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Reference group minutes


Date: Thursday, 13 May 2015 10:15am – 3:15pm
Place: Immigration Advisers Authority, Level 2, 52 Symonds Street, Auckland
Attendees: IAA – Catherine Albiston (Registrar of Immigration Advisers), Philip Anderson (Occupational Licensing Team Leader), Alexandra Simpson (Senior Technical Advisor), Erica Su (Senior Business Administrator) (Minute-taker)

INZ – Wayne Levick (Area Manager, Henderson)

Licensed Immigration Advisers – Simon Moore (M&C Consulting Ltd t/a e-Migration NZ Sth Island) (NZAMI representative), Karen Justice (Ernst & Young) (NZAIP representative), Zeenat Afiz (Fragomen), Ann-Maree Duxfield (University of Auckland), Wiebe Herder (Woburn International), Lucy He (TDA Immigration), Amar Manchanda (Ambition Immigration), Carina Ford (Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers), Allister Simpson (Endeavour Immigration), Lisa Seaborn (Immigration Management), Rachel Lishman (Bay Immigration Limited) (Qualification Steering Group representative)
Apologies: June Ranson (Woburn International)


  1. Welcome
    1. Catherine Albiston, Registrar of Immigration Advisers, welcomed members of the group.
    2. The agenda:
      1. Discussion on development of the Graduate Diploma;
      2. Discussion on potential provisional licence and supervision guidelines;
      3. New Competency Standards and IAA Online overview
      4. The Authority’s communications plan
  2. Development of the Graduate Diploma
    1. Following the previous Reference Group meeting, the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic was given direction on the importance of practical components in the programme, and that the programme is to move from simple to complex.   
    2. At the most recent Steering Group meeting, the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic presented the first draft of the outline of the course structure and feedback was provided.
    3. Nine courses are proposed including two electives (students to complete eight in total).
    4. Course 1 – Introduction to Professional Standards and Immigration Law
      Group comments
      1. Agreement that this course should start with what it means to be a licensed immigration adviser, and then move into the introduction to immigration law.
      2. It was recommended that there should be both individual analysis and group activities on the Code of Conduct and that these should replace the assignment to do a presentation on the Code.
      3. One approach could be to show videos of things done badly or done well and require students to analyse them.
      4. One idea suggested was to require students to write an advertisement for their business that met Code requirements (or analyse an example advertisement).
      5. Day 18 – the OIA and PA material needs to be not theoretical but practical ie – how an adviser will use them for their clients.
    5. Course 2 – Introduction to Immigration Decision-Making
      IAA intro
      1. Following the Steering Group meeting, more difficult material has been taken out of this course to allow it to be a basic introductory course.
        Group comments
      2. The capacity in this course should be used to spend much more time getting familiar with the Operations Manual, IACs, ICs, the INZ website and best practice guidelines.
      3. Interacting in an online world could be introduced in this course.
      4. There was some discussion on whether it was too early to introduce PPIs in this course. The view was it should be introduced here in a very basic way and then as the visa types are taught, students should be given examples of the types of PPIs they might expect moving from the basic to the complex as the year progresses. Initially they could be shown good and bad examples and later they could be required to respond to them.
      5. Similarly, it may be too soon to introduce health and character waivers in this course as they are more complex and possibly should be taught later.
      6. Special directions should be moved to Course 6.
    6. Course 3 – Temporary Entry
      Group comments
      1. Day one should cover the fundamental differences between temporary class and residence class visas, and citizenship (alternatively, this could be moved to Course 2 if there is more capacity there).
      2. Bona fides need to be covered very well.
      3. Work to residence would better fit with topics in Day 4.
      4. Work vs Visitor Visa would better fit in Day 3.
      5. This course should cover briefly limited visas and domestic violence policy.
      6. It would be good to have a good basic introduction to ANZSCO, its importance and how to navigate it.
      7. The s61 material in this course needs to be basic only, with more complex scenarios later in the year.
      8. It would be good to have a session on working with corporate clients, eg assisting employers to apply for accreditation or AIPs (possibly not in this course).
    7. Course 4 – Residence
      IAA intro
      1. It is a general view that current coverage of SMC in the Graduate Certificate is insufficient and needs more time.
      2. Group comments
      3. Day 5 – needs emphasis here or in temporary entry on importance of convictions, drink driving convictions often catch people out when they haven’t been declared.
      4. Day 11 – needs to include the SMC process and outcome possibilities. Needs to be stressed that ITA is an invitation only.
      5. Day 12 or early in course should cover NZQA assessment.
    8. Course 5 – Specialist Practice
      Group comments
      1. There was support for course 5 to be taught after course 6 (Professional Practice).
      2. The general view was more thought needs to go into how these subjects are taught to give students a basic knowledge without them becoming overly confident they can start work in these areas immediately.
      3. Students need to understand that these are complex areas and know when to refer their clients on to more specialised advisers.
      4. More time should be allocated to Business Categories than Refugee. Is the business idea credible? How to get points? More time on Investor.
      5. Special Directions could be covered after PPIs.
      6. CCRP could also be covered in this course.
    9. Course 6 – Professional Practice
      Group comments
      1. It was agreed that it is vital to emphasise on a strong ethical practice amongst advisers.
      2. Managing client expectations and relationships should be covered, possibly early on
      3. Client engagement should be taught prior to entering in to written agreement with clients.
      4. Day 6 should move to end and not interrupt the Code material.
      5. Client engagement, fees, and client funds warrant a day each.
