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April newsletter

 

Tribunal update: Initial consultations

Advisers charging for initial consultations are being reminded to provide clients with a written agreement after one adviser was penalised.

The adviser has been censured and ordered to pay a penalty of $1,500 by the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal following a dispute over whether an initial consultation was free.

The adviser claimed a fee was owed but was unable to produce a written agreement showing the complainant had agreed to the fee prior to the initial consultation.

The Tribunal chair said: “If the service is a fixed fee initial consultation, a simple written agreement reflecting that is both possible and adequate. A written agreement for a modest fixed fee for a very specific service need not be a complex document, and indeed will likely communicate more effectively if it is not.

If engaged to provide further services, a subsequent agreement identifying the services required, and addressing the issues potentially arising in an ongoing professional relationship, would then follow.”

Clause 8 (b) of the code of conduct states:

“A licensed immigration adviser must before commencing work incurring costs, set out the fees and disbursements (including Immigration New Zealand fees and charges) to be charged, including the hourly rate and the estimate of the time it will take to perform the services or the fixed cost for the services.”

Read more about written agreements in Part D of your Policy Manual >>

 

Meet the new Licensed Advisers Reference Group 2013

We had a great response this year with 18 advisers volunteering to join the Licensed Advisers Reference Group 2013.

Eight advisers selected include:

  1. Mike Bell, of New Zealand Immigration & Settlement Services Ltd
  2. Tufui Fonua-Kama, of Tafengamonu Immigration New Zealand Ltd
  3. Kim Ang Gibbs, of Gibbs Asia Pacific representing NZAIP
  4. John Hu, of John Hu Migration Consulting
  5. June Ranson, of Woburn International Limited representing NZAMI
  6. Vanessa Sharratt, of Greenstone Global Limited
  7. Kristy Verster, of Ernst & Young Limited
  8. Maricel Weischede, of NZIHS Philippines Consultancy Services

Find out what they discuss in next month’s newsletter.

Detailed minutes from the Reference Group will also be posted on our website >>

 

CPD through the qualification

You can take individual modules of the Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice as CPD in April.

You won’t be required to complete exams and will receive a certificate of completion.

The Polytechnic will also be offering refresher training in April, July and October 2013 for previously licensed immigration advisers wishing to rejoin the profession.

 

Adviser licence expires after last-minute renewal fails

Another adviser’s licence has expired after they submitted a renewal application at the last minute.

The adviser, whose licence was due to expire over a weekend, submitted their application late Friday afternoon but their credit card declined payment of the application fee.

Our administration officer attempted to contact the adviser by email, landline and mobile phone.

Ultimately, the adviser’s licence expired because an application cannot be accepted by the Registrar unless the prescribed fee is paid under section 18(b) of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.

Renewal tips

 

Recovering money awarded by the Tribunal

We have been asked to clarify how advisers can help clients collect money awarded by the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal.

The role of the Tribunal ends once the complaint and its disciplinary sanction has been decided. It has no part to play in the recovery of any reimbursement or compensation awarded to a complainant. 

To collect money awarded, the complainant must contact the adviser in the first instance to arrange payment.

If unsuccessful, the complainant can go to the District Court to get the order enforced by the Collections Unit.

The Ministry of Justice website states:

"The successful party (read: complainant) is responsible for initiating each stage of the enforcement proceedings and providing the debtor's current address. The Court cannot guarantee the recovery of civil debts."

Collections Unit requires:

  1. the “sealed” Tribunal decision that contains the orders for reimbursement or compensation, and
  2. the contact details of the adviser.

A CIV number will be assigned to the decision containing the orders at the Collections Unit counter. This CIV number will be the new reference number for your case.

Complainants living overseas need a New Zealand lawyer to take action on their behalf.

Complainants unsure what to do should contact the Collections Unit directly and seek legal advice.

Decisions from the Tribunal are enforceable through the District Court as per section 52 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.

 

Office of the MARA visit

The Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) joined us for a two-day meeting in March.

We compared similarities and shared ideas on licensing processes, new IT systems, CPD and communications.

The meeting was extremely productive for both parties and we look forward to learning more from each other in the future.

 

Adviser numbers

Full licence 471
Limited licence 19
Provisional licence 107
Total licences 597
Adviser on/offshore 438/159
TTMRA licensed 102
Refusals decided 24
Appeals decided 4
Complaints to tribunal 157