In the second part of our Choosing a Service Provider series, we’re looking at Immigration. As with temporary relocation, immigration can be a stressful and time-consuming endeavor. And however rewarding it may be in the end, it can also cost a lot, especially if you don’t do research leading up to your move.
Fortunately, you are able to get help if need be. Making use of an Immigration Service Provider can alleviate these issues, potentially saving you time, energy, and money. We asked our Director, Tracy, who heads up our Immigration Division, for an overview of the reasons you should use an Immigration Service Provider, and what to consider when looking for the best one for your needs.
What types of services is an Immigration Service Provider able to assist with?
Immigration Service Providers are able to offer a variety of related services, including facilitation, assistance, advice, and guidance relating to Visas, Permits, Authentications, Translations, Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications, Board/Body/Council Registrations, and Citizenship matters. The scope of these services may vary between providers.
Are there any limitations with regards to what a Service Provider can assist with?
Generally, such a provider is:
- Unable to submit applications on behalf of clients.
- Unable to influence processing times at the relevant departments (for example, VFS in South Africa).
- Unable to predetermine whether the missions outside the country will request documentation which is not prescribed in the respective Immigration Act.
What are the major benefits of using an Immigration Service Provider?
Benefits include ensuring that:
- Applications are correctly completed. Errors can delay processing significantly.
- The correct visa category is chosen, based on the intentions of the client.
- Letters are correctly worded, decreasing the chance that amendments need to be made at a later stage.
- All correspondence is in sync.
- All supporting documentation is as prescribed in the Immigration Act.
- Red flags are raised prior to the submission of applications, saving time and money.
- Expert and up-to-date knowledge of the Immigration Act and Regulations is provided throughout the application process.
What are the downsides of doing everything oneself?
Choosing to apply on your own may result in the application forms not being completed, or filled out correctly; choosing the incorrect visa category; nor wording letters correctly; and general uncertainties and misinterpretations of requirements, which leads to submission of incorrect support documentation, which further leads to application rejections.
What should one look for when choosing a Service Provider?
When choosing your Immigration Service Provider, it is important to ensure that they have references from past work provided, and that they are registered with a local professional body. In South Africa, this is the Forum of Immigration Practitioners of SA (FIPSA). It is also important to ensure that the Provider has been in business for several years, and that they have a comprehensive business set up (physical office address, reachable contact numbers and emails, websites with information about their services, etc). Checking all of these things before conducting business will give you peace of mind that your chosen Provider is trustworthy and well-established.
What should one do if one is experiencing difficulty working with one’s current Service Provider?
If you have tried unsuccessfully to resolve the issue with your chosen Provider, and the provider is a member of a local professional body, such as FIPSA, one may reach out to the body to request guidance. It may also be advisable to reach out to a second Provider for advice.
Is it best to work with a Service Provider located in one’s current country, or the country which one is planning to relocate to?
With current technology, it is almost irrelevant which country the service provider is located in. Make your decision based on whichever method will be easier for your communication. Bear in mind that a provider may have more knowledge about the country (and its Immigration Acts) that they are established in than a provider located elsewhere in the world.
Any insights with regards to what is happening in the South African Immigration space right now?
The Department of Home Affairs is doing random inspections at companies (without prior notice), to check if their foreign employees have the necessary legal documentation. These random checks may increase with time. Changes to the SA Immigration Act will more than likely be implemented during 2019. If so, we will be sure to let our readers know about them.
Using an established Immigration Service Provider can help you save both time and money, and allow you to enjoy more of the process of moving to your new country. With over 25 years of experience across the African continent, Relocation Africa would be happy to assist you with your immigration needs, and help you embrace the unknown. For more information about our Immigration services, feel free to reach out to Tracy du Plessis, via firstname.lastname@example.org, or on +27 21 763 4240.
Sources: . Image sources: Nils Nedel on Unsplash .
For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email email@example.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.