956. The ASPC do not normally advice people to do that. They are aware of this company.

     

    Hope I have provided you with enough info to make your own mind up.

     

    Trisha

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    Hi Carol Ann,

     

    Sorry to hear the news, just read the link you posted. I do so hope it all works out for you, I would take steps with the immigration office just now to clarify everything and make sure that everything is still in place for your paperwork.

     

    Good luck and keep me posted x

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    Guest Nick11

    Have you checked out british expats- there's a warning on there and lots of angry customers. More importantly 2 very well known and respected agents have given their advice, which is really helpful.

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    Guest rockpool crab
    Have you checked out british expats- there's a warning on there and lots of angry customers. More importantly 2 very well known and respected agents have given their advice, which is really helpful.

     

    Hi there,

     

    Thanks for your kind wishes you guys. I did check out the british expats site after being PM'd rather kindly by someone on this site.

     

    Needless to say I have now filled in the necessary forms to relinquish my agent from any contact and now the aspc should deal directly through me. I hope this salvages the situation. Visa Connection did do an online check yesteday and I don't think it's as bad as we may have first thought..so fingers crossed it'll all work out.

     

    Cheers

     

    Carol Ann

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    Guest Django
    I had asked the mods a few weeks ago to start a thread warning everyone that this company seem to be in trouble but to no avail. (Sorry mods but what is this site for if not to help each other).

     

    Hi Trisha,

     

    If we had started a thread saying don't go with a certain agent coz they are cr@p we could be sued by said agent and that would be the end of PIA and then we wouldn't be able to help anybody.:sad: You may notice the thread on BE has been removed for the same legal reasons.

     

    Pete

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    Guest moonraker1959

    Just read the article and am shocked.Why?Because I used this company 3 years ago to renew my PR visa and had nothing but excellent service.Yes I paid more than I would of had I gone to London,but at that time we were living in Cumbria,and by the time we paid out for train fares ect it was worth letting Visa Connection do it for us.In all it took about a month and I even spoke to Clare a couple of times via the phone and she seemed really nice???Some people hey?I feel sorry for those who have been let down by her!

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    Guest val diffin

    Hi Carol ann

     

    I could'nt beleive it when i read your post,we used visa connection when we decided to emigrate and could'nt fault Clare or the office team. Everytime I phoned they were really helpful,she came through to Glasgow to meet us and it was plain sailing onwards and she phoned me on my 40th birthday to tell us we had our visas, anyway just wanted to say Im shocked cos i read the Record everyday and missed it.

    good luck and hope everything goes smoothly for you

     

    Val:)

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    Guest rockpool crab
    Hi Carol ann

     

    I could'nt beleive it when i read your post,we used visa connection when we decided to emigrate and could'nt fault Clare or the office team. Everytime I phoned they were really helpful,she came through to Glasgow to meet us and it was plain sailing onwards and she phoned me on my 40th birthday to tell us we had our visas, anyway just wanted to say Im shocked cos i read the Record everyday and missed it.

    good luck and hope everything goes smoothly for you

     

    Val:)

     

    Hi there, I spoke to Clare today and basically told her I'd sent off the forms to relinquish VC's contact with aspc and it's now over to ourselves, we'll be the main contact for anything regarding our visas. She was very nice about it and did go some way to explaining what had been going on. I felt a bit bad actually but I have to think about what could "possibly" happen. I'm aware that the aspc told me on Tuesday morning that you get 28 days to reply to a Case Officers request. There was a lot of trouble with their email system recently due to "tram words in Edinburgh"..and who's to say that requests might not get dealt with in time...they might..but I don't want to take the chance. It was all extremely amicable and she has agree'd to help me should I need it. To me that's the perfect scenario. I'll keep on top of my own visa app. from now on and if I get stuck then hopefully she'll talk me through anything I need.

     

    On the whole I was happy with the whole process till it all went quiet. Other than that it was fine up till then.

     

    Phew....hope I filled up my two forms correctly..lol. I'm going to stay up tonight and phone. I got a pro-forma acknowledging the email but nothing to say that all communication will be through ourselves..bit early mind you. But think a wee followup phone call won't go a miss ;). Apparently they don't have our actual medicals. I just thought it was a "receipt" for them..but it's the actual medicals. Which were done on 18th December 2007 and sent off by the doctor straight to Sydney. So this could be my first head ache .....sigh.....here we go eh. Clare said you don't get any acknowledgment for the medicals until basically something happens, i..e. something like this. The online post lodgement enquiry apparently threw this up and says they are still outstanding. I don't know how much gravitas is placed on the online reporting system so I'll ask tonight if they do indeed acknowledge (verbally) if they have the medicals.

