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Charges laid against South Auckland unlicensed immigration adviser

Media release

3 November 2014

The Immigration Advisers Authority has laid a total of 17 charges against a South Auckland woman in the Manukau District Court, following a thorough investigation.

Acting Registrar of the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), Ms Albiston says the charges faced by the woman include six of providing immigration advice without being licensed or exempt, knowing she was required to be, six of holding herself out as providing immigration advice and five charges of receiving fees for the provision of immigration advice without being licensed or exempt, knowing she was required to be.

The charges relate to alleged offending between October 2011 and October 2013.

Catherine Albiston says, "The IAA was set up to protect people receiving immigration advice. Using an unlicensed adviser can cause significant stress, financial difficulty and immigration problems, which is why we cannot stress enough how important it is for anyone seeking immigration advice to use a licensed adviser, or someone who is exempt. A public register of all licensed advisers can be found on our website."

"We encourage anyone who has received immigration advice from someone who is not licensed or exempt to come forward and speak to us."

She says the IAA is separate to Immigration New Zealand and contacting the IAA will not affect anyone's visa status.

The IAA recently produced a helpful guide for migrants in five languages, which can be found on the IAA website here.

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.