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Survey of New Zealand Visa Applicants Who Have Used an Immigration Adviser, 2015

Conducted for the Immigration Advisers Authority by Premium Research

Introduction

The Immigration Advisers Authority has surveyed clients who have used a licensed immigration adviser since 2009.  The aim of this research is to monitor licensed adviser performance and provide information that will assist IAA to regulate and support licensed advisers.

The survey is undertaken using an online methodology.  Applicants who have received a decision on their application and were recorded by Immigration New Zealand as having used a licensed adviser (and with a personal email addresses on record) were invited to participate.  The questionnaire is provided in English and Simplified Chinese.

This document provides a summary of the key findings of the surveys conducted in the 2014/2015 financial year (based on applications received between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015). 

Summary

The 2014/2015 survey results show satisfaction with the service provided by licensed advisers remains positive and stable.  More than eight in ten clients were satisfied with the overall service they received and were willing to recommend their licensed adviser to friends and family.

Unchanged over time, just under one in ten clients were dissatisfied with the service. Dissatisfaction remains higher among clients who used an offshore based adviser compared to those who used a New Zealand based adviser.

Over the last three years small improvements have been seen in seven adviser performance areas – primarily relating to written agreements and information provision.

Adviser performance on compliance aspects however remains middling for some areas.  For example, just 57% of applicants received a copy of the Licensed Advisers Professional Standards and just 43% knew how to make a complaint if they were unhappy with the service they received from their licensed adviser.

Also of concern (despite using a licensed adviser to assist) the overall process of applying for a visa does not appear to be getting any easier, with only just over a quarter of clients rating the process as 'very easy' or 'easy'.

Overall Satisfaction

Four percent of clients were satisfied with the overall quality of service they received from their licensed adviser in 2014/2015.  This result has remained stable over the past three surveys and remains just below the highest result of 87% achieved in 2012.

The main reasons given for being satisfied overall were similar to previous years:

This year there was a small decrease in clients saying they were satisfied overall because their adviser kept in contact/kept them updated (10%, down from 14% in 2013/2014).

Eight percent of clients were dissatisfied with the overall service.  The main reasons for being dissatisfied were similar to earlier surveys:

Recommendation

A high 87% of applicants who used a licensed adviser said they would be likely to recommend their adviser to friends or family. This result is similar to 2012/13 (85%) and 2011/12 (90%).

Adviser Performance

Applicants were asked to rate their adviser on the following areas: client service, communication, provision of information, timeliness, written agreements and cost.  Ratings for the 33 attributes measured in the survey ranged from a high of 96% to a low of 73%.

Areas where licensed advisers were rated the highest were:

Areas where performance was rated the lowest (and the only attributes to have lower than 80% satisfaction) were the same as observed in 2013/2014:

Nine attributes had higher satisfaction ratings than in 2013/2014.  A positive increasing trend over the past three years can be seen for seven performance attributes – mostly in the areas of information provision and written agreements.

Benefits of Using an Adviser

The main reasons applicants gave (from a list provided) for using a licensed adviser to assist with their application were similar to those given in 2013/2014.  The most common reasons were:

Clients were also asked (unprompted) what they felt the main benefits of using a licensed adviser were.  The most common benefits mentioned were:

Unchanged over time, more than eight in ten clients agreed that as a result of using a licensed adviser:

Service Improvement

All clients were asked (unprompted) what the one thing advisers could do to improve their service was.  Similar themes emerged in this latest survey, with the top suggestions being for advisers to:

Information Provision

Just under six in ten clients (57%) said their adviser provided them with a copy of the Licensed Advisers Professional Standards.  This is lower than the 64% in 2013/2014 who had received either a copy of the Code of Conduct or the Professional Standards.

Eighty two percent of clients (down slightly from 85% in the previous three surveys) were provided with a written agreement. 

Showing a decreasing trend over time, 43% of applicants said they knew how to make a complaint about the service they received from their licensed adviser.  Those who had actually made a complaint however, shows a small increase to 4% (up from 1% in 2013/14).

Awareness

Sources of information about how to access a licensed adviser remain similar to the 2013/14 survey.  Clients most commonly heard about their licensed adviser via friends or family (49%), from their work/employer (24%) or the internet (22%).  Less than one in ten clients (8%) heard about their licensed adviser via the online IAA register.