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Complain about a licensed immigration adviser

Find out how to complain about a licensed immigration adviser, what you can complain about and what happens after you make the complaint.

Anyone can complain about a licensed immigration adviser. You do not need to be the person who received the immigration advice.

If you make a complaint to us at the Immigration Advisers Authority:

  • there is no cost for making a complaint to us
  • it will not affect any immigration matters you may have before Immigration New Zealand
  • we cannot influence your immigration status.

What you can complain about

You can complain about a licensed immigration adviser on a number of grounds including:

  • dishonest or misleading behaviour
  • negligence
  • incompetence
  • incapacity
  • breaching the Code of Conduct.

How to check if an immigration adviser is licensed or exempt 

Check if the person in question has a licence on the online register.

You can check if they are exempt by checking our list of exempt persons.

If the person is not licensed, go to Complain about an unlicensed immigration adviser.  

When you can complain

You can complain about an immigration adviser:

  • at any time while the advice is being provided
  • after they’ve provided the immigration advice.

If the person is no longer an immigration adviser, you must make the complaint within 2 years of when they stopped being an immigration adviser. 

You do not need to be in New Zealand when you make the complaint.

How to make a complaint

Fill out and send us the complaints form to complain about a licensed immigration adviser. 

You will need to provide detailed information about your complaint, including:

  • what the complaint is about
  • supporting evidence. 

What happens after you make a complaint

When we receive and accept your complaint form, we’ll assign an investigator to your complaint.

The investigator may contact you with updates or questions about the complaint. 

After the investigation, we’ll decide to either:

  • close the complaint – we’ll send you a letter explain why
  • refer the complaint to the Immigration Advisers Complaint and Disciplinary Tribunal – if the complaint is upheld, sanctions may be imposed such as censure, fines, compensation, further training or a change to the adviser’s licence. 

Our complaints process flowchart shows what happens when we receive a complaint about a licenced adviser.

How long the complaints process takes

We aim to complete 80% of complaints against licensed immigration advisers within 95 working days of receiving them. 

This process may take longer depending on both:

  • the circumstances of the complaint
  • whether we refer the matter to the Immigration Advisers Complaint and Disciplinary Tribunal.

If we refer a complaint to the Tribunal, we have no control over timeframes. The complaint will follow the Tribunal’s processes, which could include a hearing.

Appealing your complaint outcome

If we closed your complaint against a licensed immigration adviser, you can appeal this decision to the Immigration Advisers Complaint and Disciplinary Tribunal(external link).

If we refer your complaint to the Tribunal, you cannot appeal the decision that the Tribunal makes. The only right of appeal is for the immigration adviser that the complaint is about, who may appeal against any sanctions imposed.

There may be other organisations who can deal with your complaint. For example, the Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand(external link) if the issue is about contracts.

Making an anonymous complaint

You cannot be anonymous when making a complaint. The immigration adviser will be informed that you have made a complaint about them.

If we refer your complaint to the Immigration Advisers Complaint and Disciplinary Tribunal and you do not want your name or any details identifying you published, contact the Tribunal(external link).

Withdrawing a complaint

After you make a complaint against a licensed immigration adviser, you cannot withdraw it.

We must consider your complaint and make a determination. This may include referring the complaint to the Immigration Advisers Complaint and Disciplinary Tribunal.

Contact us if you want to withdraw your complaint. We will record that you no longer support the complaint.

Trivial or inconsequential matters

We may determine that a complaint discloses only a trivial or inconsequential matter about a licensed immigration adviser and that we do not need to pursue it. This is covered in section 45(1)(c) of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007. 

When determining what is a trivial or inconsequential matter, we’ll consider:

  • the consequences (or lack thereof) of the immigration adviser’s misconduct for the complainant/visa applicant, particularly any financial loss or adverse immigration outcome
  • whether the misconduct by the immigration adviser was deliberate or through error/carelessness
  • the immigration adviser’s response to the situation that gave rise to the complaint, and whether they rectified the issue at the time
  • whether the misconduct is of a technical/administrative nature
  • whether the outcome of the matters would have been similar if the misconduct had not happened
  • any mitigating factors for the immigration adviser’s misconduct, such as health issues or matters that the immigration adviser could not have reasonably foreseen
  • previous decisions by the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal on similar misconduct
  • the length of time since the events in the complaint happened.