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October newsletter

Warning

The Authority has been alerted to an Indian migration firm asking advisers to “share” their licence. The firm emailed a new adviser a week after being licensed.

The email read…

Subject: Request To Act As Our Authorized Consultant

We require only your license. We will pay you per case for sharing your license only, we do minimum 150 files for a year. If you are not interested, please refer me to any IAA officer.

Authority investigators are looking into the case and urge advisers to report any such activity as soon as possible.

Submitting visa applications compiled by a third party or “rubber stamping” is a breach of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2010 as demonstrated by the Tribunal decision below.

Adviser fined for “rubber stamping” for Philippine recruitment company

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal has issued its first penalty for “rubber stamping”.

Rubber stamping occurs when an adviser allows his or her licence to be used by another party. In this case, the adviser signed off applications compiled by a Philippine recruitment company having neither met nor communicated with the client.

The Auckland adviser reviewed the papers in New Zealand and lodged the application as the client’s immigration adviser.

In a letter to Immigration New Zealand, the director of the Philippine company, said: “I am waiting for the final approval of my license. Please note that for the meantime we are using the license of ______ for this application.”

The Tribunal upheld the Authority’s complaint on the grounds that the adviser:

  1. failed to act professionally by allowing unlicensed people to initiate the professional relationship with the client.
  2. signed an Immigration New Zealand form certifying that the client had:
    1. “asked” the adviser to complete the form
    2. agreed the information was correct before signing the form.

The Tribunal rejected the adviser’s argument that the Philippine company had carried out “clerical work”.

The chair said: “There appears to be little doubt the company (and the employees who had contact with the client) in the Philippines used knowledge and experience to assist him prepare his application for a work visa.”

“An employee who assisted the client made it clear her role went far beyond simply being a recorder of information under his direction. She briefed him on the right to take independent legal advice about the contents of the client agreement, the role of the immigration adviser and provided a copy of the code of conduct.”

The chair said: “First, he failed to recognise that to act professionally, it was essential that he meaningfully engage with his client. Second, he did not give the terms of the certification he issued to Immigration New Zealand the attention they required.”

In his defence, the adviser claimed:

The Tribunal chair was satisfied the adviser was not acting dishonestly and accepted the circumstances could not amount to misconduct at the most serious end of the scale.

The adviser, now retired, was censured, ordered to pay a penalty of $1,500 and was told he can only apply for a licence over the next two years if specified conditions were met. These conditions would be determined if and when the adviser decided to rejoin the profession.

The chair said: “If a person submits information that is not accurate, there are potentially grave adverse consequences for that person’s ability to advance that, or any other, immigration application. The precision that is expected is a matter a licensed immigration adviser must impress upon his clients. A form that looks to be in order may well contain inaccurate information, and have irreparable consequences for a client. It is an obligation of care and professionalism to ensure a client understands these obligations and consequences (clause 1.1)”

Game on

Thank you to all the advisers who took part in our online game.

The second game is quicker to complete and consists of 12 quick questions. As before, we expect the majority of advisers will take part before 5pm on 12 October 2012. Please note that IAA may close the game early if we get complete numbers, so get in quick!

Start the game (Now closed).

Te Mana Kaitohutohu Manene

The Immigration Advisers Authority has a Māori name - Te Mana Kaitohutohu Manene, which has been translated for us by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission. We have started using the translated name informally, and will begin rolling it out more formally in the next financial year. You may also wish to use it in your branding.

Anka Sahin, who raised the issue with us, has already incorporated the translated name for licensed immigration adviser - Kaitohutohu Manene Whai Raihana - on his business card.

Tribunal finds adviser negligent

An immigration adviser was found negligent after failing to lodge his client’s appeal against a declined residence visa in time.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal heard the adviser had initially assisted his client to lodge an application for a residence visa, but this was declined. In August 2010 Immigration New Zealand informed the adviser of the decline decision, and that his client had 42 days to appeal this decision.

After the adviser missed the deadline, the Residence Review Board explained to him that his calculation was based on the 42-day period commencing 14 days after the letter, whereas the correct commencement was seven days after the letter, because the notification letter was posted to a New Zealand address. The 14-day period only applied to a letter posted to an address outside New Zealand.

The Registrar of Immigration Advisers, Barry Smedts, said: “This adviser missed a crucial deadline for his client. His actions meant a potential migrant lost out on their last chance to appeal against a decline decision on their residence visa by four days.”
Read more--

How can the Authority improve?

How can we improve our service to you?

Give us your ideas by answering an anonymous online survey. The ten-minute survey will be sent to your inbox in October and you will have two weeks to complete it.

Results will be published in the December newsletter.

Qualification praised by students

Demand for the qualification continues to rise.

Tutor Jeni Fountain said: “There are 60 full-time and 60 part-time places each semester and we expect the February 2013 semester to be full by the end of the month.”

“The qualification has received significant interest.  For the February 2013 intake we are offering 60 new full-time places and 30 new part-time places and expect these places to be filled within weeks of enrolments opening.”

The first cohort, which started in July, praised the course.

One pupil said: “As a middle-aged, remotely based correspondence student (for the first time in my life), I have so far, found the course to be excellent. I love that I can fit in my studies around my own personal life commitments (children).”

Licensed immigration advisers are likewise pleased with the modules.

“Although the course is quite heavy, it assists me in my continued professional development. It has made me think positively about my Professional Responsibilities and a Licensed Immigration Adviser.”

Another student said: “I highly recommend this paper for anyone to take, not only as a future employer, but also as an investment.”

The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic recommends that applicants who are working full-time, opt for the part-time option or, take six months out from work to complete the qualification in a full-time capacity.   Full-time study equates to around six to eight hours per week day so uses a large portion of the day.  Those working in the industry tend to have high expectations of their performance so are more likely to meet these expectations if they choose the part-time study option whilst continuing to work.

The Polytechnic directs anyone unsure of how to tackle the course to contact them directly on: 07 571 0190, 0800 BOP POLY (267 7659) or info@boppoly.ac.nz.

BOP Polytechnic is currently accepting applications for the February 2013 intake and enrolments will open later this month. Once you apply online you will be prompted to supply the required documentation evidencing that you meet the entry criteria. Places are limited and accepted applicants will be advised to secure their place in the programme by returning the enrolment form no later than 14 days after the date of the acceptance letter being issued.

Adviser Statistics

Full licence 426
Limited licence 16
Provisional licence 86
Total licences 528
Adviser on/offshore 381/147
TTMRA licensed 96
Refusals decided 24
Appeals decided 4
Complaints to tribunal 130

And finally

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