April 2019 newsletter
Tēnā koutou katoa,
The last month saw an unprecedented and devastating attack on the Muslim community in Christchurch. I know that licensed advisers through their work with migrants will feel the impact of that event deeply. What is truly impressive is the response and reaction from the New Zealand community. I genuinely hope that through the other side of this tragedy that we continue to approach supporting recent migrants in New Zealand in a compassionate and supportive way. At best the response will improve that reality for migrants.
In our field we have seen Immigration New Zealand act swiftly to ensure families of those affected were supported with advice and swift responses to their queries. There is information for this on the INZ website(external link). It was pleasing to see licensed advisers offering and promoting pro-bono advice to assist – I am truly proud of how people have responded. I wrote with a message in mid-March advising of help available and I repeat that here – if you or anyone need to talk to someone, a good first step is to call or text 1737 – see more here(external link).
We had the first meeting of 2019 for the licensed adviser reference group here at the Immigration Advisers Authority office. A record of the meeting is available on the IAA website. At the meeting we enjoyed a presentation from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (attached in the record), discussed communication plans for the IAA, held a formative discussion on a review of supervision in the licensing scheme, and also discussed licensing assessments.
As we get into April, it’s important to remember to look after yourselves as well as your clients. I am meeting with a supplier for a mental health and wellbeing webinar this week and hope to be able to provide a link to register for that webinar soon.
Keep well and keep the standards high.
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
IAA plans for mandatory CPD
The Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) requires all New Zealand licensed advisers, including those who are Registered Migration Agents in Australia, to attend one webinar run by the IAA in 2019.
We had some feedback last year that the IAA webinars could be more interactive / interesting so I have listened to that and hope to bring you a range of interesting Compulsory Professional Development CPD options in 2019.
The first such opportunity is the interactive webinar with two very well regarded guests; Peter Moses and Simon Laurent (a couple of well-known immigration law practitioners). We will be discussing a few tricky ethical questions and providing tools for people to use when they come across ethical dilemmas in the practice of immigration advice. You may count this webinar towards the IAA’s mandatory webinar requirements.
Webinar topic: Ethics considerations in the provision of immigration advice
Date and time: Wednesday 15 May 2019 at 3pm
We currently have a webinar in development on the subject of client files. As you know, we inspect client files upon renewal of licenses or when investigating complaints. This webinar aims to provide a blueprint of how to produce a quality client file that meets Code obligations, and will ultimately make everyone’s job easier..
Once we have this webinar content finalised, registrations will be made available for this as well as the mental health and wellbeing webinar, which is also under development. These can of course be streamed live with ability to interact or to watch later. We will keep you informed of webinar details as soon as they are confirmed.
You may count watching a recording of a seminar or other training session towards your CPD hours where that session includes interaction such as questions and answers. However, we do recommend that to get the most value from this activity you get together with at least one other adviser so that you can discuss the content.
IAA client survey
IAA undertake a biennial survey of clients of immigration advice. I am pleased to share results from the first wave of the 2018-2019 survey with you. A second wave will occur in July.
The survey covered applications with a decision date of 1 July – 31 December 2018, and the survey period was 12-25 February 2019.
Results are pretty stable from 2016/2017:
- Overall satisfaction with the quality of service received from the adviser is 86%
- Satisfaction with the overall experience of applying for a visa is 78% (among those who applied directly, it was 82% for the same application period).
The only statistically significant differences from the 2016/2017 survey are:
- lower proportion who didn’t know how to make a complaint;
- higher proportion who paid for adviser services; and
- an increase in those who felt effort required to apply for a visa was more than they had expected.
- lower proportion of 21-30 year olds and more 31-40 year olds in the sample;
- higher proportion of those who applied from New Zealand and a higher proportion of clients whose agent was located in New Zealand;
- lower proportion of those whose first language is English;
However, these are similar to the profile of all applicants who used advisers during the period under review.
Reading Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decisions, or discussing them in your study group, will help develop your understanding of your professional responsibilities.
The Tribunal has recently published a decision which could be of interest to licensed immigration advisers who employ or contract unlicensed staff members. In INZ (Calder) v Ahmed  NZIACDT 18(external link) the immigration adviser employed a number of unlicensed individuals that he relied heavily on to prepare documents for visa applications and to communicate with clients and INZ. The adviser did have some direct communication with clients, and claimed that his unlicensed staff only undertook clerical work. However the Tribunal stated in the decision that if any form of judgement using immigration knowledge or experience was required to select information or phrase communications, it would amount to immigration advice. The Tribunal concluded that therefore immigration applications and substantive letters to INZ should be authored by a licensed immigration adviser. Furthermore, best practice would be for advisers not to allow unlicensed staff to communicate with INZ, due to the risk of these communications falling outside of the scope of clerical work. The Tribunal also provided a useful list of activities that could be regarded as clerical work in paragraph  of the decision.
New decisions are appearing regularly and I encourage you to save the following link as a bookmark.
Read recent Tribunal decisions(external link) on the Justice website.