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November newsletter

Website redesign

Be one of the first to take a look at the new Authority homepage by completing our final redesign exercise.

We will ask you to complete a few tasks to see whether we have made our online tools easy to find. They are easy, just one click per task.

One of the tasks might be: Find the renewal form.

We will record your first click to decide whether the design is effective.

The majority of your colleagues are attempting these tasks so if you haven’t already tried, please do.

Those of you that have, you are the experts so please lead the way.

We expect the task to take no longer than 10 minutes. Start now [now closed].

Incomplete licence applications to be returned

Incomplete licence applications will be returned to advisers to improve the speed of our service from 3 January 2013.

The Licensing Assessment Team continues to receive incomplete applications where applicants have:

Delays arise because staff have to first contact advisers to raise these issues, and later engage in follow up to obtain missing information. We routinely encounter advisers who are reluctant to provide required information and instead attempt to persuade our staff to waive such requirements, which then leads to staff members entering into dialogue with advisers to explain why information is necessary. These problems are further compounded when advisers are located overseas or elect to take extended trips overseas shortly after submitting their application.

In the past, we have gone out of our way to assist such applicants. However, we now find advisers who meet the requirements are being delayed by those that do not. As such incomplete applications will be returned.

Former adviser to pay more than a quarter of a million dollars

A former immigration adviser has been ordered to pay more than a quarter of a million dollars by a tribunal for “calculated” and “systematic dishonesty”.

Glen William Standing must pay nearly $280,000 in refunds, penalties and compensation – the highest amount demanded from a single person by the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal.

The Immigration Advisers Authority confirmed 19 former clients had made complaints against Mr Standing – the highest number of complaints the Authority had received against a single person.

Read the full media release

Ethical dilemmas: how to make good decisions

We all come across ethical dilemmas where we are unsure of what to do.

In your profession, this may involve a decision that could be potentially damaging to a client.

We understand making these kinds of decisions can be difficult so we have developed a worksheet to help you work through your options and their consequences.

You can find the Ethical Deliberation Worksheet in your newly updated Policies and Procedures Manual for Licensed Immigration Advisers. For more information on ethics, take a look Ethics Bytes – a set of interactive tools by the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority, and watch the video entitled “Ethical Dilemma – Your Views” on the Office of Ethnic Affairs website.

Completed Policies and Procedures for Licensed Immigration Advisers Manual

The Policies and Procedures Manual for Licensed Immigration Advisers is now complete.

Part C: Professional Responsibilities has been substantially revised and is joined by a fourth and final section Part D: Professional Practice. You may be particularly interested by the section on rules surrounding initial consultations with your clients.

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

Give your feedback on the Manual

Change to Client Funds Policy

All funds received from clients can now be deposited directly into the separate client account, providing particular conditions are met.  In the past, the Authority said only payments and disbursements paid in advance can be deposited in a separate account.

The policy read:

Your client account should be used for holding payments and disbursements received in advance only. If you both receive payments from your clients in advance and for services already supplied you should transfer to your client account only those funds which are to be held in advance.

This meant you could not deposit, or allow clients to deposit, funds which are not in advance into the client account. This had an impact on cases where funds received from clients are a mixture of funds in advance and not in advance. In these cases the Authority expected advisers to deposit funds into their practice account and then transfer only the advance portion into the client account.

In December 2011, a licensed immigration adviser raised the view with the Authority that mixed funds should be deposited into the client account at the outset and be withdrawn only on issuance of an invoice for a service or disbursement.

In March 2012, the matter was referred to the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) by way of an own motion complaint seeking direction on the interpretation of the code of conduct.

The Tribunal provided direction by way of a decision issued on 28 June 2012 and this resulted in the Authority changing its requirements around client funds.

The following new policy comes into effect on 3 January 2013.

  • If an adviser never receives fees or disbursements in advance of them being contractually due, they do not receive client funds paid in advance, and do not need to have a separate client account.
  • If an adviser receives fees or disbursements in advance of them being contractually due, they must establish a separate client account, noting the following:
    • A separate client account is a bank account established solely for holding client funds paid in advance.
    • The client account must be separate from any other practice account run by the adviser and be easily identifiable as a client account.
    • The client account may either be a separate account or a separate suffix under the adviser’s practice account.
    • More than one client account is not needed.

The following table sets out the definitions of the different types of funds that may be received from clients, and the different bank account requirements that attach to each of these:

  Client funds Mixed funds Practice funds
Definition Funds received for fees in advance of being contractually due and invoiced; and all money received for disbursements not yet paid. Funds that include  both client funds, and also disbursements paid and/or fees incurred which have been invoiced to the client. Funds that the adviser is legally entitled and for which the adviser has issued the client with an invoice.
Bank Account Requirements Must be held in a separate clients’ bank account. Must all be deposited into the client account at the outset. The portion of the funds for which an invoice has been legitimately issued should then be withdrawn from the client account immediately. Held in a practice account.

Advisers have until 3 January 2013 to transition to the new process of managing client funds.

From this date, renewal applications will be assessed against the new policy.

Read more about the Authority’s policy on client funds.

Advisers prevented from applying for a licence, ordered to refund clients and pay penalties

A tribunal has ordered two immigration advisers to refund their clients and pay $7,000 for unprofessional conduct.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal also prevented advisers from Hillsborough and Glenfield applying for a licence for two years.

Read full media release

For your information

16 November 2012 - Reserve your place for the next Immigration New Zealand Adviser Seminar.

The first 220 to reply to the invitations sent in October will be able to secure a place while others will be added to the waiting list. INZ urge advisers not to show up without a reservation as those on the waiting list will be given preference.

The seminar runs from 10am-12.30 at Trust Stadium, Central Park Drive, Henderson.

Future seminars will be held in April, August and December 2013.

1 January 2013 - The way you apply, upgrade and renew your licence changes from next year. Find out how you may be affected by reading the Licensing Pathway Requirements

3 January 2013 – Client funds policy changes as per article above