Below is my comment on asingaporeanson's blog entry "Go the Easy Way, G". My gut feel tells me that this is an important migration consideration that is worth repeating on my blog. For more factors to consider, please refer to the original post from asingaporeanson's blog.
Winking Doll wrote on 31 December 2012 16:25:
For sure you can recover the costs eventually, but IMHO there is value in a DIY (do-it-yourself) migration approach. I don't know about the Aussie process since I chose Canada, so I am going to share based on my Canadian immigration experience.
Many people are surprised that I DIY, but actually whether DIY or through agent, the time taken is the same for Canadian immigration. There is no "special immigration quota reserved for agents" -- it is a myth, probably propagated by agents looking to earn a quick buck. In the process of DIY, I learned a lot about the way the Canadian bureaucracy works and developed confidence in communicating with the Canadian authorities. E.g. There was some delay in processing my application (the receiving officer misplaced my medical examination package), so I spoke to an immigration officer who was most apologetic for the mistake at their end (i.e. the Canadian High Commission in Singapore).
This confidence to handle issues with authority figures is something that I find missing in some of the other immigrants, especially the China Chinese and/or Filipinos who used agents to come into Canada. They would run to their agents or any 3rd party for help whenever they need to deal with "authority figures" instead of learning to stand/speak for themselves.
E.g. A Filipino schoolmate, who has been in Canada for over a decade, claimed emphatically that English is her 1st language (bwah-hahahah! *evil laugh*), but asked me for help to write an appeal letter to the nursing board over the expiry of her English assessment. I turned down her request due to strategic reason. [I have another appeal in-progress that would benefit more of the internationally educated nurses, and so I wanted the nursing board's focus to be locked on that one strategic issue.] Anyway, she should be able to DIY if her English is as good as she claims and if she is as "Canadianized" as she claims from her decade of living here.
In short, the confidence that one gains from DIY is not something that money can buy. It may affect how one handles challenges that one will inevitably face as an immigrant.