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Newsletter September 2012

Let the games begin

Have trouble finding what you need on our website?

Be part of the solution, by helping us to understand how advisers want digital information organised. Start the game now [now closed], this first game runs from 3 to 14 September, and takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Take part in a series of three online games aimed at improving the Authority’s website. Contact us if you would like to be emailed for this series of online games.

Client emails on INZ applications

Avoid an inbox full of emails addressed to your clients by adding their personal email addresses on Immigration New Zealand (INZ) application forms.

This way Settlement Support New Zealand (SSNZ) can send their Welcome to New Zealand emails directly to your clients and not to you, your clients can stay informed about what Government help is available to them and you can improve your service to them.

INZ staff are aware that when an adviser is listed on an application as representing the applicant,  they are only to deal with you, so there is little danger of confusion.

Including your client’s personal email address will also help us improve the outcomes of the annual Migrant Survey.

Advisers score highly in latest Migrant Survey 2012

We have now completed the fourth annual survey of visa applicants who used an immigration adviser.

The aim of the survey is to provide a measure of the performance of immigration advisers from the perspective of their clients, to help evaluate the effects over time of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.

This time around 19,000 applicants used a licensed immigration adviser between 4 September 2011 and 4 May 2012. Sadly, only 16% of client email addresses were recorded which limited the number of survey invites we could send.

Including your client’s personal email address on the INZ application form will help us increase numbers in the future.

This year’s Migrant Survey saw 598 of your clients respond to our questionnaire.

You will be pleased to hear that 87% of your clients were satisfied overall with the quality of your service. That’s up from 75% last year.

What is also great for your business is that 90% of your clients would recommend you to a family member or friend.

This figure has leapt from 82% last year.

Even your lowest performing areas reflected well, with:

87% Providing a quick response to questions
87% Being easily contactable
87% Providing additional info when asked
84% Providing interpreters
81% Advising clients about their entitlement to legal advice
75% Charging a reasonable fee
55% Assisting clients in accessing info about the Treaty of Waitangi/Māori customs

What your clients were most pleased with was your:

95% Respect of their culture
95% Ability to communicate in English
94% Written agreement
94% Respectful way of treating them
92% Good knowledge of policy
92% Full description of services
92% Protecting and returning personal information.

Registrar Barry Smedts hopes that advisers will keep up the good work. He said: “Advisers highest performing areas all feature in the 90% region and that is fantastic.”

View the full breakdown of survey results.

INZ Henderson Branch Advisers Seminar

The latest INZ Henderson Branch Advisers Seminar was held on Friday 27 July 2012.

Hot topics on the agenda were:

One of the main messages that came out of the Update on Henderson was that any applications failing mandatory lodgement requirements will be returned from 13 August 2012.

Henderson Branch has a new website specifically for immigration advisers. You will probably have been sent a link to the website, but if you have been missed for some reason, please contact Henderson Branch directly for the link on 0800 542 469. Please do not forward the link on to third parties.

On the website you will find useful tools such as Henderson’s organisation chart, their phone list, hints and tips, seminar presentations, application checklists, and more.

David Lyon, from the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic then gave a presentation on the new licensing qualification which began on 16 July 2012. Natasha Narayan from the Authority followed up with an explanation of how the qualification will interact with the Authority’s licensing assessment process.

Please remember when you next register for a seminar at the Henderson Branch, or indeed at any INZ Branch:

Licensed Advisers Reference Group

On Tuesday 14 August 2012 the Authority hosted the second Licensed Advisers Reference Group meeting of the year. It had been a busy few months since our first meeting in April so the agenda was action packed.

The reference group discussed the draft document, Part D: Professional Practice Guidelines, which is the fourth and final part of the Policies and Procedures Manual for Licensed Immigration Advisers. Parts A to C are already available on our website. Part D will cover the more tangible aspects of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2010 and has been written with a focus on the perspective of a licensed adviser new to the industry. This final instalment of the policy manual will be uploaded to the website in due course.

Also discussed was a reference group presence on the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s Programme Advisory Committee, which has been convened to ensure that the Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice qualification remains up-to-date. Members of the reference group volunteered their attendance and Jennifer DeWald-Harrison and June Ranson will act as representatives.

The redesign of the Authority’s website was next on the agenda. All members of the reference group, as well as other volunteers who are already licensed immigration advisers, and students who are currently doing the qualification, will participate in a series of three online exercises to help us with the redesign.

Finally, the reference group was given the presentation that the Authority uses when addressing consumer groups.

Read the full Licensed Adviser Reference Group minutes.

Adviser cautioned for negligence and incompetence

An adviser cautioned for negligence and incompetence was reprimanded for a poor professional attitude by the Tribunal.

The licensed immigration adviser missed the deadline to lodge their client’s appeal to the Residence Review Board. This in itself was negligent but, also concerning, was the fact the adviser did not initially take responsibility for the lapse or recognise that any wrong had been done.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal chair said: “The adviser expressed resentment that personal commitments should be affected by the time pressure in relation to lodging the appeal …not only has the adviser made no attempt to express contrition for the unacceptable conduct, they have persistently attempted to blame their client.”

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal found the adviser had breached the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act sections 44(2)(a) and (b) by being:

The chair said: “The more difficult issue is having to deal with a practitioner who shows no insight into elementary principles of professional responsibility.”

The Tribunal found the adviser had breached clauses 1.1 of the code of conduct as they had failed to act with ‘care, diligence and professionalism’ in performing their services.

Specifically, the adviser:

The Tribunal acknowledged however that this was not a case of gross negligence or dishonesty and ordered the adviser to refund the client of some $3,250 and pay a penalty of $2,500.

The chair explained the duty of the Tribunal was not to punish the practitioner for misbehaviour, although it may have that effect, but to ensure appropriate standards of conduct are maintained in the occupation concerned. The factors taken into account are:

The adviser was cautioned that their: “failure to accept responsibility for professional failings, and instead attempting to blame the client, raises the question of their fitness to practice without supervision”. The adviser was also strongly encouraged to reflect on the circumstances that led to the complaint, and pursue further training and education in relation to professional ethics.

Finally, the chair noted that should the adviser have another complaint upheld, the caution applied in this instance may be considered in relation to the appropriate sanctions to impose.

And finally…

The Registrar gave a presentation last Friday (August 31) on The Future of Licensing at the 2012 NZAMI Annual Conference. Catch up on what the future holds for licensed immigration advisers. View the slides online.

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.