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February 2017 newsletter

Registrar update

Pacific communities continue to be highly represented among victims of unlicensed immigration advice. Eight of the 12 prosecutions the IAA has taken involved victims in the Tongan, Fijian and Samoan communities.

In light of this, we kick-started 2017 by launching a campaign to increase awareness in Pacific Island communities of the importance of only using licensed or exempt people when seeking New Zealand immigration advice.

Last week, I travelled to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga and promoted our message through local TV, radio and print media. I also held meetings with travel agents in each country to let them know what they can and can’t do.

At the same time, we ran radio advertisements in New Zealand and the three Pacific countries, and started a social media advertising campaign that will go for three months. The combined communications effort has been very successful, with our ads reaching more than 200,000 people and more than 15,000 extra visits to the IAA website so far. Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga have all moved into the top four countries that mostly visited the IAA website, replacing India and the United States.

As in India, we are working with Immigration New Zealand in the region and the visit was an opportunity to work better together at identifying unlicensed immigration advisers in the Pacific. 

We take unlicensed immigration advice seriously and are working proactively not only to identify and prosecute unlicensed advisers, but to increase community awareness of the risks of using unlicensed advisers to help people make better decisions when seeking immigration help.

This month, we are forming a new 2017 Reference Group and a new 2017 Qualification Steering Group. These groups will help ensure that current practitioners are informing the Authority’s work. If you haven’t been involved in one of these groups before, please consider this great opportunity to contribute your views and improve the regulation of your profession. I look forward to meeting with and working with those who participate this year.

Catherine Albiston

Registrar of Immigration Advisers

catherine albiston

Join our 2017 IAA Reference Group

We are calling for expressions of interest from offshore and New Zealand-based licensed immigration advisers to join the Authority’s 2017 Reference Group, held in Auckland.

The purpose of the Reference Group is for the Authority to hear the views of licensed advisers on matters to do with the licensing regime. Reference group members may raise any issues they wish to discuss in this forum.

We will select 10 licensed immigration advisers from around New Zealand and the world, including an NZAMI representative and an NZAIP representative. An INZ representative will also attend the meetings.

Previously, we have had at least one offshore adviser join by phone or webinar. However this has proved challenging due to time differences and poor connections, so this year we are going to take a new approach.

We would like to invite offshore advisers to submit their interest in attending one or more meetings in person, on a date that coincides with a visit you have planned to New Zealand.

The Authority will cover the New Zealand travel costs for advisers, but not any international travel costs.

Those in New Zealand need to commit to each of the five meetings on the following Wednesdays from 10.15am – 3pm.

  • Wednesday 29 March
  • Wednesday 31 May
  • Wednesday 26 July
  • Wednesday 27 September
  • Wednesday 29 November

To register your interest, please email us at info@iaa.govt.nz by 24 February 2017. In your email please tell us briefly:

  • Where you are located
  • The size of the business you work for
  • What areas of immigration you mainly work in
  • What current issues relating to the Authority’s work you are interested in
  • If you are in New Zealand, that you are available for and committed to attending each meeting
  • If you are offshore, which meetings you could attend in person.

Read what was discussed by the 2016 group

Join our 2017 Qualification Steering Group

While the initial hard work in developing the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice has been done, the ongoing success of the programme depends on it remaining current and continually improving. The Qualification Steering Group aims to ensure the programme continues to meet its objectives in our changing immigration environment.

We are seeking five licensed immigration advisers from New Zealand or offshore who would like to contribute to the ongoing development of the Graduate Diploma in 2017.

To participate, you need to commit to two full day workshops to be held in Tauranga on the following dates:

  • Friday 28 April  2017
  • Friday 8 September 2017

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology will cover the domestic travel costs for each participant, but not any international travel costs.

To register your interest, please email us at info@iaa.govt.nz by 24 February 2017. In your email please tell us briefly why you are interested in being involved in the Qualification Steering Group and what you would bring to the group.

2017 webinars

In 2017, we will run a series of free webinars that you are welcome to join.

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

Wednesday 22 February 3-5pm

This webinar will talk 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.

Please register for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

New Zealand Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct Refresher

Wednesday 22 March 3-5pm

This webinar will talk through the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct. We strongly encourage any TTMRA advisers who have not had the benefit of completing the Graduate Certificate / Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice to attend. All advisers are welcome.

Please register for this webinar here.

Work placement success stories

In semester two 2016, a number of students completed work placements as part of the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice.

Most of these students completed their work placement in their existing place of employment.

However, a couple of licensed advisers took on students who weren’t their employees.

One Christchurch-based adviser said: “It was a pleasure to work with [the tutor] to co-ordinate this, who has been great to work with and we appreciate the opportunity to have taken on [the student] on the graduate work placement.” In this case, the student has gone on to be employed by the adviser: “He exhibited the qualities we think are required for him to develop and become a great addition to our industry.”

In another case, the student has also gone on to join the company: “The work placement consisted of 8 weeks of at least 10 hours per week of actual office attendance… Our lengthy discussions provided me with a lot of insights and enabled me to reflect on many aspects of the adviser’s work as well as what might be my own approach in the future… I can highly recommend it to students and workplace mentors alike.” 

If you would like a student to complete a work placement in your office in 2017, please email Jeni Fountain jeni.fountain@toiohomai.ac.nz

Did you take on immigration appeals...?

We have previously reminded you about the specialist expertise and understanding of the law relating to appeals that is required when representing a client at the Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT).

For example, when representing a client in respect of an appeal on humanitarian grounds, an adviser should have a good understanding of the kind of matters that are important to highlight to the Tribunal.

Clause 8(a) of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct requires advisers to:

“Work within the scope of their individual knowledge and skills, or under direct supervision if a provisional licence holder, or refer the client to another professional.”

An adviser’s ability, knowledge and skill to undertake their client’s immigration matter may depend on, amongst other things:

  • their general background and level of relevant education
  • their level of experience working in the immigration advice industry
  • the types of immigration matters they have dealt with
  • their commitment to continuing professional development.

The decision about whether or not to agree to act for a client is as much an ethical one as it is a decision about risk. It is not fair to the client for an adviser to take on a matter that they cannot handle.

If you have not dealt with appeals before the IPT before, or only deal with them occasionally, or perhaps you have now dealt with a number but you are concerned about your level of competency, please consider undertaking study or coaching in this specialist area.

The following Auckland District Law Society seminar may be of interest to some of you:

Representing Refugees in the Immigration and Protection Tribunal

Date: 23 February 2017

Time: 4.00pm – 6.15pm

Attend in person (Auckland CBD) or via live stream

Representing refugees at the Immigration and Protection Tribunal is complex and demanding and these appeals require a different skill-set from other matters before the Tribunal. This seminar will provide practical guidance on how to best represent a client from initial meetings through to appearing at a hearing.

Presenters: John McBride, Barrister; Deborah Manning, Barrister | Chair: Martin Treadwell, Deputy Chair, Immigration and Protection Tribunal

For more information see: www.adls.org.nz(external link)

Read our guidance here

New IACDT Practice Notes

In December, the Ministry of Justice published two new practice notes: “An Adviser’s Guide to Proceedings before the Tribunal” and “A Complainant’s Guide to Proceedings before the Tribunal”. The Ministry has also published a range of new forms.

Read “An Adviser’s Guide to Proceedings before the Tribunal”(external link)

Read “A Complainant’s Guide to Proceedings before the Tribunal”(external link)

Forms for the Immigration Advisers Complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal(external link)

Read recent Tribunal decisions(external link)