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Newsletter February 2012

Tēnā koutou katoa (Greetings to you all)

Waitangi Day (6 February) marks a significant event in New Zealand with the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi). It also provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on how you inform your clients about the Treaty and Māori customs.

Our first article discusses the importance of making migrants aware of these and provides some useful resources to get you started.

Hei konei rā (Goodbye for now), Barry Smedts, Registrar

Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day next Monday 6 February commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs in 1840.

The last Migrant Survey commissioned by the Authority found that more than half were not being assisted by their adviser to access information on the Treaty and Māori customs in line with clause 1.1(g) of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2010, and 3.5 of the Immigration Advisers Competency Standards 2010.

Although it may seem like a vast and intimidating subject area to cover, there are a number of sources of information to assist you to meet your obligations in this area.

In May 2003, the Government established the Treaty of Waitangi Information Programme for a three-year period to June 2006, which was overseen by the State Services Commission. The goal of the Programme was to increase public knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi through both greater coordination of existing resources and the development of new initiatives and resources. Some useful publications from that programme are:

A series of booklets about the Treaty were also published, along with an educational CD-Rom and posters. Unfortunately these are now out of print and are no longer available, but can be accessed online and are free for you to use:

You can also find more information at the online exhibition TREATY 2 U.

The Settlement Support New Zealand (SSNZ) website also contains a wealth of useful information on the Treaty, Māori culture and Māori traditions.

Alleged unlicensed adviser faces 91 charges

Richard James Martin stood before the courts on 34 Crimes Act charges of forgery and 34 Immigration Act charges of providing false and misleading information to an immigration officer after an investigation by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

The 46-year-old from Greenhithe entered no plea to the charges when he appeared in the Waitakere District Court on 20 December 2011. He was remanded on bail until 10 January 2012. The charges relate to visa applications made to INZ by Richard Martin Immigration Ltd of North Shore.

Each Crimes Act charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, while the Immigration Act charges have a maximum of seven years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $100,000.

Mr Martin is also appearing for trial in September 2012 at Auckland District Court on 23 charges laid by the Immigration Advisers Authority.

These include:

The alleged offences, some of which took place under the company name of Richard Martin Immigration Ltd, took place between May 2009 and 2010.

Have your say

Meet other immigration advisers in a professional environment and have your say on how the Authority is run as part of this year’s Licensed Immigration Advisers Reference Group.

In an anonymous survey, last year’s participants gave overwhelmingly positive feedback.

One adviser welcomed:

 “the opportunity to build professional relationships, gaining insight into how the IAA approach their field of responsibility and the opportunity to hear and understand different ways of thinking/approach by other advisers.”

Volunteers must email us their comments on a variety of topics throughout the year and commit to three whole-day meetings on:

To sign up, email your expression of interest, including background information about yourself and your business, to info@iaa.govt.nz by 14 February 2012.

Complaints Part II: How they are decided and resolved by Tribunal

For the second part in our series on understanding complaints, we discuss the Tribunal process.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal deals with complaints against licensed immigration advisers and appeals against decisions taken by the Authority.

Complaints are referred by the Immigration Advisers Authority. Once handed over, the Authority has no jurisdiction to repeal the complaint and any further information for consideration must be forwarded to the Tribunal chair directly.

The chair initially reviews the complaint and invites all parties to comment on the findings. During the course of the investigation any person involved may be asked for further information or to appear before the chair.

After consideration of submitted comments, the chair makes one of three possible decisions to either:

Imposing a sanction

In this case, the chair once again asks for comment on sanctions from all parties.  Although the Authority is deemed to be a party to Tribunal proceedings, it would not usually comment unless it was the registrar who raised the complaint. 

The Tribunal then makes a decision on what sanction to impose and this is published on the Ministry of Justice website within four working days of it being issued.

Should a licensed adviser have their licence cancelled or suspended, this will be displayed on our register. 

Sanctions include:

Reasons for sanctions include:

To date the Tribunal has ordered around $22,000 in penalty payments, has cancelled six advisers’ licenses, and awarded refunds and compensation of around $41,500.

Events

Keep abreast of what’s happening in the immigration advice industry by attending adviser seminars hosted by INZ Henderson Branch.

The last on 2 December 2011 covered the Immigration and Protection Tribunal process, student applications and Section 61 requests. The next seminar takes place on 9 March 2012 at The Trust Stadium, Central Park Drive, Henderson from 10am to 12:30pm.

Please Note: Places are limited and all advisers must register to attend by emailing Advisers.henderson@dol.govt.nz by 2 March 2012.

Elsewhere offshore advisers were brought up to speed on trends in the industry via web video following an NZAMI conference in Pretoria on 8 December 2011. View the full presentation online.

Pacific Quota and Family Category residence applications

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) would like to inform advisers that branches in Apia, Nuku’alofa and Suva are now processing all Pacific Quota and Family Category residence applications lodged by clients who live in New Zealand or the Pacific Islands.

And finally...

A quick reminder – after 1 March 2012 we will only be accepting the latest application forms. Any applications made on the old forms will be returned.

New forms have also been adopted by the Immigration Protection Tribunal for Resident Class Visa Appeals and Humanitarian Appeal against Deportation.