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Newsletter August 2012

Help us redesign the Authority website

We are redesigning our website and are looking for volunteers to help us make it as user friendly as we can. Volunteers will be sent an online card sorting exercise to help us plan the new structure. The exercise will only take you about 15 to 20 minutes. Having your input into the redesign will allow us to create a structure which makes sense to you as licensed advisers. If you would like to volunteer to help us with the website please let us know.

Application booklet reminder

As we mentioned last month, we updated all of our application forms, bar the initial licence application form, on 1 July 2012 into a writeable format. All application forms are valid for 60 days from date of download. Therefore please ensure that if you are sending in an application to us after 1 September 2012 that it is on a new form, otherwise it may be returned to you.

Māori Language Week

Last week, Monday 23 July – Sunday 29 July, was Māori Language Week. This is a good time to reflect on your obligations under the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2010, to assist clients to access information about the Treaty of Waitangi and Māori customs and culture.

For more ideas on how to incorporate Te Reo Māori into your business visit the Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) website.

Professional Responsibilities Guidelines (Part C)

In 2011 work began to amalgamate all of our policy documents into a manual to improve consistency and accessibility. The Licensing (Part A) and Enforcement (Part B) sections of the Policies and Procedures Manual for Licensed Immigration Advisers (policy manual) were published on the Authority’s website in September and October 2011 respectively. 

The Professional Responsibilities Guidelines (Part C) section of the policy manual is now available on our website. We have developed these guidelines to assist you to:

You may encounter such professional ethical issues in:

By elaborating on the professional responsibilities of advisers, the Authority seeks to:

We gratefully acknowledge the feedback that has been provided on this material by the Authority’s Licensed Advisers Reference Group 2012; the Henderson Branch of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) which manages the bulk of applications made through licensed immigration advisers; and the chair of the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal).

The final Professional Practice Guidelines (Part D) section of the policy manual is being developed, and is expected to be available by end September 2012.

Withdrawal of complaints is not a right

If a complaint is accepted by the Authority it must be referred to the Tribunal for determination under section 45(2) of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.

In a recent Tribunal decision ([2012] NZIACDT 35) which will be available on the decisions section of the Tribunal website in due course, the complainant and adviser jointly applied to withdraw a complaint. In considering the request the Tribunal chair noted that it is “not the complainant’s right to withdraw a complaint from the Tribunal”. The chair further explained that “the Tribunal deals with complaints under a statutory process. A complaint which has been lodged with the Tribunal is not solely an inter parties matter. Public interest issues arise in many professional disciplinary cases […] the Tribunal will take account of a request to withdraw a complaint, but it is not the complainant’s right to withdraw a complaint from the Tribunal.”

This reminder reinforces the importance of advisers having a robust internal complaints procedure in place, to deal with client complaints before they are escalated to the Authority. This is because even if an adviser settles financially with a client, if the complaint has already been accepted by the Authority and referred to the Tribunal, a withdrawal may not be considered.

Reminder about renewals

Our Licensing Administration Officers are still reporting instances where renewal applications are arriving either the day before, or on the day of, licence expiry. While we can lodge your application until 5pm on the day that your licence expires, please be aware that if there is any missing information preventing lodgement your licence will expire and you will not be able to give immigration advice. Please try to submit your renewal applications in good time to avoid this situation arising.

 

Adviser numbers

Full licence 416
Limited licence 17
Provisional licence 81
Total licences 514
Adviser on/offshore 372/142
TTMRA licensed 90
Refusals decided 24
Appeals decided 4
Complaints to tribunal 112

And finally…

We give presentations at various seminars throughout the year and we would really like to know if there is anything you would like to see us present on. Please send us your suggestions.

Feedback

The newsletter exists to help you in your role as a licensed immigration adviser. Here we aim to keep you abreast of tribunal news and industry developments while helping you improve your professional practice. As always, we welcome your feedback. Is there something you would like to see included here? Tell us.