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December 2022 Newsletter

Message from the Registrar

Kia ora koutou

With the full re-opening of New Zealand’s borders, this has been a busy and sometimes challenging year for the immigration advisers’ industry. However, I hope that you will find some time to enjoy a well-deserved break during the festive season.

Traditionally, the December-January period is a peak time for the processing of initial and upgrade licence applications. To ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible, we have included some guidelines and reminders from our licensing team on how to prepare a decision-ready licence application. If you are a supervisor, please bring the information to the attention of any provisional licence holders you may be supervising.

In addition, if you are in a position to offer a work placement to a student of the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice, please see the message below from the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology for further information. 

The Authority continues in its efforts to ensure that consumers of immigration advice remain protected. To this end, the periodic survey of visa applicants who have received immigration advice, has continued to be a useful and informative initiative. The survey helps us monitor and regulate licensed adviser performance, but it also assists us in developing tools to educate licensed advisers and raise awareness of common issues. The second wave of the 2022/2023 financial year survey will commence mid-January 2023. Please read on for more information.

This is the final newsletter for 2022. Please keep in mind that the Authority will be closed for a number of days over Christmas and New Year’s Day. You can find more information about the shut-down period below.

We hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter.

Keep our standards high.

Ngā mihi nui

Duncan Connor

Registrar of Immigration Advisers

portrait duncan connor

Authority closure dates

The last day of business for the Authority this year will be Friday 23 December 2022 and it will reopen on Wednesday 4 January 2023.

The statutory shut-down period, per section 5 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007, is from 24 December 2022 until 15 January 2023. Any online or paper-based applications submitted during this time will be treated as being received on Monday 16 January 2023. This does not affect online fast track renewal applications.

Please refer to your renewal notice to confirm your current licence expiry date. To avoid your licence being recorded as expired on the public register, please ensure that you submit your renewal applications on time.

Update from Toi Ohomai

Are you available to offer a Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice student a work placement?

Students who have commenced 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. 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 will run for 13 weeks in semester one and two during 2023. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 80 hours for the duration of the placement. 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.

If you are interested in offering a student a work placement in 2023, please contact Appley Boyd


Licensing matters

Decision-ready licence applications

The licensing team is currently working through a large volume of initial and upgrade applications. We have identified some common mistakes, which result in unnecessary delays. To avoid seeing these mistakes in future, and to ensure the smooth processing of applications during this busy period, we would like to bring the following to your attention:

Initial applications

The requirements for completing an initial licence application are listed in our Licensing Toolkit. Please read through them carefully.

Despite this information, we continue to see the following mistakes:

  • Applications are submitted before the applicant has actually completed their entry course or qualification OR
  • Cases where the applicant completed the entry course (courses 1-4 of the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice) more than 12 months ago and has failed to subsequently complete a Refresher Course;
  • Failure to declare all names on the application form; and/or providing a criminal history record/police clearance certificate which does not reflect all names (including aliases);
  • Uploading photographs, which do not meet the requirements specified in the Licensing Toolkit;
  • Submitting applications without having obtained a criminal history record/police clearance certificate from all required countries.
  • Submitting non-compliant supervision agreements.

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential problems, simply some of the more common ones we continue to encounter. To assist prospective applicants, we have developed a detailed checklist:

Am I ready to apply for an initial provisional immigration adviser’s licence? - checklist [PDF, 137 KB]

We strongly recommend that you self-assess the readiness of your application before you submit the application to us.

Guidance on drafting compliant supervision agreements can be found in the Supervision Toolkit on our website. Please see:

Model supervision agreement [DOC, 112 KB]

Guidance for developing a Supervision Agreement [PDF, 551 KB]

Professional Development Plan Guidance Document [PDF, 544 KB]

Upgrade applications

Upgrade application requirements are detailed in our Licensing Toolkit. Form 201 also contains a checklist and we encourage you to check your documents against it before you send your application to the Authority.

Most commonly, issues which cause delays include the following:

  • Failure to declare all names (including aliases) and/or secondary businesses;
  • Failure to provide a certified copy of certificate and transcript;
  • Failure to provide reflection letters from all supervisors who have overseen the applicant’s work;
  • Submitting a CPD Plan and record without attaching evidence of attendance.
  • Failure to provide complete supervision records.

There also appears to be some confusion as to what we mean by ‘supervision records’.

Please note that supervision records include:

  1. The supervision agreement, as approved by the Registrar. If you have entered into more than one supervision arrangement during your period on a provisional licence, you must submit all relevant supervision agreements with your upgrade application.
  2. A list of client files for which the supervisor is providing direct supervision.
  3. The provisional licence holder’s professional development plan (PDP) and record. The PDP must be signed off by the relevant supervisor(s).
  4. Minutes of supervision meetings. Supervision meetings must be held as often as stipulated in the approved supervision agreement. Please note that Clauses 12(c) and 13(a) of the Code of Conduct require a provisional licence holder and their supervisor (respectively) to act in accordance with their supervision agreement as approved by the Registrar. This includes holding meetings as per the provisions of your supervision agreement and keeping records thereof.

For further guidance, please visit the ‘Keeping records’ section of the Supervision Toolkit:

Keeping records

Tribunal decision

The Immigration Advisers Complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal has recently released the sanctions decision for DA v Ji. In the substantive decision of 20 September 2022, the Tribunal upheld the complaint finding that the licensed immigration adviser Yan (Ryan) Ji had breached multiple clauses of the Code of Conduct by failing to disclose in writing to the Complainant or obtain his written consent to a conflict of interest, and failed to maintain a client file with copies of all written and oral communication with the Complainant. Mr Ji was cautioned, ordered to pay a penalty of $2,000 and prevented from reapplying for a licence for two years. 

This was Mr Ji’s fifth appearance in front of the Tribunal, and the Tribunal noted “Mr Ji has an appalling disciplinary record, with 22 breaches of the Code having been upheld in relation to 10 clients. His misconduct spans a long period, from about September 2014 until June 2020… The public need to be protected from him”.

New decisions are appearing regularly and we encourage you to save the following link as a bookmark.

Read recent Tribunal decisions(external link) – Ministry of Justice

Visa applicant survey

Next wave to begin mid-January

The second wave of the 2022/2023 financial year survey of visa applicants who have used a licensed immigration adviser will commence mid-January 2023. Further surveys will be conducted in April and July 2023.

This survey has been conducted since the 2008/2009 financial year. The survey is undertaken to understand the experience visa applicants have when receiving immigration advice from licensed immigration advisers.

The results for the 2020/2021 survey

The survey is managed by Gravitas OPG (an independent research company) on behalf of the Immigration Advisers Authority. The survey is undertaken using an online methodology.  A random sample of 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.

If you are contacted by a client 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, you may contact MBIEresearch.survey@mbie.govt.nz