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December 2017 newsletter

Registrar update

In 2017 we have worked hard to raise awareness in vulnerable communities around the world of the importance of only seeking New Zealand immigration advice from someone who is licensed or exempt.

We reached half a million Filipinos and half a million Indians in our recent social media campaigns as well as sending around 70,000 of them to our web resources.

We reached over 350,000 people in Pacific communities in Tonga, Fiji, Samoa as well has here in New Zealand through radio, Facebook and mainstream media and generated more than 35,000 extra visits to our website.

In South Africa, we reached over 400,000 people, with targeted online, print media, and social media advertising. Our social media campaign drove over 5,000 people to the IAA website.

We have targeted international students already here in New Zealand and thinking about ‘what next’ in two campaigns in June and November/December to make sure they check any adviser they use is licensed or exempt. In the first campaign we reached over 80,000 students and almost 2000 visited the IAA website for more information.

In August we saw the final sentencing of Alison Yang (Jenny Fan), an Auckland woman who was providing immigration advice to the Chinese community over the radio, and in November we saw the sentencing of Maria ‘Ilaisaane Valu Pome’e, who was providing immigration advice unlawfully to Tongan nationals, to 10 months home detention.

For licensed advisers, we have run a series of webinars this year to assist advisers to improve the standard of advice they are providing to their clients and to reduce complaints. Each one was attended by 200-300 advisers.

Finally, we now have almost 200 provisional licence holders and around 150 supervisors. I want to extend a special thank you to all our licensed advisers who have taken on supervision responsibilities. Together we are helping consumers get better immigration advice.

I wish you all a very happy festive season and see you again in 2018.

Catherine Albiston

Registrar of Immigration Advisers

catherine albiston

Auckland woman sentenced to 10 months home detention for unlicensed advice

Maria ‘Ilaisaane Valu-Pome’e has been sentenced to 10 months home detention and ordered to pay reparation of $6,420 for illegally providing New Zealand immigration advice in the Tongan community. The sentence came after the woman pleaded guilty to 14 charges laid by the Immigration Advisers Authority.

Read the press release

Thanks to 2017 Reference Group and Qualification Steering Group

This year the Qualification Steering Group provided refreshed case studies and scenarios to Toi Ohomai for use in the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice.

Thank you to Asoka Weerasundara, Saif Shaikh, Catherine Neazor Brady, Malia Ahokava and Jeanne Donald (Immigration Protection Tribunal) for your contributions to the Qualification Steering Group this year.

The 2017 Licensed Immigration Adviser Reference Group held its last meeting at the end of November. The group was instrumental in updating our Supervision Toolkit and in the decision to introduce a component of mandatory CPD in 2018. This year, a different offshore adviser attended each meeting (with the exception of the November meeting). This format was a success and will be retained for next year.

Thank you to Nassim Lalehzari, Carol Wright, Arun Jacob, Fahim Gul, Ava Sanchez, Timothy Malcolm, Sally Lisle, June Ranson/ Simon Moore (NZAMI), Matt Fistonich (NZAIP), Munish Sekhi (India), Vinit Joshi (Australia), and Peter Jiang (China) for your contributions to the reference group in 2017.

Read the 2017 Reference Group minutes here

Looking to upgrade your licence?

If you are coming to the end of two years on a provisional licence, you may be considering upgrading to a full licence.

Please note that this is not an automatic process, you need to apply to upgrade your licence.

A provisional licence holder may apply to upgrade to a full licence, if:

  • they hold an approved qualification that was commenced in or before February 2015 and completed within the 12 months prior to the upgrade application being lodged, or
  • they hold an approved qualification and they have held a provisional licence for two years.

A person may not apply to upgrade their licence more than three weeks before they have held a provisional licence for 24 months. The Registrar’s decision will not be issued until the person has actually  held a provisional licence for 24 months. However, the period 25 December to 15 January is not counted towards this three week period. For example, if you have held a provisional licence for two years on 15 January 2018, you can apply to upgrade your licence now.

