Sunday, October 2, 2016

Migrate to Germany from Saudi Arabia: hHelios Review

If you live in Saudi Arabia and want to live and work, study or start a business in Germany, chances are you don't know where to start. Your next move might be to search for education/immigration consultants who can help you immigrate to Germany. In my case, I typed a long-tail keyword "immigration and education consultants Saudi Arabia to Germany." And bingo! I had a whole bunch of results and there at the top, there was this company called hHelios.

I checked them out. They had a good internet presence: a Linkedin profile, a Facebook profile, a Twitter handle, a phone number (Viber and WhatsApp-enabled), an email address, as well as Skype and live chat on their website. I ran another check for complaints but couldn't find anything (at that time). So far so good, they had won me. Now lets get into specifics and why you should read this before using their services.


Who is hHelios?





Website: http://hhelios.com/

Services: immigration, visa and career consulting.
Price of services: Free registration on their website. Pricing varies thereafter, depending on the service you require.
Owners: After a thorough research, I couldn't find who the owner was, but I did find that they listed Muhammad Oweis as the CEO of the company.
My rating: 2 out of 10


Is hHelios Worth Your Time and Money?


Good question. When you send your hard-earned money to consultants you expect them to guide you throughout the process. In this review, I am going to share my experience and explain why I wouldn't recommend hHelios.



Pros and Cons of hHelios


Pros



  • Their website is user-friendly and it is very easy to find your way around.
  • Initial contact is quick. I remember filling in the registration form on their website and got assigned an ID within 24 hours. 
Cons 


  • Customer service can be very poor. I'm not sure who manages their main Skype account or who provides email support. They won't answer any queries.
  • Some consultants are not helpful. They start out wanting to help then disappear on the client.
  • It can be very frustrating trying to talk to anyone on the phone. They do have a number +49-89-21547450 listed on their website, but most often, calls won't go beyond the automatic call distributor.  


My Experience and Why I Won't Recommend them to Anyone


My first contact with hHelios was on August 19, 2015 when I filled in the free registration form. After receiving my hHelios ID, I waited to hear from the company then I finally contacted them via Skype on August 24, 2015. Someone finally responded on August 31, 2015 and asked for my email address. A consultant, whom I shall call Consultant #1, sent an email on September 1, 2015 to inform me that I was eligible for a German job seeker visa. I had a few questions and Consultant #1 was quick to answer them. By September 9, 2015, I paid the company to start online German classes. 


Fast-forward to 2016, I started having second thoughts about immigrating to Germany, so I thought I could visit the country for 7-10 days to make up my mind. Consultant #1 agreed it was a good idea and encouraged me, and on March 21, 2016 I sent payment via PayPal so that they could open my case. Consultant #2 contacted me via email on March 22, 2016 and reassured me that he was going to assist me throughout the process. 


On March 24, 2016 Consultant #2 sent me a list of required documents, which I forwarded on the same day. Within two days I was assigned an ID, and I asked to have a Skype call with the consultant. He was very professional and reassuring and promised to call back with a few days with instructions. Then after waiting for two weeks, I sent a follow-up email. He responded and said he couldn't reach me on my mobile (I do have network issues sometimes at home, so it's quite possible he tried to call). I sent another follow up email and a couple of chat messages on Skype, but got no response from Consultant #2. At this stage, I couldn't request a refund, as their refund policy states that:


Client reserves the right to claim for the refund of their package price within 14 days from the date of receipt of payment/first installment of payment." 





I informed Consultant #1 and within a couple of weeks, Consultant #3 called me. I had a few chat messages and each time he asked me to 'just wait'. He asked for my transcripts and certificates. We're talking about a visit visa here...but he said, please send these documents. I did but after he failed to get back to me as promised, I followed up on Skype. He reassured me that I didn't have to worry because they were taking care of my case. And it was already June 1, 2016. I had planned to travel on July 17, 2016--that was less than two months away.


I waited and after trying to call their number without success, I gave up. Then out of the blue Consultant #4 sent me an email and said my case was on hold due to missing documents and information. It was July 27, ten days after my planned visit! It took three consultants more than four months to tell that my file was incomplete! I asked Consultant #4 why the other consultants won't talk to me or inform me even when I sent follow up emails and messages. I requested for a cancellation. Not surprising, Consultant #4 never wrote again.   


I went back to Consultant #1 and complained and Consultant #5 called me a few days later. He offered a refund or a job seeker visa and gave me time to think about it. He called a second time but I was at a meeting so couldn't talk. He promised to call again, but after two weeks and hearing nothing from the company, I went back to Consultant #1 for advice. He promised to have his superior call me.


After two weeks his 'superior' did try to call twice, unfortunately, the silly network didn't permit the calls to go through--I only received two text messages that someone had tried to call on their company number. I tried returning the call, and over the next two weeks, the call would simply drop after the automatic call distributor. My spouse also tried from his office without success, then tried to call their Pakistan number. Someone did pick up the phone and when my spouse said he was calling from Saudi Arabia, the man excused himself and said he would call back shortly. My husband attempted to call again after about 15 minutes but no one answered the call.


So, here was I again back to Consultant #1 to complain. It was September 19, 2016. He promised to have someone call within two hours. Finally, someone called after two days. This time around, it was a charming lady, whom I shall call Consultant #6. I got the usual "we're very busy", "so many files", "colleague on vacation"...not that these might not be true, but when you've had to deal with consultants who suddenly stopped talking to you or gave you the impression that they were working on your case but wouldn't care to update you, weird things start crossing your mind. 


Consultant #6 promised to handle my case, even if I planned to travel in 2017--my case was already registered, I was informed. At this time, I felt I had endured enough to wait until July 2017 to receive the same treatment. Since their consultants didn't provide the services they were supposed to provide, I thought I was entitled to a refund. Consultant #6 agreed, but I was going to suffer a deduction of service charges and other third party charges. That sounded OK to me, except that I wanted to know what third party charges I would be required to be pay for. That email was sent on September 25, 2016 (seven days ago). I haven't heard from anyone from hHelios again. If I do, I shall certainly post an update.



Conclusion

My experience with hHelios was very poor. I think one of the most important things when you're dealing with immigration consultants is being able to receive updates during the process. When that isn't coming forth and a consultant keeps making promises that he can't keep, then a client starts sensing something else: you start wondering whether the company you're dealing with is legit or not. 

Have you ever dealt with hHelios too? How was your experience with their consultants. Join in the conversation below to tell us about it.
 

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