     

    Fingers crosssed...jeez...I wrote a book there eh..bit disjointed ..lol.

     

    Thanks for all kind wishes

     

    Carol Ann

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    Guest sarahsmartiepants
    Hi Trisha,

     

    If we had started a thread saying don't go with a certain agent coz they are cr@p we could be sued by said agent and that would be the end of PIA and then we wouldn't be able to help anybody.:sad: You may notice the thread on BE has been removed for the same legal reasons.

     

    Pete

    But surely thee is no reason people cant put " I had a bad time with a particular migration company, if you want to know who then pm me". There is no reason you cant name them via pm as this is personal, not typed in an open forum.

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    But surely thee is no reason people cant put " I had a bad time with a particular migration company, if you want to know who then pm me". There is no reason you cant name them via pm as this is personal, not typed in an open forum.

     

    Hi Sarah

     

    If you say anything disparaging about someone else in writing and you then publish your remark to a third party, even in a PM, potentially the person you are complaining about could have a good cause of action against you for defamation, specifically libel if the allegation is in writing or slander if it is oral.

     

    In defamation, the burden of proof is reversed. The victim does not have to prove that the allegation is untrue, unfair or unjustified. All that the victim needs to do is to prove that the allegation was made, to whom and where.

     

    It is then up to the person who made the allegation in the first place to defend it, and there are only four - very specific - defences to defamation.

     

    The risk that anybody who publishes a potentially defamatory remark on a public forum runs is that they have said enough about themselves in other posts etc to enable the victim to identify who they are in real life. The web is not as "anonymous" as most people imagine. People give away a VAST deal of personal information about themselves on the forums, often unwittingly.

     

    The risk that someone who does the above in a pm runs is that the person making the seemingly concerned enquiry in a PM is not a genuine "other person" but is a mole who either "belongs" to the victim or is sympathetic to the victim but it not actually a controlled-by-the-victim mole. When you reply to a PM, you have no real way of knowing who you are replying to.

     

    The risk that the forum owner runs is that if an allegation is published in his newspaper or on his internet forum, then he provided the medium via which the allegation was published to the world at large. This is equally true of PMs because no forum uses software that is particularly hack-proof.

     

    Newspapers carry huge amounts of defamation insurance to cover themselves in case of claims of defamation. They can get the insurance because they control what is said in the paper, it is written by one of their journalists, approved by their editor and they have retained solicitors who are available to check the material at short notice prior to publication.

     

    The forum owner cannot get this insurance. He is not able to control what is said in a forum such as this and he is not able to control who says it. In any case it is such a colossally expensive type of insurance that it would not be possible to make the forum available to the members as a cost-free resource if such insurance could be bought.

     

    It is not as simple as you imagine, I am afraid.

     

    Best wishes

     

    Gill

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    Hi rockpool crab

     

    The ICSE database that DIAC officers rely on is not usually unreliable. The status page on an e-visa application often is. Also, Migration Agents cannot access the ICSE database. Only DIAC officers can access that. Therefore my guess is that Clare was simply looking at the status page on your e-application and nothing more - or at her own internal database.

     

    If your meds were sent last December then if there was a medical query you should have heard something long before now. If all the meds were "Box A" (ie the doctor ticked Box A on all the forms 26) then the processing staff at the Health Operations Centre in Sydney should have cleared them ages ago and the main ICSE database should say so.

     

    I suggest you e-mail the Health Operations Centre in Sydney or the Australian High Commission in London, asking them to confirm what their own database says about the current status of your meds.

     

    The links are here:

     

    http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/australia/processing-centres/hoc-sydney.htm

     

    http://www.uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/Visas%5fand%5fMigration.html

     

    Best wishes

     

    Gill

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    Guest rockpool crab
    Hi rockpool crab

     

    The ICSE database that DIAC officers rely on is not usually unreliable. The status page on an e-visa application often is. Also, Migration Agents cannot access the ICSE database. Only DIAC officers can access that. Therefore my guess is that Clare was simply looking at the status page on your e-application and nothing more - or at her own internal database.

     

    If your meds were sent last December then if there was a medical query you should have heard something long before now. If all the meds were "Box A" (ie the doctor ticked Box A on all the forms 26) then the processing staff at the Health Operations Centre in Sydney should have cleared them ages ago and the main ICSE database should say so.

     

    I suggest you e-mail the Health Operations Centre in Sydney or the Australian High Commission in London, asking them to confirm what their own database says about the current status of your meds.

     

    The links are here:

     

    http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/australia/processing-centres/hoc-sydney.htm

     

    http://www.uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/Visas%5fand%5fMigration.html

     

    Best wishes

     

    Gill

     

    Hiya Gill,

     

    This is all really good stuff. I'd hoped that maybe Clare was looking at something a bit downlevel. I think what I'll do is phone tomorrow morning. I missed it this morning, tried phoning but by the time I got through it was 4.10pm and they shut at 4.

