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February newsletter

 

Adviser numbers at record high

Adviser numbers have reached a record high following the first delivery of the qualification.

We now have a total of 576 advisers on the register – up 12% compared to the same month last year. Notable changes can be seen onshore with the profession expanding by 16% nationally but decreasing slightly by two per cent internationally.

Continued growth of the profession bodes well for existing advisers as the boost in numbers is likely to lead to increased networks and collegiality, rising standards driven by competition and enhanced credibility of the profession among those wanting to become a licensed adviser.

 

Have your say on changes to the code of conduct

Tell us what you think of proposed changes to the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2010 by Friday 1 March 2013.

In your December 2012 newsletter we asked how you would change the code. We have also undertaken a comprehensive review of the code, considering all the issues raised with us in the last four years, particularly during the licence renewal process. We have collected all proposed changes in a single consultation document that can be viewed via the email we sent you yesterday or by using the link below.

Remember, the code impacts on how you do business so you will need to consider how each proposed change will effect the way you currently operate.

For each of the proposed changes, consider:

We will take all of your feedback into account so do let us know the changes you support as well as those you don’t. Your views will help us make informed decisions that work for you and your clients.

Advisers who volunteered to form part of a code of conduct focus group will also meet in Auckland on 12 February 2013 to discuss the proposed changes.

Have your say on changes to the code >>

 

First graduates discuss new qualification

The first students to complete the Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice were welcomed to the profession at their Tauranga graduation on 12 December 2012.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers Barry Smedts gave a speech congratulating graduates on their dedication and encouraged them, once licensed, to keep learning through their experiences, stay informed through continuing professional development and network with licensed advisers to tackle complex client cases.

Students came from many walks of life, including a teacher from Dunedin, a librarian from Tauranga and a 69-year-old Auckland lawyer. Others took the online qualification from India, China, Brazil and the UK. Some were already licensed.

Maricel Weischede, of NZIHS Philippines Consultancy Services, signed up the day applications opened so she could be among the first licensed advisers to hold the qualification.

She said: “I like to study. I wanted to be the first and I wanted to ensure I have the same knowledge as everyone else.”

Maricel has been practising for nearly nine years but still saw value in completing the qualification.

She said: “For me, the greatest benefit has been taking the time to step out of the business and actually reflect on what you are doing. I would say it is especially valuable for those advisers who are not dealing with a variety of cases. The qualification broadens your skills beyond one type of visa and the more you know the more clients you can accept.

“It has made me change the way I work. It made me look into the application in more detail than I was able to before.”

Mike Bell, of New Zealand Immigration & Settlement Services Ltd, thought it shed new light on his knowledge.

He said: “What the qualification did was cut right to the business from the history of immigration law to the intention of the law; and the whole process of how the operational instructions are put together. It gave me a really good understanding of the technical details. It also helped me understand why some advisers are working very well and others are not.”

A total of 43 students graduated out of 52 who enrolled in the four courses. Graduates spoke of starting their own businesses, specialising in niche markets from farm managers to French vineyard investors. Find out more about them in your next newsletter.

 

Modules of the qualification as CPD

The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic will be offering individual modules of the Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice as CPD for licensed immigration advisers from April 2013.

The modules will be available to study online only. CPD students will not be required to complete examinations and will receive a certificate of completion only.

The Polytechnic will also be offering refresher training for previously licensed immigration advisers from April 2013. Refresher training will be delivered three times in 2013, starting in April, July and October.

More information about qualification modules, dates and costs will be available on the Polytechnic’s website from 1 March 2013.

 

Inspections: the story so far

Ten advisers have been inspected by our licensing assessors since September 2012.

Of the ten advisers inspected, four received improvement letters and six required no further action.

In our July 2012 newsletter we explained that advisers who do not qualify for fast-track renewal on their third or fourth renewal would be selected at random for inspection.

At renewal, advisers subject to inspection are asked for a particular client file chosen at random.

This file is reviewed and results in either:

Since the start of inspections, only one adviser has been visited on-site before being sent an improvement letter.

Assessors found common areas needing improvement included:

Advisers wanting to double check that their business practices comply with the code can seek guidance from the Policy and Procedures Manual for Licensed Immigration Advisers. In the manual you can find out how to:

Inspections are designed to improve the profession. Minor issues are addressed with an improvement letter and serious breaches of the code of conduct result in a complaint.

 

Adviser Satisfaction

Thanks to everyone who participated in our first Adviser Satisfactory Survey.

In October 2012 we asked what you thought of our service and 70% of you were satisfied. This compares well against the 2009 Kiwis Count survey conducted by the State Services Commission which found a 69% satisfaction across 42 public sector organisations. 

Around four in ten advisers responded to the survey telling us that:

87% of you expected a good service
48% of you got a better than expected service.

We will be reviewing these results and the detailed comments we received with a view to improving our service to you.

 

New website with dedicated adviser section

Our new website with a dedicated section for advisers is set to go live this month.

Thanks to advisers who took part in the online exercises last year.
We have created a layout that is easier for you to find what you need quickly.

This may mean you can no longer access the site using website addresses saved as favourites on your computer. But once the new site is live, we will email you a link which you can save for future use.

 

Final call to network, influence and be the first to know

Join the Licensed Advisers Reference Group 2013 and be the first to know about changes affecting the industry.

Each year a new group makes three visits to our Auckland office to help shape Authority initiatives before they come to pass, network with like-minded advisers and find out more about the industry they work in.

To join the group you will need to be available on the following three Thursdays and register your interest using the link below.

Thursday 18 April
Thursday 15 August
Thursday 7 November

Register for the 2013 Reference Group >>
Read what was discussed by the Reference Group 2012 >>

 

Adviser numbers

Full licence 459
Limited licence 18
Provisional licence 99
Total licences 576
Adviser on/offshore 422/154
TTMRA licensed 99
Refusals decided 24
Appeals decided 4
Complaints to tribunal 150

 

Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day next Wednesday 6 February provides a great opportunity to inform your clients about the Treaty of Waitangi and what it is all about. See our web page on The Treaty and Maori culture for helpful resources.