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Immigration adviser ordered to pay $35,000

Media release
23 September 2011

An Auckland immigration adviser who left a family essentially homeless and failed three other clients has been ordered to pay $35,000.

Artika Archina Devi was struck off the licensed immigration advisers register after four former clients complained to the Immigration Advisers Authority.

One couple were told jobs at a Marlborough vineyard had been secured only to turn up with their children to find the positions did not exist.

The family ended up living in a tent in Marlborough until the campsite proprietor lent them money for the return trip.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decision stated: “They were essentially put into the position of being homeless.”

“The adviser’s conduct has been at best reckless. She presented an employment contract to vulnerable migrants, and had her clients execute it.”

Devi was ordered to pay a total of $35,171 to the four unrelated complainants. The sum included penalties, a refund of fees and compensation for lost documents, loss of earnings and travel costs.

Devi, the director at Universal Immigration Services NZ Ltd had her licence cancelled and is banned from reapplying for a full licence for two years.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decision stated:

“The Complainants and their three dependent children suffered financial hardship as a result of relying on the Adviser’s conduct. That was the result of relocating in reliance on the understanding they had obtained work permits and work and having to meet travel and accommodation costs.”

The tribunal criticised the Manukau-based adviser for:

Universal Immigration Services NZ Ltd was formerly known as Fast Track Immigration Services Limited and Sunita Immigration and Employment Services Limited.

Notes to editor

The Immigration Advisers Authority was set up to promote and protect the interests of people receiving New Zealand immigration advice.

We do this by:

Under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 anyone giving immigration advice must have a licence unless they are exempt. Exempt people include lawyers with a current New Zealand practising certificate and Citizens Advice Bureaux staff among others.

The Authority is independent of Immigration New Zealand and cannot give immigration advice or influence a visa application.