Sanji A Caldera, the Principal Migration Consultant at Sanji Caldera Associates, speaks about the challenges faced in 2020 and the opportunities to look out for in 2021
How was 2020 for the industry and your company?
The economic shutdown and border closures have resulted in hardship for the entire migration industry, especially for offshore applicants. Our company too lost revenue from offshore clients, however, we have been able to sustain operational costs and continue our usual processes with clients who are based in the host country e.g. Extending Visas, Partner Visas, converting tourists to residency visas, and so on.
What sort of opportunities did 2020 bring along?
A few of the States opened up with a limited number of interim allocations for the 2020-21 financial year for migrants working in highly skilled occupations in the Health, Medical Research, Life Sciences, Agri-food or Digital sectors supporting economic recovery and/or health response. We managed to attract potential leads working under the said categories through our social media platforms and focused marketing campaigns. With border closures, many tourists were unable to return to their home countries and required our expertise with innovative/alternative visa options.
Did you face any challenges in 2020?
Yes, due to border closures we were unable to assist offshore applicants, and onshore clients affected by the loss of employment/pay cuts were faced with difficulties in meeting costs associated with the visa process.
What were your key achievements in 2020?
More opportunities were created through Social Media Networking. Free Informative Webinars, Q & A Sessions, and Videos on current updates/changes were conducted regularly on our social media platforms, which helped us to create brand awareness…keeping the target audience informed, in turn enabling us to grow our client base. A focused and informative monthly Newsletter with current newsfeeds was created and made freely accessible to the interested audience.
What promises does 2021 bring along?
Australia and Canada require Skilled Migrants to keep their economy in good shape. We are very optimistic about assisting offshore applicants once the borders reopen, especially with the Business Migration process.
Do you see opportunities this year?
Yes, we do. The migration program level for Australia would remain at 160,000 for the 2020-21 years. Whilst the quotas remain the same, the distribution will change with increases under the Family Stream from 47,732 places to 77,300. Onshore visa applicants and partner visa applicants living in regional areas will be prioritised, encouraging migration to the regional areas of Australia.
Furthermore, as per the new rules students, who graduated from a Regional Institute and who continue to reside (including work and study) for at least two years in a designated regional area will be eligible to apply for a second Graduate 485 Visa, once again retaining skilled applicants in these dedicated regional areas.
What will be your key focus areas for 2021?
Our focus will be on growing the Student Visa along with the Business Visa market and creating innovative visa solutions for offshore applicants.
What milestones have you set for 2021?
To develop the Gulf market more aggressively, educating the value of having a second passport from Australia or Canada. We will be setting new levels for improved customer service and further developing the dedicated Relationship Manager facilities; which will include providing a specialized service addressing the client’s needs.
We have also introduced a Client Feedback Survey enabling the client to keep us informed of their experience working with us throughout the entire visa process; which we would use to identify areas of improvement and provide a better service with hopes of securing more clients. We trust in the power of referral marketing and take pride in knowing the majority of our client base is through recommendations.
What would you like to do differently in 2021, when compared with 2020?
We would like to further extend our digital market strategies, whilst providing information to our target audience through all available marketing channels. Newsletters and Live webinars will be used extensively.
Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/services to your portfolio in 2021?
Yes, mainly the Student Visa market. We have built the infrastructure in the Gulf and the sub-continent to launch this product.