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2017 Migrant survey results

Survey of New Zealand visa applicants who have used an Immigration Adviser 2016/2017. Conducted for the Immigration Advisers Authority by Premium Research.


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 recorded by Immigration New Zealand as having used a licensed adviser (and with a personal email addresses on record) are invited to participate.  The questionnaire is provided in English and Simplified Chinese.

The document below provides a summary of the key findings of the surveys conducted in the 2016/2017 financial year (based on visa applications decided between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017). 


The 2016/2017 survey results show satisfaction with the service provided by licensed advisers remains high and stable over time.  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.

This year’s survey shows an increase in satisfaction among clients who used an adviser located offshore, bringing satisfaction in line with clients who use an NZ adviser for the first time.

Positively, dissatisfaction remains low, with less than one in ten dissatisfied with the overall service they received.  Primary reasons for dissatisfaction were because the process was too slow, the adviser was not knowledgeable and the cost was too high.

Adviser performance measures remain high, but do show a small drop (of 4% or less) in ratings from 2014/15 for 12 of the 34 measures.  Just one measure shows an increase.

Adviser performance on compliance aspects remains middling and has slipped since 2014/15.  Just 42% of clients said they were aware of how to make a complaint and just over half received a copy of the Licensed Advisers Professional Standards. 

Overall the visa application process remains somewhat difficult for many clients, with a quarter saying the effort required was more than they expected.  The key areas of difficulty continue to be the amount of documentation required and the overall perceived complexity of the process.

Overall Satisfaction

85% of clients were satisfied with the overall quality of service they received from their licensed adviser in 2016/2017.  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:

  • A good, helpful service was provided (46%)
  • The adviser was professional/honest (27%)
  • A fast/timely service was provided (21%).

6% of clients were dissatisfied with the overall service.  The main reasons for being dissatisfied were also similar to earlier surveys:

  • A poor/unhelpful service was provided (6%)
  • It was a slow/lengthy process (5%)
  • The adviser was not knowledgeable/experienced (5%)
  • The cost of services was expensive (5%).

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 34 attributes measured in the survey ranged from a high of 94% to a low of 74%.

Areas where licensed advisers were rated the highest were:

  • Asking clients to confirm the terms of the agreement in writing (94% of clients rated advisers as performing 'very well/well' in this area)
  • Being respectful of clients’ culture (92%)
  • Providing an agreement with a full description of the services (92%).

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

  • Explaining the refund policy (74% rated advisers as performing ‘very well/well’)
  • Providing services for a reasonable cost (78%).

Just one attribute had a higher satisfaction rating than in 2014/2015 (making it clear at the outset how much services are likely to cost).  Twelve attributes were rated lower than in 2014/2015 but these decreases were small (4% or less).

Benefits of Using an Adviser

The top five reasons applicants gave (from a list provided) for using a licensed adviser to assist with their application were the same as those given in 2014/2015.  The most common reasons were:

  • I prefer to use professional services (39%)
  • I wanted to have the best chance of success (29%)
  • Family/friends recommended it (17%). 

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

  • Knowledge/experience/advice (44%)
  • Professional, honest service (23% - with this measure showing an increasing trend over time)
  • Easy/hassle-free (22%).

Showing little change at the ‘total agree’ level, more than eight in ten clients agreed that as a result of using a licensed adviser:

  • Their impression of New Zealand as a migration destination was positive (88% agreement)
  • Their interests as a consumer were protected (86%)
  • They had a better chance of having a successful visa application (83%).

However, the proportion of clients ‘strongly agreeing’ with these statements shows a decrease for all three statements from 2014/2015.

Service Improvement

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

  • Explain clearly/give detailed information (12%)
  • Provide good, helpful, friendly service overall (12%)
  • Keep in contact/keep me informed (12%).

Information Provision

Just over half of clients (55%) said their adviser provided them with a copy of the Licensed Advisers Professional Standards. This result shows a decreasing trend over the past three surveys (down from 64% in 2013/2014).

85% percent of clients (up slightly from 82% in 2014/2015, but in line with earlier survey results) were provided with a written agreement.

Continuing to show a decreasing trend over time, just 42% 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 is in line with 2014/2015 results (4%).