     

    I'll ask the DIAC officers first if they have them, assuming that they recognise myself as the representative for the visa, and not still VC. If they can't tell me, or say they don't tell me then I'll go the routes you've mentioned...medical centre in Sydney first. I do still have the receipt which does at least prove it was done. But I'd hate to have to pay for them again..although might happen if visa doesn't comein time :-(

     

    Anyways..that was soooooooooooooo useful cheers for the post.

     

    Carol Ann

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    Guest fergie family

    Hi Carol ann

     

    We are also using VC and applied in March 08. Clare started our visa application and then Danielle took over. Did clare tell you anything about what is happening. Is the company going to be alright and are we still going to get our visa's through them.

     

    I would be grateful for any information.

     

    Thanks Susan

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    Guest deanrm

    Hi Pete

     

    I do understand to a certain extent, its just frustrating for us to sit and watch others who are in the same boat as we were a few months back. I hope you understand that it was not a dig at you personally but after what we went through, we just want to warn others of the danger to their visas.

     

    I still urge ALL of you who are in this situation to fill and send Form 956 and regain control of your future before its too late, like it was for us.

     

    It really is not so complicated and myself and others would only be to happy to help if you get stuck at all.

     

    Good luck to you all

     

    Trisha

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    Guest Django
    I do understand to a certain extent, its just frustrating for us to sit and watch others who are in the same boat as we were a few months back. I hope you understand that it was not a dig at you

     

    Never thought it was a dig Trisha. Believe me no one is more frustrated with this than me. I would like to post a warning in big red letters but because of libel laws it would be unwise to do so on the forum.

     

    Pete

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    Guest fergie family

    Hi

     

    I e-mailed Clare tonight and she answered me straight away to tell us our visa's are alright she said that it is all scare-mongering. The paper said that she has fled to Australia (wrong) she is in Edinburgh. She said to phone her on Monday morning for a chat.

     

    Susan

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    Hi Susan

     

    Unfortunately, it is not "all scare-mongering." Right up until late June 2008, Trisha (deanrm) was being assured that all was well with their visa application, no probs at all and that their visas would be granted any day.

     

    When Form 956 was sent to DIAC in late June, they explained to Trisha that contrary to the cosy assurances being given in the UK, their visas had been refused on 8th May 2008. Deanrm were forced to make a new visa application, costing a further $2,060.

     

    DIAC themselves have made a formal complaint to the MARA about the way that deanrm's first visa application was handled. That is the clearest possible indication of how seriously both DIAC and the MARA are taking this matter.

     

    I do not know whether the MARA have contacted Clare about deanrm's first application, but they have certainly contacted the Registered Migration Agent whose name and MARN were used on all the correspondence with DIAC.

     

    Hopefully deanrm's case is the only one where the visa was refused. Hopefully the others are not as far gone as that and can therefore be rescued if need be.

     

    I think that everybody who might be involved should take the precaution of sending Form 956 direct to DIAC. If DIAC are able to confirm that all is well and you wish to return to allowing your un-registered Agent Clare to continue to handle your application for you, there is no problem. You can always send DIAC another Form 956 later, reinstating Clare as the authorised recipient again.

     

    However if I were one of the clients, I would insist on asking DIAC for an update, to come direct to me, before deciding what else to do. Special arrangements have been made at the ASPC to "ring fence" and protect all the applications that might be affected by the "time of transition" (according to their website) currently being experienced by this firm. Although DIAC do not normally respond to enquiries asking for progess reports, the COs have been instructed to provide them in the case of the ring-fenced applications but DIAC have to receive Form 956 before they can do anything else.

     

    Best wishes

     

    Gill

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    Guest fergie family

    Hi

     

    Thanks for the information Gill. We will think about it over the weekend and see what we are going to do.

     

    Thanks again

     

    Susan

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    Guest rockpool crab
    Hi Carol ann

     

    We are also using VC and applied in March 08. Clare started our visa application and then Danielle took over. Did clare tell you anything about what is happening. Is the company going to be alright and are we still going to get our visa's through them.

     

    I would be grateful for any information.

     

    Thanks Susan

     

    Hi there,

     

    Sorry I was out last night...first I've seen the message. She was very non committal about the state of the company but did say that she was on top of all the cases and had been in personal contact with all visa applicants (including the couple who were featured in the article). I did say that she must agree about the lack of communication over the past 5 - 6 months and she did admit that there had been an element of that. Non communication makes you so uneasy.

