By Gurinder Bhatti
Going abroad for higher studies or jobs has become a common phenomenon among most Indians. This practice is not only limited to the affluent classes like in the preceding years, but people from every class today are aspiring to go out of India. However, the process of visa application, starting from fulfilling the legal formalities to critical documentation at every step, can sometimes involve a lot of hassle, especially for a common man.
In times like this, taking guidance and services of an immigration consultancy firm is always advisable. It comprises a set of immigration consultants adept at clarifying all your doubts regarding visa application besides adding speed and ease to the overall process. Taking help from an immigration consultancy firm also saves a lot of time and effort. But how can one find out whether such firms are reliable and won’t mess up later?
Here are a few things that one must consider while choosing an immigration consultancy:
Thorough Research – Do in-depth online research about various immigration consultancy firms, primarily in your own city followed by other cities. While doing so, it is very important to check their authenticity. Visit their website, ask your friends and relatives, read the reviews; doing all of these are critical for saving yourself from any sort of fraud. Visit the firm in person too, if you feel so. This will allow you to ask several questions face to face and analyze their behaviour.
Registration Documents – Check all the registration documents by yourself instead of having blind faith in what the consultancy says. Make sure that the firm is registered with the Bureau of Immigration of India. In case it isn’t registered, search for another consultancy. Never fall into the trap of fraud agents or deceptive consultancies that can make you sign blank immigration application forms and use them for personal gain.
Check the immigration rules – Since the immigration rules vary from country to country, it is important that you carefully go through the list of rules and understand them. For instance, some countries like India have introduced visa on arrival, hence one must know how such services are applicable to the citizens. Consider approaching those agencies that are older and have already served huge masses. You can get accurate reviews and responses about an older firm, both online and offline.
Don’t believe in agencies that give employment guarantee – As an applicant, one must know that the immigration industry is huge and comprises agents and consultancies on a large scale. And those who make big promises should be completely avoided as their main goal is to earn money by fooling immigrants. Remember, job opportunities depend on your skills, not others’ promises.
Apart from the above-mentioned points, one should also not believe the consultants who promise to find you a sponsor or spouse to get a green card. It’s a myth! On top of it, this is completely illegal. Lying about your relationship status can put you in prison. More importantly, such activities can simply cancel your visa for lifetime and eventually deport you. So never get over-inspired from what you see in movies, after all, that’s reel, not real.
Therefore, always stay mindful and extra alert while choosing the right immigration consultancy firm. Carefully go through the above points and make sure that the agency you select has a good history and background of their work since inception. Strictly follow these pointers to prevent yourself from falling prey to fraud agents or consultancy firms.
(The author is co-founder of a consulting and recruitment firm. Views expressed are author's own.)