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Hi Everyone, I am wondering if anyone can give me any advice or knows how I can find out if I have debt in Australia!

The story is when I was stupid and younger, I was travelling about 4 years ago, got a good job and decided to apply for residency. I saw a migration agent/lawyer who advised me to go for perm residency on the points system. I engaged her services and began the process. We were working to a tight time deadline as at time of lodgement to retain the points I had for being a Personnel Officer which was on the skills shortage list I needed 12 out of the last 24 months current work experience. As I had been travelling this was between quitting my job in the UK and eventually making the decision to apply for residency and finding out if I was eleigible, this was now counting down, However I submitted everything to the lawyer with about a month to go. When my current working hol visa expired I had to leave the country as I was not eligible for a bridging visa as it was classed as an offshore application, so I went travelling to NEw Zealand.

A day or 2 at the most before my work experience would run out and I would no longer be eligible for the these points, so the last possible day for lodging. The lawyer calls me and tells me one of my employment references was not detailed enough. I tried in vain but there was nothing I could do on such short notice to rectify the situation. Without the reference the lawyer told me she didn't think my application would be accepted, but couldn't be sure!!! (surely this was what she was being paid $4,000AUD for). Given the $2,000 application fees and her lawyer were non- refundable I didn't lodge the application. The lawyer then invoiced me for $1,200AUD.

This is where young and stupid comes in, I was gutted and angry as it felt like she 'd only just looked at all the info the day before lodgment after having it a month! I totally regret his now, but I just never paid it. She only ever emailed me once like 2 weeks later asking for it, then I never heard again. She would have had all my UK details on my file.

As it happens I never returned from NEw Zealand, and now reside there with my partner who happens to be Aussie. My parents do their best to check my UK mail but are elderly and I'm not so usre how reliable this is. My problem is now that me and my Aussie partner would like to return to Australia to live. I have now been approved for a defacto visa but I am terrified I owe money in Australia. Does anyone know how I can find this out without getting myself into trouble?

Does anyone know what the process is for debt collection. What steps would the lawyer have taken, what is the process for her to follow? Where is my debt now - with her or with a debt collection agency? Can I settle it with her now? or will it have accrued hideous interest somewhere. Please help if you know, where I can find these answers. I am unable to sleep worrying about this!

Many thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Hi Everyone, I am wondering if anyone can give me any advice or knows how I can find out if I have debt in Australia!

The story is when I was stupid and younger, I was travelling about 4 years ago, got a good job and decided to apply for residency. I saw a migration agent/lawyer who advised me to go for perm residency on the points system. I engaged her services and began the process. We were working to a tight time deadline as at time of lodgement to retain the points I had for being a Personnel Officer which was on the skills shortage list I needed 12 out of the last 24 months current work experience. As I had been travelling this was between quitting my job in the UK and eventually making the decision to apply for residency and finding out if I was eleigible, this was now counting down, However I submitted everything to the lawyer with about a month to go. When my current working hol visa expired I had to leave the country as I was not eligible for a bridging visa as it was classed as an offshore application, so I went travelling to NEw Zealand.

A day or 2 at the most before my work experience would run out and I would no longer be eligible for the these points, so the last possible day for lodging. The lawyer calls me and tells me one of my employment references was not detailed enough. I tried in vain but there was nothing I could do on such short notice to rectify the situation. Without the reference the lawyer told me she didn't think my application would be accepted, but couldn't be sure!!! (surely this was what she was being paid $4,000AUD for). Given the $2,000 application fees and her lawyer were non- refundable I didn't lodge the application. The lawyer then invoiced me for $1,200AUD.

This is where young and stupid comes in, I was gutted and angry as it felt like she 'd only just looked at all the info the day before lodgment after having it a month! I totally regret his now, but I just never paid it. She only ever emailed me once like 2 weeks later asking for it, then I never heard again. She would have had all my UK details on my file.

As it happens I never returned from NEw Zealand, and now reside there with my partner who happens to be Aussie. My parents do their best to check my UK mail but are elderly and I'm not so usre how reliable this is. My problem is now that me and my Aussie partner would like to return to Australia to live. I have now been approved for a defacto visa but I am terrified I owe money in Australia. Does anyone know how I can find this out without getting myself into trouble?

Does anyone know what the process is for debt collection. What steps would the lawyer have taken, what is the process for her to follow? Where is my debt now - with her or with a debt collection agency? Can I settle it with her now? or will it have accrued hideous interest somewhere. Please help if you know, where I can find these answers. I am unable to sleep worrying about this!

Many thanks in advance for any advice.
You could just email the lawyer and ask her :) Explain it just the way you have here. She may have just decided to let it go, as you never got the visa. If your willing to settle up the debt, she may be thrilled to hear from you during these harsh economic times, or she might just say 'forget about it'. That way you can sleep better at night :)
 

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Bottom line is:
Doesn't affect your visa.

However once in AU a debt collection agency can find you and demand repayment. You don't know at this point what is the status of the debt.