     

    I have to say thought they do seem to be trying again. Any notes I've been sending are being answered immediately. Any time I phone I get through...so somethings happened.

     

    Fingers crossed it all works out for us, but I do feel happier that I've filled in the 956 form.

     

    Kind regards

     

    Carol Ann

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    Guest deanrm

    Hi All

     

    She has not contacted us for a start. But then after what happened to us I don't suppose she would, would she??

     

    Please please fill in Form 956.

     

    Trisha

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    Guest fergie family

    Hi Carol ann

     

    Thanks for the reply. Hopefully Clare is going to phone us on monday morning to answer some of our concerns. I am not sure if we should fill in form 956 because if the CO asks for more information I have not got a clue how to send this. We will speak to Clare first and then decide but I have not got a clue what I should do.

     

    Thanks again

     

    Susan

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    Hi Susan and Others

     

    Please don't stress about any of this. Alan Collett of Go Matilda, George Lombard of GL Consultancy and Richard Gregan of Overseas Emigration in Edinburgh have all been involved for some weeks now.

     

    All 3 are very experienced, able Registered Migration Agents and all 3 have offered to respond to anyone who wants a word with one of them in confidence. Richard's office is only 5 minutes away and he has offered to collect and review files if people want that.

     

    A picture speaks a thousand words, particularly when someone is anxious, so here are their mugshots, followed by their contact details:

     

    http://www.gomatilda.com/contact.cfm#ourpeople'>http://www.gomatilda.com/contact.cfm#ourpeople

     

    http://www.gomatilda.com/contact.cfm

     

    Alan is in Go Matilda's Melbourne office and says to ask for him by name if you want a word on the phone.

     

    http://austimmigration.com.au/site/?q=node/1

     

    http://austimmigration.com.au/site/?q=node/21

     

    Who is George kidding? That pic must be at least 20 years old, taken when he had more hair! (Sorry, George!) Here's a less ancient photo of George!

     

    http://www.themara.com.au/Online/ARInfo.asp?DeptID=140&AgentID=9681945&Name=George%20William&FamilyName=Lombard&EMail=N/A&URL=www.austimmigration.com.au&Photo=9681945.jpg

     

    Richard Gregan:

     

    http://www.overseas-emigration.co.uk/meet-the-team/scotland-team/richard-gregan.html

     

    http://www.overseas-emigration.co.uk/contact_us/

     

    richard@my-oe.com

     

    Best wishes

     

    Gill

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    Guest andrew_obrien

    I am currently using visa connection and am now concerned with all this.

     

    I have spoken to Danielle today who has said that clare is back the first week in September and that the reason for all the confusion is that there MARA agent has left them and set up on his own so they are now using Australian Lawyers to deal with all applications.

     

    But when she gave me my acs number of 314687 or 314689 it did not work which has concerned me does anyone have any advice or can tell me how long my ACS number should be?

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    Guest rockpool crab
    I am currently using visa connection and am now concerned with all this.

     

    But when she gave me my acs number of 314687 or 314689 it did not work which has concerned me

     

    Hi ..did you try 314688 :). The reason I say this, I had to input a password into the goverment website to ascertain what was happening with the visa but I wasn't privvy to the password as this was set up by VC. Clare replied to my email immediately and did say that she didn't have access to my file at the time and it might be "blah" and "blah". None of which were right and I had to try combinations..which did finally work. But I'm thinking, by the sounds of things here, she may well be in Australia and therefore not have access to your file therefore gave you the wrong number. I'm just surmising..but it might be the case.

     

    I had an email Tuesday morning, from aspc, about handing over from Clare to myself and it basically said that I hadn't given the correct agent information i.e. the visa agent wasn't actually clare. I emailed her at 5.30 am our time and I got the quickest response and she told me who the name of the agent was. It was a name I'd never once heard before which makes me think this was indeed the MARA agent you're talking of. Clare was extremely helpful with any emails I batted over all morning. I then phoned the aspc and they too were extremely helpful. I spoke to a woman there and said "does this set back on the "956" form mean I'll have to wait another fortnight for the amendment to be made regarding the agent name"..she said "normally it would..but you know what..I've got access to that database and I'm going to change it right now"....she then proceeded to tell me everthing I needed to know including the fact that I was a form short and she sent me the pdf there and then. They were unbelievably helpful. Anytime I phone the aspc they are so nice.

     

    I'm not sure of the ACS number your quoting. I actually don't know what ACS means..I have a TRN number I use which is a mixture of letters and numbers and is 10 digits / numbers long.

     

    I hope maybe this has set your mind at rest a little. I would continue to talk to VC though...but my guess is that Clare is in Oz right now and if you get up early enough and batter some emails over ..you'll get the answers you're looking for.

     

    TTFN... Carol Ann

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