Interview with Shannon Semenikow, Director
Could you tell us more about EMSA and its beginnings?
I founded Education and Migration Services Australia on the Gold Coast in 2009. A partner joined me at some stage but I am now the sole founder-operator of the company. We have now 7 permanent staff, 3 based on the Gold Coast and 4 in Brisbane. Every year we assist several hundred people to come to Australia to study, work or migrate permanently. We also have partner offices in Venezuela, Nigeria and India helping students enrol into Australian universities, schools, English colleges and TAFE institutes... We also assist them with their visa applications. In Australia, our clients come from 30 or 40 different countries. Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, India, Philippines, Nepal, Iran, the UK, Spain, Poland or Czech Republic just to name a few, but there is a recent noticeable increase of people arriving from Eastern Europe.
Can you describe your personal background and your role within EMSA?
I first graduated in Business Marketing and Communication from Queensland University of Technology. As a reward (or to get rid of me), I was very fortunate to receive a one-way ticket overseas from my parents. I spent a whole year traveling North and Central America as well as Europe and since then, travel and experiencing different cultures has remained my biggest passion.
After coming back, I worked for a couple of years raising awareness and funds for the Wilderness Society of Australia. I also worked in the tourism industry, planning and leading tours all over Australia and the South Pacific as well as for a short time, managing an adventure centre.
A few years down the road, I took an opportunity with Imagine Education Australia, a private English Language School based on the Gold Coast. I was then Marketing and Development manager for Latin America (Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Brazil). For two and half years I promoted Australia as an international education destination. In parallel, I studied Migration Law at Griffith University which enabled me to assist international students with their visa applications.
With this double-hat as qualified Education Counsellor and qualified Migration Agent, I have now being running EMSA for the last five and half years. My role as Director is all encompassing from running private meetings with clients, to assessing cases and mapping out pathways, to consulting with large companies on their migration needs as well as giving large public presentations for government sponsored organisations such as the Australian Federation of International Students who regularly runs welcome events for newcomers to Australia. I personally found it extremely rewarding to meet and connect with people from such diverse backgrounds. With every case we work on, we take part into a personal adventure and genuinely share the joy of our clients when their application is successful.
Even today, we’ve just received notification of another 2 long-term clients that have been invited to apply for residency and I’m looking forward to making the call first thing. Sharing in the excitement is definitely one of the highlights of what we do!
How do you envision the future of your company and how can FACCI help you achieve your objectives?
For every client we serve, we get referred to at least 2 or 3 new people. We estimate that 60-70% of our business is generated by word-of-mouth. As EMSA grows, we are hoping to attract new team members passionate about helping people realize their dreams and goals. We are currently looking for another qualified Migration Agent.
We are also planning further development overseas with offices in Ecuador, Colombia, Nepal and Spain. France is not a massive market for us but being part of FACCI is an opportunity to broaden our network in the local French community. It is key to learn more about a community in order to offer proper assistance.
For more information, visit EMSA's website HERE.
Interview conducted on 22 May 2014 by Claire Dupré.
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