Life in the Day of Migration Agent George McDonald

14.08.2016

You read that right, a life in the day of me, George McDonald. I was asked to write a little bit about myself and given free rein to pen some blog posts for my employer, Let’s Go! Global so I thought I’d pick up the challenge.

My name is George McDonald, I’m 40 years old and I’ve been involved with Australian Immigration services for many years.

Over that time I’ve waved goodbye to so many new Australian Permanent Residents. I always find it quite quirky that ‘goodbye’ is the natural conclusion to a new migrants visa process and the start of a new and exciting chapter down under.

Many clients can’t wait to get to the goodbye stage and on this side of the desk we do like clients off our books and on their way (in the nicest possible sense).

I’ve recently been promoted to an oversight function which means the opportunity to shape and grow this great little firm into something huge without losing our identity in the process. It means I have less clients these days yet I still remain very active with the cases I take on. As Consultants we should always work with clients to keep us ‘on point’.

One of the main attractions of my role at Let’s Go! Global was the chance to do things differently. Everyone embraces our core mission to be the Loveliest Brand in Australian Migration and it shines through. In what is a very competitive industry the only way to stand out and standalone is to have an abject focus on optimum client care.

Life as a migration agent is tough, challenging and hugely rewarding. There really is nothing better than receiving an email or a review from a thrilled and happy client. Moving to Australia is such a life changing decision and certainly ranks as one of the most stressful things you can ever do.

What’s life like on the other side of the fence? The actual day to day experiences of a migration agent like myself, entrusted with the hopes, dreams and ambitions of clients immigrating to Australia is very similar to that of a lawyer, although there is less ‘interpretation’ allowed with Australian Migration and no judge to convince. In our Industry the decision maker is ultimately the Australian Government with its prescribed list of hurdles to overcome.

Do you feel like you’re being sold to?
Its a pet hate of mine and one that I’m trying to get the industry to change.

With many Migration agencies your first contact is with the sales team. Gloss them up however you like, Consultants, Operatives, Specialists… They’re still sales! Let’s Go! Global doesn’t employ slimy salespeople and no one is desperately chasing the next sale or worried about hitting targets. Your initial consultation is always free and will be with the Consultant best placed to work with you after examining your initial online assessment.

Enquirers who have no intention of moving to Australia
Every Monday morning my Consultants review the assessments from the weekend and without fail there will be one or two assessments borne out of a ‘domestic dispute’ on a Friday or Saturday night. A case of “Right! That’s it I’m immigrating to Australia”.

Thankfully most arguments seem to be settled by the time of our consultation where we’re asked in hushed tones ‘please don’t call again we were just arguing and I don’t want my partner to know I inquired about Australia!

A fact of life for a Migration agent are information hunters. A few people think it’s a good idea to call an agent when they’re stuck with their own immigration. You know who you are! I’m used to it and always happy to chat – just for not too long please!

They say imitation is the best form of flattery although there are times when so called competitors record our calls to train their own staff! I’ve heard that one US based migration agency still uses my calls as a template for their own staff.

We’re constantly frustrated by Forums
Forums are a great place for meeting people and bouncing ideas around although they’re still the online equivalent of the village pub. Don’t rely on these people for advice. Please, just don’t. I’ve seen too many horror stories to think otherwise. Besides, many forums are owned and operated by Migration agents which we think is a bit of a hidden agenda.

We are people too!
We try hard and work well for clients. Australian Immigration can be a difficult beast and things simply take time. Skills Assessments, Expression of Interest, Visa processing all takes time.

We would love to speed this up for you except no one has that power. I’ll call or email you pretty much 24/7 whenever you have a question but please don’t take out your frustrations on us.

Asking the same question a different way won’t help you get the answer you want.
Some things aren’t meant to be. Sometimes people have left it too late, or don’t have the right qualifications. Some occupations used to be in demand and some aren’t. If you’re eligible to emigrate don’t put it off.

Immigration Drives Emigration
It often feels like the whole World is moving. We live in uncertain times and hearing first-hand the reason for peoples migration gives a unique insight into the real drivers of International Mobility.

It’s true that lots of Brits will say they’re moving for better weather but scratch the surface and the fears are real. Fears over security, society, education and of inbound immigration going unchecked. These fears are especially true for Migrants looking to leave Europe for Australia and we’ve experienced an upswing of German and Australian clients too.

Other cultures and countries have different motivations; those in South Africa fear revolution, and are terrified of domestic crime. Many South Africans see it as a matter of life or death.
Americans do move to Australia and are a pleasure to work with. I expect many more will be considering moving should Trump win the election.

Am I Australian?
I’m British so this means I will never be accepted by MARA! One must be an Australian Citizen or hold Permanent Residency status to be MARA registered. This used to be a cause of much consternation although these days I simply accept it for what it is and always employ top class MARA agents on my teams.

Check our current lead MARA Agent

Why Don’t I Live in Australia?
It’s a good question and I did manage to do a Working Holiday Visa many years ago now! I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived and worked in Sydney, where I met and fell in love with my British wife! I may go back at some point but for now I’m happy and settled.

George McDonald Head of Australian Migration, Let’s Go! Global; the loveliest brand in Australian Migration.