April 2023 Newsletter
Message from the Registrar
Kia ora koutou
It is hard to believe we are well past the first quarter of 2023. The last few months have been busy, and we have some important announcements to share.
The first webinar for this year will take place on 31 May 2023. In preparing content for this year’s series of webinars, we analysed recent Tribunal decisions, inspection and licensing outcomes, and mid-point Migrant Survey results to identify trends of common concerns we see about advisers’ compliance with the Code of Conduct. The first webinar will focus on client communications. You will find the registration link at the end of this newsletter. To find out more about the 2022/2023 Migrant Survey, we have included some information on the survey generally, as well as the start of the next wave of surveys.
We have also recently received the outcome of a prosecution involving unlicensed advice in the Colombian community and several Tribunal decisions. We have summarised two of these Tribunal decisions in this newsletter.
Regarding compliance, we have also highlighted a recent report on charging migrants premiums for jobs. This practice is concerning, and we have shared guidance on the standards that licensed immigration advisers must meet.
Lastly, we have an update from the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology on how to provide feedback on the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice (GDNZIA).
We hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter.
Keep our standards high.
Ngā mihi nui
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
Sentencing outcome: Alvarado Molina
Mrs Karen Natalia Alvarado Molina, who faced one charge for providing immigration advice without being licensed or exempt, appeared at the Auckland District Court on 24 March 2023. Mrs Alvarado was discharged without conviction and ordered to pay the victim $1,000.
This was our first prosecution involving the Colombian community, and also the first case where the defendant was ordered to make a payment to the victim, even though the prosecution did not specifically seek such payment.
Mrs Alvarado Molina, the owner and operator of C World Ltd, is an education agent providing educational-related services to mainly international students coming to New Zealand. In making his decision, Judge Thomas considered the charge to be a serious and important one that upholds the integrity of the immigration system. However, he considered the gravity of the offending to be low. Judge Thomas further noted Mrs Alvarado Molina made no financial gain, tried to do her best, did not provide any false information to INZ, pleaded guilty, had no previous convictions and was remorseful. Judge Thomas noted that if sentenced it would result in a term of community work (which he observed she had been doing herself for years).
Judge Thomas considered that the direct and indirect consequences were “close to the gravity of the offending” but that a payment of $1,000 to the victim would reduce the gravity to a point where the consequences would be out of all proportion. Accordingly, he discharged Mrs Alvarado Molina without conviction and ordered her to pay $1,000 to the victim.
The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) has recently released the sanctions decision in EQ v McCarthy.
In the substantive decision, dated 19 December 2022, the Tribunal found that the adviser, Mr McCarthy, had breached 10 clauses of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2014. The complaint related to services provided to a client for their investor residence visa application. The Tribunal found that Mr McCarthy had failed to:
- communicate with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the client for long periods of time, citing ill health
- exercise due care in completing documents for INZ
- obtain and carry out the client’s instructions
- update the client and advise her where she could get assistance
- consider and provide a refund
- maintain the confidence and trust of the client
- follow his own complaints process
- provide his client file to the Immigration Advisers Authority
- return the client’s documents.
Mr McCarthy was censured, directed to pay to the Registrar the sum of $4,000 and to pay to the client the sum of $5,070. This was the second complaint upheld by the Tribunal.
You can read the full decisions here:
EQ v McCarthy  NZIACDT 29 (substantive decision) [PDF, 322KB](external link) — Ministry of Justice
EQ v McCarthy  NZIACDT 7 (sanctions decision) [PDF, 206KB](external link) — Ministry of Justice
New decisions are appearing regularly, and we encourage you to save the following link as a bookmark:
Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary decisions(external link) — Ministry of Justice
Visa applicant survey
Next wave during April
The third wave of the 2022/2023 financial year survey of visa applicants who have used a licensed immigration adviser is now open. It will close at the end of April 2023. The last survey for the financial year is in July 2023.
We have conducted this survey since the 2008/2009 financial year. The survey helps to understand the experience visa applicants have when receiving immigration advice from licensed immigration advisers.
If a client contacts you about the survey, please reassure them that the survey is genuine and that their participation would be greatly appreciated. If you have any further questions about the survey, contact:
Update from Te Pūkenga | Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
Opportunity to provide feedback on the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice (GDNZIA)
The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology established a GDNZIA Industry Partnership Group in 2020. The group is made up of GDNZIA programme staff, an IAA representative, an INZ representative and licensed immigration advisers. The group is a forum for Toi Ohomai to share information about the programme with industry and for industry to provide feedback on issues relating to graduate outcomes and the content and delivery of the programme.
The 2023 licensed immigration adviser members of the group are:
- Jim Ennion
- Simona Marica
- Inder Singh
- Cameron Pritchard
If you have any feedback on the GDNZIA please pass this on to one of the GDNZIA Industry Partnership Group members. Feedback can be provided to members at any time during the year. The member can then share the feedback for discussion at our next meeting.
Supervision agreement requirements
When we assess supervision arrangements submitted for approval, we come across several common issues and queries, mostly centred around developing supervision agreements. We have summarised them below in the hope that they assist prospective supervisors, as well as provisional licence holders.
Frequency of supervision meetings
Our Guidance document for developing a supervision agreement explains:
The Registrar will not normally approve an initial supervision agreement where the parties agree to meet on a monthly basis unless the Registrar is satisfied that there are adequate measures in place to ensure direct supervision is undertaken (for example, training opportunities, mentoring programmes, competency progression plan) and/or special circumstances arise.
Therefore, if you plan to hold monthly supervision meetings, it will be necessary to explain your reasons for doing so, focusing on the measures that are in place to ensure regular direct supervision will be taking place. This can be prepared in a cover letter attached to your application. The Authority will then assess whether the provided explanation is sufficient for the monthly meeting arrangement to be approved.
We strongly recommend that you have a back-up supervisor. If you have a back-up supervisor, you will not have to submit a new supervision agreement for approval when the supervision arrangement with the primary supervisor is terminated, or they are not able to provide supervision. Having a back-up supervisor already in place is crucial in cases where the primary supervisor becomes unavailable suddenly, and time is of the essence for your client(s).
If you do arrange a back-up supervisor, please include them in your supervision agreement and/or prepare a separate agreement with them. Please also ensure that they are a party to the agreement and that it is signed by them.
Lastly, if you decide to add a back-up supervisor after you are granted a provisional licence, please submit your supervision amendment request online, through the Authority’s website.
Often arrangements are made between the supervisor and the provisional licence holder to pay a percentage of the service fees as a supervision fee. The Authority must assess the arrangement in order to ensure that the fee is fair and reasonable (as per Clause 12 (b) of the Code). To do so, we require a fee schedule to be attached to the agreement to understand the exact (or at least approximate) amount of payable fees and determine whether they fall within the fair and reasonable scope for supervision fees.
Our website has an extensive amount of information around supervision requirements. The Guidance for Developing a Supervision Agreement document and Model Supervision Agreement are easily accessible and self-explanatory.
You are also welcome to watch our webinars on Supervision:
If you have further questions, please contact us:
This year's webinars will focus on non-compliance trends we have noticed emerging from recent Tribunal decisions, licensing outcomes, and responses gathered through the Migrant Survey.
Our first webinar is ‘Client Communications: Lessons from the Migrant Survey and the Tribunal’. It will take place on 31 May 2023, 3pm to 4pm NZT.
Registrations have closed - See our Webinars page for recordings: