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Auckland woman admits guilt to providing illegal immigration advice in Pacific community

Media release

30 August 2017

An Auckland woman of Tongan nationality has pleaded guilty to 14 charges laid by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) for illegally providing New Zealand immigration advice.

Maria ‘Ilaisaane Valu-Pome’e appeared in the Waitakere District Court yesterday following a thorough investigation by the IAA into her history of providing New Zealand immigration advice in  the Pacific community. 

Registrar of the IAA Catherine Albiston says Mrs Valu-Pome’e, who previously held a practising certificate with the New Zealand Law Society, continued to provide immigration advice after it expired.

“People giving New Zealand immigration advice must be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority or be exempt. We have no tolerance for those who act outside the law,” says Ms Albiston.   

“This case serves a further reminder to people in our Pacific communities to check that their immigration adviser is licensed or exempt.”

Mrs Valu-Pome’e pleaded guilty to three charges of providing immigration advice without a licence or exempt status while knowing she was required to be licensed; three charges of advertising herself as legally able to provide immigration advice; and four charges of receiving fees for providing immigration advice.

In addition to these charges, Mrs Valu-Pome’e also pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly using a document, one charge of using a forged document, and a representative charge for multiple instances of using forged documents under the Crimes Act 1961.

“The IAA was set up to promote the interests of people receiving New Zealand immigration advice and looks into all complaints,” adds Ms Albiston.

“Anyone can talk to the IAA about their experience without their immigration status being affected.”

Mrs. Valu-Pome’e will appear in the Waitakere District Court on 22 November for sentencing.

More information on the IAA can be found at www.iaa.govt.nz.

ENDS

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.