Over the last month we have sent activation codes to all licensed immigration advisers to enable you to login to our website, update your details online and complete a fast-track renewal online.
So far, 209 of you have logged in, 82 have updated their details and we have received 22 online fast-track renewals. We ran a webinar attended by advisers around the world, and, for those who were not able to attend, we have two short videos available on YouTube.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with comments such as “easy to use and convenient” and “it is so quick and easy to renew online now”.
Please do continue to give me feedback and suggestions for improvements as we work on the additional online services that will be rolled out in November.
This newsletter talks about the new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements that will kick in from 26 November 2015 and an important reminder if you represent clients before the Immigration Protection Tribunal.
Finally, I am delighted to have issued a press release today highlighting the high levels of client satisfaction with licensed immigration advisers following the results from our 2015 migrant survey.
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
Our short IAA Online survey >>
As announced in December 2014 following consultation with licensed advisers, new CPD requirements will come into effect from 26 November 2015.
The Immigration Adviser Competency Standards 2015 set out the following continuing professional development requirements for licensed immigration advisers:
7.1 Advisers must maintain an acceptable continued professional development (CPD) plan and record for each 12 month licensing period. What must be included in an acceptable CPD plan and record is notified on the Immigration Advisers Authority’s website.
7.2 Advisers must complete at least 20 hours of acceptable professional development activities, including any mandatory activities, during each 12 month licensing period. Acceptable and mandatory professional development activities are those notified on the Immigration Advisers Authority’s website.
7.3 Advisers must retain, and produce upon request, their CPD plan and record for each licensing period that commenced after 26 November 2015, up to a maximum of 3 years.
Acceptable professional development activities will be:
Advisers will be required to complete their required 20 hours of CPD from at least two of these three categories.
To be acceptable, all activities will be required to:
Any activity that does not meet these requirements will not be able to be counted towards your CPD hours each year.
Licensed immigration advisers seeking to renew their licence between 26 November 2015 and 25 November 2016 must at a minimum have completed for their last licensing period:
These requirements mirror those in the Immigration Advisers Competency Standards 2013.
Licensed immigration advisers seeking to renew their licence from 26 November 2016 must have complied fully with the new CPD requirements for their last licensing period.
This means you will need to develop your first CPD plan and record shortly after your licence is renewed between 26 November 2015 and 25 November 2016.
However, if you wish, you will be able to start following the new CPD requirements immediately and you may submit a CPD plan and record according to the new requirements with any inspection renewal application from 26 November 2015.
How do I keep my CPD plan and record?
From 26 November 2015, you will be able to keep your CPD plan and record in your secure portal at IAA Online, including uploading verification of your attendance. You will be able to enter and update your plan and record at any time during the licensing year up until you submit your next licence renewal application.
Keeping your records at IAA Online will make it very easy for you to provide the Authority with your records for inspection when required.
Keeping it myself
Alternatively you may retain your record in hard-copy or electronic format or a combination of both. However, from 26 November 2016, whenever you are required to submit an inspection renewal application you will be required to enter your CPD plan and record online.
The Authority is currently preparing a CPD Toolkit, including detailed guidance on what acceptable activities will be and how to keep your CPD plan and record which will be available next month.
Each year we survey visa applicants who use licensed immigration advisers. Again this year, your clients have reported high levels of satisfaction.
More than eight in ten clients were satisfied with the overall service they received and were willing to recommend their adviser.
Positively, over the past three years small improvements have been made in seven adviser performance measures – primarily relating to written agreements and information provision.
The main reasons for satisfaction were that the service was helpful, professional and timely.
Just under one in ten clients were dissatisfied with the service. Primary reasons for dissatisfaction were because the service was too slow, an unhelpful service was provided and the adviser did not explain things clearly.
As per the 2013/14 survey, the main suggested service improvements related to improved communication - for advisers to give clearer and more detailed explanations and to provide clients with ongoing and regular updates on progress.
Today we have issued a press release highlighting the high levels of client satisfaction with licensed advisers.
Many of you will represent your clients before the Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT). We have recently been reminded of the specialist expertise and understanding of the law relating to appeals that is required when representing an IPT appellant.
For example, when representing a client in respect of an appeal on humanitarian grounds, an adviser should have a good understanding of the kind of matters that are important to highlight to the Tribunal.
Clause 8(a) of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct requires advisers to:
“Work within the scope of their individual knowledge and skills, or under direct supervision if a provisional licence holder, or refer the client to another professional.”
An adviser’s ability, knowledge and skill to undertake their client’s immigration matter may depend on, amongst other things:
The decision about whether or not to agree to act for a client is as much an ethical one as it is a decision about risk. It is not fair to the client for an adviser to take on a matter that they cannot handle.
If you have not dealt with appeals before the IPT before, or only deal with them occasionally, or perhaps you have now dealt with a number but you are concerned about your level of competency, please consider undertaking study or coaching in this specialist area.
26. A licensed immigration adviser must:
Reading Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decisions will help develop your understanding of the standards expected of licensed immigration advisers.
How can we do better? Have we done a good job? Whatever the feedback, compliments or complaints, we want to hear from you.
Email us at email@example.com.