The Authority assesses and reviews each compliance issue and decides what enforcement tools to use. The decision takes into account the degree of harm associated with the non-compliance and principles outlined above. The enforcement tools available are set out below.
The Authority uses its website, www.iaa.govt.nz, and publications to make advisers aware of their obligations so that they understand better how to comply. Some publications are for migrants, so they understand the need to seek immigration advice only from those lawfully able to give it, and to raise awareness of what to expect from an adviser.
Where the Authority is aware of specific non-compliance issues, it may hold targeted workshops to encourage compliance and clarify expectations. For example, the Authority has run workshops to encourage unlicensed employees to apply for provisional licences and to help advisers better understand the code of conduct.
The Authority may refuse to renew an adviser’s licence if the adviser does not meet the required competency standards. The Authority uses the renewals assessment process used to target specific problems, which are emerging or where there is a known compliance issue.
Where the Registrar believes there are grounds for complaint against a licensed adviser he may refer an own motion complaint to the Tribunal as per Section 46 of the Act. The Authority will investigate an own-motion complaint and the Tribunal will hear it in the same way as all other complaints.
The Authority will directly contact individuals in breach of the Act to give them an opportunity to explain their situation and to gain an understanding of how to comply with the Act before deciding whether to take stronger enforcement action.
The Authority uses warning or information letters to inform, change behaviour and/or deter individuals from repeat or new non-compliant behaviour.
Where there is reason to suspect non-compliance, any person authorized by the Registrar may enter premises and obtain information. See sections 56-62 of the Act for more detail.
Anyone who has committed an offence under the Act may be liable for prosecution. The Authority will initiate prosecutions against those who seriously breach the Act with a high degree of harm. Taking prosecutions may deter others from similar non-compliant behaviour.