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March newsletter

Code consultation: Have your say by 5pm today

Your opportunity to give feedback on proposed changes to the code of conduct closes at 5pm today.

If you haven’t already, please take time to join your colleagues and have a say.

Thank you to those who have responded already. Feedback has included a number of suggestions for improvements, as well as support for many of the proposed changes.

A focus group of eight advisers also gave constructive changes following a meeting on 12 February 2013.

Over the next few weeks we will be considering all your suggested changes.

Code of conduct consultation timeline

1 March 2013 Consultation closes
4-29 March 2013 Consultation feedback analysed
3 April 2013 Draft code sent to advisers for final feedback
April/May 2013 Final code sent to Minister of Immigration for approval

When we send the final draft, we will be asking you to look at the changes we have made, provide any final feedback, and to consider how long a lead-in time you would need before it is implemented.

Tongan woman admits guilt in widespread immigration scam

A woman has appeared in court to admit her part in a widespread immigration scam in the Tongan community.

The Tongan national of Mt Roskill, Auckland, pleaded guilty to providing immigration advice without a licence at Auckland District court on 20 February 2013.

The nine charges were brought by the Immigration Advisers Authority following a multi-agency investigation.

Read more >>

Home detention for unlicensed operator

A woman who took cash from people and falsely promised them jobs was sentenced to 10 months home detention and ordered to pay $70,630 reparation to 16 victims.

The unlicensed operator pleaded guilty to charges of supplying false information to an immigration officer, obtaining by deception and providing immigration advice without a licence on 8 February 2013.

The arrest followed a lengthy multi-agency investigation.

Read more >

Providing us with information

We have been asked to clarify what to do in the event a client informs you that their former adviser has breached the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2010 (the code).

If you wish to make a complaint on your client’s behalf, you will need to provide the following information to the Authority:

In most instances you would obtain your client’s consent to disclose this information to the Authority, however this is not required. You are able to provide the information by virtue of Clause 1.2(b) of the code even if the client does not consent because it allows for the disclosure of confidential information without a client’s prior consent if it is “for purposes of the administration of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.” 

The investigation of complaints is one of the administrative functions of the Authority under section 35 of the Act, and therefore clause 1.2(b) of the code allows for the disclosure of information.

We recognise that scenarios can vary, however, so we also recommend seeking your own independent legal advice if you are uncertain of how to proceed.

Meet the graduates joining the profession

In your February newsletter, licensed immigration advisers explained how the qualification had diversified their areas of expertise and updated their business practices. This month, students new to immigration give their views and elaborate on their plans to break into the market.

Graduates came from many walks of life, including a teacher from Dunedin, a librarian from Tauranga and an Auckland lawyer. Others took the online qualification from India, China, Brazil and the UK.

Higher Education Manager Karen Phillips studied from the UK.

She said: “I had been concerned about the time difference, assignment deadlines and taking tests in the middle of the night but none of these were problems in reality.”

Ms Phillips, 61, found taking the course had helped her see immigration more clearly.

She said: “In the past I had heard stories from students having difficulties renewing visas and I thought that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) had been very hard on them. Now I understand much better what happened and could possibly help a student in a similar position to resolve such issues.”

Now licensed, Ms Phillips is in discussion with other graduates to collaborate in supporting their clients while they are in the UK and have them support her clients when they get to New Zealand. She also plans on offering UK marketing opportunities such as seminars.

Auckland Lawyer Bevin Skelton technically didn’t need to complete the qualification if he renewed his practising certificate as a lawyer. However, he felt qualifying would give him the confidence and competitive edge he needed to eventually start his own business in Shanghai.

Mr Skelton, 69, said: “There is a lot more in this qualification than just teaching you the law. The qualification keeps the pressure on. It was pretty exhausting. I always felt that INZ did their best to reject an application but I realise now that they are not out to throw applicants out but to help them if they are genuine.”

Tauranga Librarian Nirmala Gounder enjoyed the camaraderie among students.

She said: “We were all doing the qualification from our own bedrooms but we had a real sense of community.”

Ms Gounder, 58, plans to work in the Fijian Indian community.

She said: “There a big group of Fijians in the market but people have to go to Hamilton or Auckland to find someone. I plan to set up my business from home.”

Graduates give their advice for future students

  1. Make sure you have the right computing capacity: software, headset etc and practise using these before the semester starts.
  2. Full time really means full time. Don’t assume you can do nothing for a week and catch up later.
  3. Nothing is obvious and there is no shortcut. Do not rush. There is a lot to learn.
  4. Use your self-discipline and keep up with the work. It’s like maths. You need a good foundation to be able to grasp the next stage properly. Every day there are four or five activities to do and if you do not do them then you have another four or five to do.

Continuing professional development through the qualification

Individual modules of the Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice can be taken  as CPD from next month.

In April and May the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic is offering online modules covering residence, refugees, appeals and professional practice. Advisers taking the modules as part of CPD are not be required to complete exams and receive a certificate of completion.

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

Contact the Polytechnic to find out more >>

Good job

We have listened to your feedback and aim to include more “good news” articles in your newsletter.

With your help, we would like to add articles about advisers doing a good job. So tell us if you or an adviser you know has done a particularly good job in the line of duty.

This might be an adviser that has:

For example, this month assessors were impressed by a licensed immigration adviser’s approach to a supervision agreement. The adviser’s comprehensive induction checklist introduces provisional recruits to several areas of the profession including:

  1. Business processes, e.g how the passport log book works, review of the written agreement, receipt book process.
  2. An initial CPD discussion, including a plan around when supervisee would join a professional body.
  3. Client interview role plays – covering scenarios where the supervisee met with and interviewed a new client (which involved going over the code with the client and signing agreement, being given complaints procedure). Also role plays where clients come with different immigration needs.

Tell us about a time when you or your colleagues have done a good job >>
Remind yourself of the Provisional Licence and Supervisor policy >>

Wallet cards to stay

Advisers have voted to keep their wallet cards.

Thank you to all the advisers who responded to our email. In light of the 54% majority, we will continue to provide wallet cards.  Of the 252 who responded, 28% did not find the wallet cards useful and 18% were undecided.

INZ adviser seminars

Immigration New Zealand is hosting seminars in Henderson, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Wellington, Manila and London in March and April.

Dates for Henderson branch’s 2013 seminars are:

Invitations to Henderson seminars are sent one month in advance. Book your place by responding to the invite. If you have not received invitations in the past and would like to be added to the mailing list, contact your nearest INZ branch.

Adviser numbers

Full licence 466
Limited licence 17
Provisional licence 109
Total licences 592
Adviser on/offshore 433/159
TTMRA licensed 102
Refusals decided 24
Appeals decided 4
Complaints to tribunal 153