I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Catherine Albiston to the role of Acting Registrar for the next six months.
You will be aware that the Minister of Immigration recently announced a review of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007. I have decided it would be prudent to wait until the review is more advanced before advertising and appointing a permanent Registrar.
Catherine is an experienced immigration policy practitioner with a unique insight into the immigration advice profession. She played an integral part in putting forward the views of advisers before the Act came into force and has been with the Authority since 2009.
I am confident that Catherine will bring a fresh perspective to the leadership of the Authority and will build constructive relationships with advisers.
I am personally committed to supporting the Authority and the challenges they face while continuing to engage with licensed advisers.
As I step into this role I see both opportunities and challenges.
The Minister’s review is a great opportunity to raise your concerns with the current legislation and have them considered fairly and independently. There will be an update on who has been appointed to undertake the review next month. I encourage you all to engage with this review and to have your voices heard.
Thank you to all of you who provided feedback in the Authority’s recent survey. I know the Authority has a way to go to provide the value many of you expect from licensing.
I welcome your honesty and look forward to meeting with many of you over the coming months. Thank you to all who have expressed interest in joining this year’s reference group. I will be deciding the membership this week.
I am acting in this role for a limited time, but intend to do my best to address the issues that we are facing. I’m committed to clearing the backlog of complaints, supporting the Act review and engaging continuously with advisers to improve the Authority’s service.
In January the District Court upheld an appeal against an Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decision.
The District Court found that the Tribunal was plainly wrong to hold the adviser accountable for the actions of others.
It noted at  that:
“it is hard to see why the Authority has tolerated the presence of companies within the industry, especially those… owned by shareholders and controlled by directors none of whom are Licensed Immigration Advisors”.
The decision has potential implications for people and companies who employ licensed immigration advisers and for licensed immigration advisers who are employees.
We are working through the operational and legal implications of the judgment and what it means for licensing decisions and complaints.
Given that at least a quarter of licensed immigration advisers are employees, and many of you are employers, we are taking this very seriously.
We have lodged an appeal to the High Court against the District Court’s decision to ensure that the issue is reviewed through the proper procedures. Because this matter is before the High Court, we cannot make any further comment at this stage.
Employees wishing to join the July intake of the Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice can apply for a reserved place by Wednesday 30 April.
The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic has set aside 20 places for students currently employed within immigration practices.
If you would like to reserve an employee’s place for the semester starting 7 July, you (the employer) will need to confirm to the Polytechnic that the employee:
Once a reserved place has been offered to your organisation, and provided the employee meets academic and English language requirements, they will be invited to enrol by the Polytechnic.
Reserved places that are unallocated will be released to other applicants on 1 May 2014.
To reserve a place you must email David Lyon at the Polytechnic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are running a series of online adverts to raise awareness of licensing and promote the use of licensed immigration advisers.
The campaign targets migrants using Google to find immigration consultants and leads them to the register of licensed immigration advisers.
Thank you to all of you who gave us your suggestions for the new Guide to Licensed Immigration Advisers.
Feedback included overall support for the Guide and offered a number of suggestions. Ideas were also put forward by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, the Office of Ethnic Affairs and ethnic organisations.
Once finalised, the guide will be emailed to advisers in pdf, uploaded to our website and distributed in hard copy to INZ VACs, international student offices, local council migrant resource centres, CABs and CLCs.
If there is anywhere else you think the Guide should be sent to, email us at email@example.com with your suggestions.
Thank you to all of you who took part in our annual adviser satisfaction survey.
We are committed to listening to your views and identifying how we can improve.
Nearly half of all advisers responded, with views on everything from licence application and renewal to the Code Workshop and Graduate Certificate.
64% were satisfied with the overall quality of service provided by the Authority, a decrease of 6% since October 2012.
77% agreed that the immigration adviser licensing scheme has improved the perception of New Zealand as a migration destination, an increase from 71% in October 2012.
83% of advisers agreed that licensing has added value to the New Zealand immigration industry, an increase from 81% in October 2012.
Over the next few weeks we will be analysing all the feedback and results with a view to reporting in more detail next month.
A licensed adviser must not represent a client where they are aware of an actual conflict of interest relating to the client that compromises their objectivity, client trust or client confidentiality.
Find out more about clauses 5-7 in the Code Toolkit.
A Professional Standards poster is available to hang on your wall, if you wish.
Under the new 2014 Code, advisers are no longer required to display the code at their premises but some advisers have expressed a wish to display the Professional Standards.
If you would like a copy of the poster, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred delivery address.
INZ Seminars/information sessions will be taking place soon in Wellington and Hamilton.
For a full list of INZ Seminars/information sessions and Area Manager contact details see our February 2014 newsletter.
Please Note: The INZ seminar in South Africa will now be held on 1 August rather than 30 July as originally reported.
Law seminars on appealing to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal are being held on:
A live webinar is also available for smaller centres from 9.30am-11.30am on 18 March.
A law seminar titled: Visas, Applications and Pathways to Residence will be held on Tuesday 4 March from 4-6.15pm.