You might have read our recent post on how much a migration agent should cost. This is the second part to our series and focuses on when you should pay your agent.
When should you pay your agent?
Some agents may ask you to pay in advance of services being provided, while others will charge when their services are complete.
If your agent asks you to pay in advance or takes money before completing all their services to you, your payment must go into the agent’s ‘clients’ account.’ This must be separate from their business operating accounts or personal bank accounts. The only time an agent can use money from this account is when:
- They need to pay disbursements on your behalf such as your visa application charge
- They need to be reimbursed for disbursements they have paid on your behalf with their own money
- They receive their professional fees once they have completed a certain amount of work.
If a visa application has several parts, for example under the Employer Nominated Scheme or a visa with a skills assessment component, your agent may expect payment on completion of each component rather than at the end when all work for the entire visa application is complete.
Before an agent can take money out of the clients’ account to pay their professional fees, they should give you a written ‘Statement of Services.’ This must show:
- the work your agent has done for you so far
- how much your agent has charged for that completed work and whether it is charged by service or by the hour.
The Statement of Services should only list work already performed rather than to be performed. It should not include any services that are not listed in your Agreement for Services and Fees.
If an agent requires payment upon completion of work, you will pay for their professional fees in one payment when all services have been delivered.
Whether an agent decides to charge you up-front or after completing services, they must issue an invoice for their professional fees and for each disbursement. After you pay each invoice, they must provide you with a receipt for each amount paid.
What if an agent changes their fees?
Your agent must inform you as soon as they become aware of any change to the fees they will charge you, for example extra work your agent did not know about when they agreed to work for you. They must inform you in writing about the extra cost and the total likely cost as a result of the change in fees.
Your agent cannot do work for you in a way that increases the cost of the work, for example by seeking advice from specialists when it’s not needed.
You can find a table of average fees charged by registered migration agents for common visa types on the Authority’s website. See Agent fees
Information on agent fees is also provided in the following languages:
Agent fees in Arabic – رسومالوكلاء
Agent fees in Chinese -移民代理费用
Agent fees in Russian – Вознаграждение за агентские услуги
Agent fees in Vietnamese – Lệ phí Đại diện Di trú
Agent fees in Hindi – एजेंटकीफ़ीस
Agent fees in Farsi رسومالوكلاء
Need migration advice? There are over 5000 Australian registered migration agents in Australia. Find one at www.mara.gov.au