16 September 2009

Migrants happier using licensed immigration advisers

Research recently commissioned by the Immigration Advisers Authority shows clear evidence that migrants are more satisfied with the service they receive from licensed advisers than from unlicensed advisers, Registrar of Immigration Advisers, Barry Smedts, said today.

The research was commissioned by the Authority to provide a benchmark measure of the performance of immigration advisers from the perspective of their clients.  Future research will help measure the effects over time of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act, which introduced mandatory licensing of onshore immigration advisers in May 2009.

Applicants were asked to rate their adviser on six categories.  In each category licensed adviser satisfaction was statistically significantly higher when compared to unlicensed adviser satisfaction.

“We are very encouraged with the results of this survey, which show a marked difference in the level of satisfaction between migrants who consulted a licensed adviser, and those who consulted an unlicensed adviser.

“Migrants rightly had high expectations of the adviser they consulted, irrespective of whether they were charged for the service or not,” Mr Smedts said.

Nearly three quarters (72 percent) were happy with their licensed adviser, compared with 57 percent satisfaction with their unlicensed adviser.  Respondents cited issues such as the speed of the process to get a visa or permit, professional service and the knowledge and experience of staff as critical factors in determining their level of satisfaction.

“This result is encouraging: it shows that there is a correlation between the high professional standards we expect of licensed advisers and the level of satisfaction that their clients receive.

“It’s the response we were expecting, as the licensing regime ensures that licensed advisers meet high professional standards.  The good news for migrants is that the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act seems to be having a positive impact already.

“Providing support for licensed advisers is an important part of the Authority’s mandate.  We are pleased that a number of the recommendations we have in place for licensed advisers, including providing clients with a written agreement and a copy of the code of conduct, were among the factors which contributed to a more satisfied client base,” Mr Smedts said.

Visa and permit applicants who had received advice from an immigration adviser in the eight months prior to 4 May 2009 were invited to participate in the survey.  A total of 1,137 applicants completed the survey.

Source IAA Media Release

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