February 2019 Newsletter
Tēnā koutou katoa,
Welcome to the first newsletter from the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) for 2019.
It has been a hot and dry summer in my part of New Zealand, and I am quietly looking forward to some cooler weather. The heat is on work-wise at the Authority too. We are busy with the processing of licensing applications and, as those who are waiting will know, we are experiencing high demand coupled with the loss of some key people from our team late last year. We are working extra hard to process licence applications, especially where applicants are disadvantaged by the delay. I would like to thank those affected by these delays for their continued patience.
I am looking forward to a busy year at the IAA. A few key things that are on my agenda are:
- developing new marketing material to continue to raise awareness of the licensing scheme and the risks of using unlicensed advice (in particular jurisdictions of risk as well as onshore)
- looking at the role of supervision within the licensing scheme, to ensure it’s meeting the intent
- investigating whether we can try new ways of determining competence on renewal/upgrade that might be more expedient but still be just as effective.
In our complaints team we remain busy assessing complaints about some licensed advisers. Issues we continue to come across include matters with client files; written agreements and the basic requirements of the Code of Conduct. It is really important to keep good file notes when having material discussions with clients – record all details of discussions and keep files up to date. We regularly receive requests for extensions to provide client files from advisers; while we often grant extensions, we do expect to be able to get these in a timely manner. Retaining good records and keeping them up to date helps us all.
The other matter that we are seeing with concerning regularity is the issue of ‘rubber stamping’. ‘Rubber stamping’ is when a licensed adviser uses a third party (for example offshore agents or a recruiting agency) to prepare applications then send them back to the licensed advisers to sign and file. The tribunal continues to uphold complaints involving ‘rubber stamping’ and has ruled this practice unlawful. We will continue to take action when this offending is detected.
We also remain busy in the investigation of unlicensed advice. When convictions or sentencing are handed down we will continue to publicise these. The sentence handed down in November for an unlicensed education adviser made the press and international trade publications(external link). Later this month we will generate some media on the back of a sentencing involving the Pacific community.
Throughout January I have been able to get out and visit advisers, and I welcome opportunities to further engage with advisers as the year continues. I am particularly impressed by the passion and enthusiasm licensed advisers have for their clients and this field. When delivered well, licensed advice really can make a big difference in people’s lives.
Later this month I hope to have finalised the opportunities for webinars. Ideas so far include:
- ethics in the provision of immigration advice
- guidance on client files and written agreements
- risk management.
As always, I am keen for your continued feedback. Please feel free to take the opportunity at the end of this newsletter to get in touch with us. Keep well and keep cool.
 Stanimirovic v Levarko  NZIACDT 3 at , –; Calder (Immigration New Zealand) v Soni  NZIACDT 6 at , –.
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
New rules for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism
The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009(external link) (AML/CFT) came into full force on 30 June 2013.
The purpose of the AML/CFT Act is to detect and deter money laundering and the financing of terrorism, contribute to public confidence in the financial system, and maintain and enhance New Zealand’s international reputation.
This Act may capture immigration advisers that take funds in advance on behalf of clients, or those who may be involved in investment/property transactions on a client’s behalf. I have made contact with the DIA for more information and how the Act might affect licensed advisers, and I hope that in future IAA newsletters they can shed more light on this. In the meantime, if you think this might apply to you please see the DIA website(external link).
Reading Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decisions, or discussing them in your study group, will help develop your understanding of your professional responsibilities.
Some new decisions should be uploaded soon, I encourage you to save the following link as a bookmark.