What Does an Education Agency Do?
Education agencies provide professional guidance and advice to international students studying in Australia.
An international student education agent will conduct an interview regarding your current situation (including education and work experience) and then suggest study options relevant to your background and goals. Once the decision on your course has been made, your agent will begin the process of the enrolment paperwork and visa preparation. Your education agent is also expected to support you through your entire study journey in Australia.
Role of an Education Agent
An experienced education agent will help you identify career paths that suit your interests, work experience and educational background. It is important to stay on top of job trends and make the best choice for your future. If the agent does not ask about your background, find another one!
More than 1,100 Australian institutions offer 1000s of 'CRICOS-registered' courses to international students. Where do you start?! Based on the counselling session and your circumstances, your consultant will guide you through this huge selection, helping you find the best course to suit your budget & study location.
Once you have decided what to study and where, the paperwork begins. Be ready, there is a lot of it! Your education agent will provide the application forms and a list of the documents you will need to submit to the education provider.
When the official enrolment document(s) - Confirmation of Enrolment(s) - are ready, you move on to the visa preparation. Your agent will help you understand what is required, and how to proceed.
Your education agent is responsible to assist your for the duration of your studies with an issues or challenges you have while you are a student - for example, suspending your studies due to illness, complaints with your course or college, etc. While you might be in touch regularly, you can always reach out to the for help,
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Do I pay my education agent?
Generally the answer is NO.
Your education agent receives a fee/commission from the college or university once the paperwork is finalised and the student has received the visa.
Unfortunately, in some countries, unethical education agents charge fees to students for services the college or university is going to be paying them to do - they are 'double dipping'.
Unless you have a complicated visa situation (ie. past visa refusal) requiring additional assistance by a migration agent or lawyer, the student visa (subclass 500) is straightforward. The expectation it that the fee/commission the agent receives from the education provider includes assisting the student with the visa preparation.
If you are unsure about any fees being charged aside from the deposit for the course - contact the education provider directly and ask. This may or may not be acceptable.
What is the quality of my education agent?
If you are applying to be an international student from inside Australia, things are a lot easier. You can make a few phone calls and get answers to your questions quickly.
However, if you are applying from outside Australia, it may not be as easy to resolve problems. Often a second opinion from another education agency is a good solution.
It is recommended to check if your education agent (search by the last name) is listed in the Qualified Education Agent Counsellors (QEACs) List:
Agents in this list have completed a 40-hour training program and passed the final exam, so are very knowledgeable about the Australian education system, and understand the processes involved in enrolling students into Australian institutions.
The course covers topics including:
Australian Qualifications Framework, Vocational Education & Training, and Career Trends
Legislation & Regulations including the National Code of Practice 2018 & Migration Act 1958
Working Effectively in International Education
Professional Standards & Ethics
If an education agent has not taken the time to study this course, expected by most education providers, it may not be a good sign.
You can also ask your agent for referrals from other student clients - ideally a phone number or email. If he or she refuses to do so, walk away.