      6. It is important students know what a client file is, and how to keep good records both on paper and electronically.
      7. The course as a whole should be teaching how to maintain a good client file and they should be assessed on this.
      8. Another suggestion for an activity was to get students to write a front page for their website which is Code compliant ( a more in-depth version of activity suggested in Course 1)
    10. Course 7 – Family File
      Group comments
      1. The Group did not provide detailed comments on the material here but the general response was it looked like it was heading in the right direction.
    11. Overall the feedback was very positive. General suggestions included, the assessments in the first half should cover basic, straightforward applications and those in the second half should be complex. There need to be scenarios throughout and it would be good to knit together scenarios across courses. Eg A scenario looked at in temporary entry could be looked at again in professional practice from a different point of view.
    12. Does the programme have some capacity for a very basic introduction to Australia’s regime given they may also apply for an Australian licence?
  3. Provisional licence entry point
    IAA intro
    1. It is yet to be determined at what point a student can apply for a provisional licence. There are mixed opinions in the wider industry on this matter with some favouring application for a provisional licence after completion of 25% of the course, and others favouring completion of half the course.
    2. Catherine sought feedback on this matter specifically from Reference Group and Steering Group members and also from those who have obtained a provisional licence after the introduction of the Graduate Certificates and their supervisors. Feedback was also sought in the May newsletter. 12 people responded: 4 in favour of 25%, 8 in favour of 50%.
    3. Catherine noted the stronger support for the entry point being at 50% but acknowledged the concerns employers have with regards to the length of time it will take their employees to obtain a provisional licence if they are completing the course part-time.
      Group comments
    4. There were strong views from the Reference Group that students should have to complete 50% of the programme before being able to apply for a provisional licence.
    5. The view was also expressed that where there is a supportive employer-employee environment with direct supervision from within the same office, that the provisional license should be accepted after 25% of the course (i.e. 6 months full-time or part-time). This is because of the supportive and committed environment in that scenario along with the cost of getting someone to the point of being able to generate a return on investment.
    6. However, there was a general view that one set of rules should be applied to sole-practitioners and employees, full-time students and part-time students.
  4. Supervision guidelines
    IAA intro
    1. The Authority would like to discuss how it can support the introduction of mandatory supervision with improved guidelines. Currently, the Authority has a model supervision arrangement and some guidelines and policy on supervision.
    2. There has been strong interest from advisers in supervising new graduates.
    3. The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic has agreed to put supervisor advertisements on its student forum.
      Group comments
    4. Supervision can be “scary” for advisers. To demystify it advisers would like more resources, such as a “toolkit”. Ideas for items for the toolkit included a template logbook for recording supervision minutes, where to get training, do’s and don’ts for provisional licence holders, template CPD plan, indication of how much time is acceptable, what to do if supervisor is away, snippets of success stories, how to find a supervisor.
    5. IAA encouraged NZAMI and NZAIP to run training for supervisors
    6. Industry groups like NZAMI and NZAIP may be able to host a ‘supervisor register’.
      Action: IAA to prepare a draft supervision toolkit for comment at the next meeting.
  5. New Competency Standards and IAA Online Overview
    IAA update
    1. The Authority is developing an online portal for advisers so they can lodge applications online, make e-payments and change their details on the register.
    2. The first release will be in mid-2015 with the fast-track renewal form only. The new fast-track renewal policy will go live at that time. This will allow the Authority to focus its resources on the new risk-based inspection programme.
    3. The second release will coincide with the new Competency Standards coming into force on 26 November 2015 and include initial, TTMRA and inspections renewals forms.
    4. New CPD requirements going live in November will be a major change for existing advisers. This is to be discussed in future reference group meetings.
      Group comment
    5. Could the register display the languages each adviser can speak?
    6. Can the service address be taken off the register so only the Authority can see it?
    7. IAA comment: Register issues can be considered in the Act review as the legislation is prescriptive on what goes on the register at present.
    8. In the address location function on the register, how do we decide if an adviser is listed under H for Howick or A for Auckland? (IAA to look into this)
  6. Communication strategy and rebranding
    1. Catherine is working on next financial year’s communication plan for the Authority. It is important that we continue to improve awareness of the licensing regime, as recommended by the Martin Jenkins review, though the Authority has a limited budget.
    2. The Authority has been working with INZ on communications to employers and education providers in light of the ‘apply on behalf’ function due to be released in June. 
    3. The Authority is currently repeating the Google ads campaign done in 2014 targeting New Zealand, the Philippines and India. It is relatively cheap and the results are monitored.
    4. The Authority is looking into doing targeted ethnic media advertising with a focus this year on the Filipino community.
    5. The Authority will be rebranded later in the year to look more part of the MBIE family.
      Group comment
    6. General support for Filipino community focus for the year ahead.
    7. The Authority’s website should include more information on what is immigration advice, particularly targeted at education providers and employers.
    8. The current pamphlets are useful, but could be made smaller.
    9. There is an opportunity to use press releases in India for free promotion of immigration adviser licensing.
    10. A flyer or electronic message could be included with all temporary visa approvals.