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My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:41 pm
by StroppyChops
A quick visit to everyone's favourite visa agent on Monivong today - please don't mention the name here, as I have outstanding business with the agency, and they know my face well. I don't want their name appearing in this article if they Google themselves.

As I'm now teaching (in addition to running the social enterprise) it is time to bite the bullet and get a work permit. The social enterprise has never been a paying concern, other than I get to pay other people out of our personal pocket - and hence the need to teach. My school is a small, private concern and is going through registration, and working "closely with immigration officials", however you want to read that. The immigration officials told the school that I should get a WP as a business owner rather than a teacher, as the teaching is a part-time gig. My thoughts are that immigration have a fair idea I bite back, and didn't want to deal with me as part of the school herd. So, off I go to the expats visa agent of choice...

Firstly, I tried for a refund on the driver's license that was never forthcoming, as the system changed. "Oh, we give you $10 back, and you take that $10 to licensing, they give you a license." After asking why I would do that as I'd paid $35 for the license, "Oh, we give you letter, you give licensing. We fill out form for you, you no wait, just one hour." Not a bad day's work for $25. Too hot and tired to argue the point, knowing that this will be the last year the agency will gouge an extra $25 from me (or anybody) for a $10 piece of paper. So ultimately I've still got to drive out to Licensing and put in the effort myself, I've paid the agent not-small money to do a job that I'm going to end up doing - and they've still found a way to keep the dollars in the incestuous agent/government family. And all of that is assuming Licensing will renew my license that expired (by a long shot) while all this change was happening. No longer having a valid "home" driver's license, I hope not.

Back to the work permit. I say, "I have been here x years, but I have not worked for pay and I'm not going to pay for other years - just this year." The blinking eyes and whirring brain mechanism tell me, "Challen accep."

I thought I'd get in a quick salvo of "Immigration is working with my school, they said to apply for WP using my business but if it's too hard or too expensive, go back to them through the school. They said I only pay from now, not for past years."

An almost-giggle, and "Immigration, not care. Charge you every year. You pay fine."

So I comment on Immigration visiting my house twice every year for tea money and telling me I don't need a WP as a business owner who is not paid an income (let's ignore that this agency has told me every year "Not need yet, we tell you when you need"). Almost got a snort of derision, until I said "Immigration officer? Hab name and number." Confusion on face. We move on to "You pay me now $190 I get you WP for this year and next year, end 31/12." Writes down 31/12/2018 for emphasis. I consider it. "Okay."

She then moves on to "But immigration, they maybe want to charge you for all years, they no care you work or ot. If they come back, you pay me cash, you pay only half."

I wanted clarification. "What?"

"You pay half for all years, but no receipt." About now I started suspecting a scam. I know, right? Who'd have thought it?

"Why would I give you half but no receipt? What would stop Immigration from coming back to me for all, again?"

"Oh, I give you plastic card. Then Immigration, cannot."

I think we've all drunk the Koolaid from this company so long we lose sight of how much rorting actually goes on, and just adopt the defeatist "it is what it is" line. For years (well, forever) it's been "rape and pillage for as much as you can get", and now the systems are changing it's go for one last raid.

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:46 pm
by StroppyChops
For noobs that might have missed the nuance, the card arrives with the workbook, as part of the $190 mentioned above. Not handing it over immediately is fraudulent, using it to extort a further "half" is criminal.

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:50 pm
by Bitte_Kein_Lexus
I've just glanced over this, but I honestly think you're in the wrong. You complain about the 25-35 for the license. Then just do it yourself. It's $10... If you know it's ten and want to pay ten, don't go see an agent. They're there for your convenience and to make money. Same goes for the WP.

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:52 pm
by taabarang
Sad update Stroppy, but thanks for your factual recounting. Did you deal with the old lady owner or one of her staff?

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:54 pm
by Username Taken
Ah hah. That would explain why you didn't look too happy when you went past today.

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:55 pm
by Username Taken
"it is what it is", and forever more shall be. TiC.

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:56 pm
by taabarang
Hi Stroppy.

If you feel my question was too indiscrete, I.e.
" Did you deal with the old lady owner or one of her staff?". Please pm me your answer.

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:10 pm
by phuketrichard
taabarang wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:56 pm
Hi Stroppy.

If you feel my question was too indiscrete, I.e.
" Did you deal with the old lady owner or one of her staff?". Please pm me your answer.
why didn't just send pm to him and ask?

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:21 pm
by StroppyChops
Bitte_Kein_Lexus wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:50 pm
I've just glanced over this, but I honestly think you're in the wrong. You complain about the 25-35 for the license. Then just do it yourself. It's $10... If you know it's ten and want to pay ten, don't go see an agent. They're there for your convenience and to make money. Same goes for the WP.
Always happy to be wrong, but you might have misread my post in this instance. I wasn't complaining about the $35 for the license, I happily paid this agent that much initially to do the job for me as I couldn't be bothered doing it myself. My point is that they are now no longer able to do it due to a change in process, and are only looking to refund the $10 that the license actually costs, for me to take to Licensing and do it myself. You might be fine with that, I'm not.

Not sure what your point is on the WP - are you suggesting I go to Immigration and work through the WP application? Would, but literally don't have the time, and so am prepared to pay an agent their cut to do it - but I'm not prepared to be obviously extorted. A deeper reading of my post should clearly show the agent is planning to stiff me for 50% of WP costs for all previous years, unrelated to Immigration. If I have to pay, I have to pay - if I'm being scammed, not so much. Again, your view/experience may vary.

Re: My most recent experience at everyone's favourite visa agent

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:24 pm
by StroppyChops
Username Taken wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:54 pm
Ah hah. That would explain why you didn't look too happy when you went past today.
You mean as I drove past with that slack-jawed mouth-breather look on my face, and gave a retarded nod after I realised someone was waving at me? Nah, I wasn't unhappy at that point, just sleep-driving! I didn't realise it was you until I was down to the pagoda! Must be time we shared some beers, surely?