If a provisional or limited licence holder wishes to upgrade their licence when they are due to renew their licence, and they have been asked to provide a client file for inspection as part of their renewal application, they must still provide that client file as part of their upgrade application.

You cannot apply to upgrade your licence online, you must lodge a paper application. The Authority must receive the licence application either:

  • by mail delivered by a recognised postal service
  • by prepaid courier or
  • over the counter at the office of the Authority, during normal business hours.

Read all about upgrading here

Introducing mandatory CPD

In 2015 we introduced new competency standards that allowed the Authority to require advisers to complete mandatory CPD activities as part of the advisers 20 CPD hours.

In 2018, the Immigration Advisers Authority will be requiring all licensed advisers to attend one mandatory webinar run by the IAA.

The webinar will be free and repeated at different times during the year.

The webinar will focus on an area that the Authority considers all licensed advisers could benefit from improving, based on what we see at inspections and in complaints.

The details of the mandatory webinar will be notified in this newsletter and on our website in early 2018.

Please note that the 2017 webinars are not mandatory, but may be counted towards your CPD hours. We encourage you to take a few moments to re-read our CPD Toolkit and to refresh yourself on the CPD requirements.

Read Competency Standard 7

Read our CPD Toolkit

Interested in taking on a student work placement in 2018?

Students completing the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice have the option of taking a work placement course in the second half of their studies.

The purpose of the work placement course is to give students an opportunity to observe and reflect on the professional practice of a licensed adviser and to discuss real situations with a licensed adviser. It gives them an opportunity to see first-hand the daily challenges and professional practices of a licensed adviser.

Both advisers and students who have participated so far have given very positive feedback about the experience and encouraged others to give it a go.

Work placements can only take place where a student can attend the physical premises of the licensed adviser. They cannot be done virtually.

Work placements run for 13 weeks in both semesters one and two each academic year. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 80 hours for the duration of the placement. They are also required to spend an additional 8 hours each week writing up reflections and maintaining a log-book for assessment.

Students are not to be paid for their time on work placements, unless they are an existing employee of the company, and similarly they are not expected to pay to do the work placement. The placement itself cannot be considered to be a trial period for employment purposes; there would need to be a separate employment agreement for that.

When you agree to take on a student for a work placement, an agreement is signed between yourself, the student and Toi Ohomai so everyone is clear about their role. There are specific obligations on students regarding confidentiality and intellectual property.

For all the information you need to know, check out Toi Ohomai’s Work Placement Handbook [PDF, 233 KB]

To talk to Toi Ohomai about hosting a student, contact Jeni Fountain

International student campaign now on

In late November we launched a repeat campaign targeting international students that might be graduating and looking for immigration advice.

International students studying in New Zealand might be considering ‘what next’ and looking at what visa options they or their families have in New Zealand.

Our main message to students seeking immigration advice is to check if the person is a licensed immigration adviser or exempt, such as a New Zealand lawyer, reiterating that unlawful immigration advice can cause significant stress and problems for visa applicants.

The campaign features advertisements in Sky Kiwi and and We Chat to target Chinese students as well as Facebook advertisements targeting other international students.

Watch the IAA’s new video(external link)

2017 webinars

The webinars below are now available to view on our website as a recording.

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.

Communicating with your client

This webinar goes over the key requirements you have as a New Zealand licensed immigration adviser regarding communicating with your client.

There are sound quality issues with this webinar due to network difficulties at the time of the webinar.

Conflicts of interest

This webinar goes over a New Zealand licensed immigration adviser's obligations regarding managing conflicts of interest.

The limits of New Zealand immigration advice: What can unlicensed and clerical staff do?

This webinar talked through what is immigration advice and what is clerical work. It is designed for all licensed advisers working in an environment where there are unlicensed staff or employers.

New Zealand Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct Refresher

This webinar talked through the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct.

View these webinars

Do you know what your clients want...?

In our 2016/17 migrant survey, all clients were asked, unprompted, what the one thing advisers could do to improve their service was. The top suggestions were for advisers to:

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