Should I pay my agent Upfront?

Most migration agents ask their clients to pay the full fees upfront upon signing a service agreement. Clients can sometimes feel as there is no option other than to comply or risk looking for another agent. However, as soon as the fee is paid, several questions immediately pop in their minds, such as:

  • Will the agent still work hard for us now they have the money?
  • What if the agent runs away with the money?
  • What if the agent’s company goes into liquidation?

All the above questions are extremely valid causes for concern. The Migration Agents Registration Authority has provided a guide for migration agents on how to fairly deal with clients’ monies. A reputable agent will from the beginning outline to the client the following:

  • any fees paid upfront will be deposited into a Client’s Account;
  • money is not to be transferred from the Client Account until the agent has issued the client an invoice for services completed AND the client has signed the invoice;
  • if there are any monies left over at the end, the agent must explain to the client how the money will be refunded and approximately how long it will take. This should take no longer than 7 days as required by the Code of Conduct
Dealing with client monies (Diagram: MARA Client Monies PDF)
Dealing with client monies (Diagram: MARA Client Monies PDF)

Having your fees in a Client Account means you are always guaranteed to have your money back regardless of what happens to the agent or their business. So, always remember to confirm your upfront fees are being deposited into a Client Account NOT an Operating Account.