well, this is a most peculiar and strange post. it's not one that i had any particular idea that i would be writing, as for the most part i had forgotten all about it. after an unpleasant day or so with Australia Visa Solutions, though, i thought i had best share my experiences in case anyone is doing a google thing and wondering about using them. here is some information you might quite like to consider.
about 7 years ago - perhaps longer - my (considerably) better half and i decided to move to Australia. this was when it was clear that South Africa had reached the point of no return in its decline. as wonderful as the majority of the people are there, it was a place being ruined by political incompetence and at the time it looked like it would only get worse. this was a time when power blackouts were kicking in a great deal, and the reality of political direction was either Mbeki fiddling with the constitution to stay on as President until he died, or a new, less competent than him President would be selected. the latter happened, and my is it bad.
so, I researched it all and worked out a company called www.australia-migration.com were the people to do it all through. don't look for it, it's not there anymore.
short story - set up a meeting with them, went through the requirements, all looked good, signed up the details, paid them and started to get the ball rolling. yay, Sydney Harbour Bridge.
things, alas, did not go to plan. i would like to stress, loud and clear, that none of it was the fault of www.australia-migration.com. far from it, they were supportive and as helpful as they could be. did they do the amount of work we actually paid them for, though? debatable, but it's hard to complain. would be lovely to declare them thieves, but it's not true.
what happened was very much a bad luck streak at dancing school. as part of our application we needed to provide copies of birth certificates. my (considerably) better half did not have hers, so we applied for one at that bastion of excellence, South African Home Affairs. their competency and dazzling levels of efficiency have been widely reported in the news, with hardly anyone ever in desperation either taking their staff hostage at gunpoint or committing suicide in their branches. we resorted to neither such tactic, but it did take them over a year to produce a copy of the birth certificate. actually, i think it was closer to 14 or 15 months, but hey, give and take.
the Hoges life seemed quite far off, then.
another quirk of fate came along, which again was not the fault of www.australia-migration.com. a change of political party in power in Australia, one that marked a return to those famous isolar, some may say prejudicial, outlook from Australia, came into being. immigration visa things came to an abrupt halt for a while, and when they returned things had changed considerably.
changed, alas, for the poor for us. whereas initially, before the year or so delay thanks to the SA Home Office, we were Grade A, most sought after type of visa applicants, the new government relegated to us to what i suppose would be Grade Z, don't really need, strewth, thanks Sheila. thus, we and our application were thrust to the arse end of a three year waiting list.
three (and a bit) years later and eventually we heard from www.australia-migration.com, who said that our application had now been "accepted" by the powers that be and they would review it. sorry, in the intervening time, we did of course have to update our application, what with William coming along.
we said cool, and let them get on with it. heard nothing more, kind of forgot all about it again.
i think about 9 months ago they got in touch with us once more - something like a year after the above - saying something about medicals and things. at this stage we were full on getting ready for moving to my home, perhaps where we should have opted for in the first place, so we said "not right now" thanks.
i forgot all about it again, but yesterday i got a message to log in at their site as there was a new message.
as you will see, i can't give the full details, but the gist was that they had a "new requirement", which they gave no specific information about, and requested i pay them AUS$650 right now. or it might have been AUS$450.
i replied saying i was disappointed that yet again they had incorrectly spelt the name of my (considerably) better half. i said i was disappointed with all the time taken with all this, that i had pretty much forgotten all about it, and that we had no intention of pursuing the matter at this stage.
in response i got a disgusting, unprofessional message from the company now called Australia Visa Solutions. they accused me of sarcasm, issued all sorts of threats to me on behalf of the Government Department of Immigration & Border Control (which i am not convinced they can do) and told me that i "had better" inform this, that and the other about the decision.
i replied saying their attitude was unprofessional, disgusting and uncalled for. in a rare move, i wasn't actually being sarcastic. spelling my (considerably) better half's name correctly had been an issue in the past too, and i had forgotten all about the matter. i also said i had no idea at all who they had sent what to, and pointed out that they had been appointed and paid to handle all correspondence on our behalf.
response to that? this.
yes, that's right. this new company who seem to have taken over www.australia-migration.com, taken over for the worse, seem to have simply deleted my account. i would be almost certain that this breaches any agreement i have with them, but frankly i cannot be arsed to pursue the matter. just a whine, rant and giving information here thing will do.
so, if anyone from The Australian Government Dudes That Do Visas is reading this, sorry if you were expecting some sort of letter from me, but as i have no clue at all as to what was sent in on my behalf or in my name, there's not much i can do, really. try contacting these twats, if you can find a way of getting hold of them.
yes, getting hold of them is a tricky thing. bearing all the hallmarks of a quality company, there are no telephone numbers, email addresses or other contact details on their webpage. so i can't contact them to ask why exactly my account has been deleted.
well, yes i can. they do link to their facebook page. rather unusual, i would say, that companies would prefer to have client queries aired on social networks instead of via the privacy of an email, but i have given it a go.
do i expect a response to the above? not really, and i don't particularly care. i, rather we, are very happy where we are, thanks. Australia would have been lovely - Ashes cricket sans snow, no less - but things happen for a reason, and i think we are better off where we are.
i can't tell you what to do. all i can say is that www.australia-migration.com were a fantastic company and representatives to work with, but my limited experience of the people who bought them, Australia Visa Solutions, has suggested that they are a disgusting disgrace and someone that i would not willingly do business with. abusing clients and just deleting their accounts is not what i would call the sign of a company one could trust or feel comfortable using.
if this has been of any help or use to anyone at all, splendid, that justifies a little more of the fee we paid.
Australia is an amazing place, and good luck, or if you like fair dinkum, to anyone thinking of heading that way. be careful of your options when you select who gets you there.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!