So settle it once and for all by contacting the lawyer. Otherwise it always hangs on your head.

Hi Everyone, I am wondering if anyone can give me any advice or knows how I can find out if I have debt in Australia!

The story is when I was stupid and younger, I was travelling about 4 years ago, got a good job and decided to apply for residency. I saw a migration agent/lawyer who advised me to go for perm residency on the points system. I engaged her services and began the process. We were working to a tight time deadline as at time of lodgement to retain the points I had for being a Personnel Officer which was on the skills shortage list I needed 12 out of the last 24 months current work experience. As I had been travelling this was between quitting my job in the UK and eventually making the decision to apply for residency and finding out if I was eleigible, this was now counting down, However I submitted everything to the lawyer with about a month to go. When my current working hol visa expired I had to leave the country as I was not eligible for a bridging visa as it was classed as an offshore application, so I went travelling to NEw Zealand.

A day or 2 at the most before my work experience would run out and I would no longer be eligible for the these points, so the last possible day for lodging. The lawyer calls me and tells me one of my employment references was not detailed enough. I tried in vain but there was nothing I could do on such short notice to rectify the situation. Without the reference the lawyer told me she didn't think my application would be accepted, but couldn't be sure!!! (surely this was what she was being paid $4,000AUD for). Given the $2,000 application fees and her lawyer were non- refundable I didn't lodge the application. The lawyer then invoiced me for $1,200AUD.

This is where young and stupid comes in, I was gutted and angry as it felt like she 'd only just looked at all the info the day before lodgment after having it a month! I totally regret his now, but I just never paid it. She only ever emailed me once like 2 weeks later asking for it, then I never heard again. She would have had all my UK details on my file.

As it happens I never returned from NEw Zealand, and now reside there with my partner who happens to be Aussie. My parents do their best to check my UK mail but are elderly and I'm not so usre how reliable this is. My problem is now that me and my Aussie partner would like to return to Australia to live. I have now been approved for a defacto visa but I am terrified I owe money in Australia. Does anyone know how I can find this out without getting myself into trouble?

Does anyone know what the process is for debt collection. What steps would the lawyer have taken, what is the process for her to follow? Where is my debt now - with her or with a debt collection agency? Can I settle it with her now? or will it have accrued hideous interest somewhere. Please help if you know, where I can find these answers. I am unable to sleep worrying about this!

Many thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Thanks guys for the advice. I think I will try and contact the lawyer, I do need to find out the status of the debt. I could settle the bill and a little more if it has gone no further. I am scared to identify myself and whereabouts as with immigration and moving costs I just couldn't deal with a large debt/debt collection agency after me right now in the next 6 months, but I do need to know the state of play so I can plan accordingly, i.e. delay my move to Aus and save more money, figure a way out. I'm financially stretched as far as possible atm. I just don't know if I'm worrying unduly or not. Is it likely the lawyer would have turned this over to a debt collection agency? How would this work, would the original bill increase with interst on a weekly basis or do they have find me and serve on me it first?

I really need to talk to a financial adviser/accountant, I have other UK tax and pension considerations to find out about too as well as this. Feel out of my depth. Who would be right person to talk to? should they be UK based or Aus? Thanks again for advice.
 

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This is what I would do.

I had a similar problem when I left the states. I would definately continue with the move to Australia. Now lets look at the possibilities.

1. Since she (the lawyer) nebver even looked at your stuff till the last day , maybe for some reason she never pursued any further. Maybe there is nothing owed by you.

2. And if there is you can negotiate on the grounds that you never knew and that she did a bad job in the first place. Messing up all you future plans at the time, and know you want to sue her!

2.
 

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I worked in the office for a debt collection agency for a little bit. If your lawyer passed the debt on to an agency, what they do is buy the debt for a smaller amount. For example, buy a $1000 debt for $150. Then they go after the person in debt and charge them extra, say like $1300.

But debt collection agencies won't be greeting you at the airport! They don't have information like that. They just follow any paper trails you left and if they know the names and phone numbers of any of your 'emergency contacts' then they just keep constantly ringing and harassing them, making them pressure you to pay up.

Having said that, they do do sneaky things to try and find out where you might be. One of the debt collectors at our place used to pretend to work for Medicare and rang and told the person they have a cheque for $X to send out, but the mail was returned, so what is the new address please? And then went around to the place within half an hour looking to collect the debt!

A family member of mine racked up a couple of thousand dollars on his credit card and it went into the hands of a debt collector. Another family member contacted the debt collectors and offered to pay $500 which they agreed, and that was the end of that. But he now has bad credit rating and can't get another credit card.

Also, my husband left australia with an unpaid ultility bill. I had his old phone number and the debt collection agency only rang me about 4 times in 3 months. I guessed who they were but because of privacy act, they couldn't tell me the nature of the call. I also offered to pay the debt if they told me how to, but they wouldn't tell me that either! So their loss.

Anyway - come to Australia and don't worry about it. The debt collection agency do not have the power to know if you are in the country. Privacy laws prohibit government departments sharing information like that with private companies.
 
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