There's now a law in place to promote and protect the interests of people receiving immigration advice and to enhance the reputation of New Zealand as a migration destination.
The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 set up the Immigration Advisers Authority (“the Authority”).
The Authority is responsible for the regulation of the immigration advice industry. It does not give immigration advice and is operationally separate from Immigration New Zealand. This means we don't process visa or permit applications either.
Our role is to administer the licensing regime, maintain a public register of licensed immigration advisers and help with the education and professional development of immigration advisers.
We're also responsible for handling complaints. The Act allows anyone to make a complaint about a licensed immigration adviser or a former licensed immigration adviser. We investigate and take enforcement action in relation to offences under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act.
The head of the authority is the Registrar of Immigration Advisers, Barry Smedts.
“There’s nothing revolutionary about mandatory immigration adviser licensing. The industry has been successfully regulated overseas for years. What we are doing is bringing New Zealand practice in line with competitor nations such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia and that’s got to be good for migrants and the New Zealand industry,” says, Barry Smedts, Registrar, Immigration Advisers Authority.
The Immigration Advisers Act was passed in May 2007 and is in place to promote and protect the interests of people receiving immigration advice and enhance the reputation of New Zealand as a migration destination.
The Act describes immigration advice as “using, or purporting to use, knowledge of or experience in immigration to advise, direct, assist or represent another person in regard to an immigration matter relating to New Zealand, whether directly or indirectly and whether or not for gain or reward”
Under the Act, anyone giving immigration about New Zealand must be licensed unless they are exempt. Licences have to be renewed annually.
Licences can only be held by individuals, not organisations, and they can’t be transferred to anyone else.
It is an offence to knowingly provide immigration advice without a licence. The offence is punishable by a fine of up to NZ$100,000 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to seven years.
About the Registrar
Barry Smedts, Registrar of Immigration Advisers, has wide experience in regulatory management and occupational licensing. He has held a variety of management positions with Inland Revenue. Prior to his current appointment he held the role of Regulatory Services Manager at Auckland City Council with responsibility for all environmental services, regulatory consents, permissions and licences.