February 2020 Newsletter
Message from the Registrar
It’s been a busy February at the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), planning our work for the year and reflecting on where the regime is at currently.
I have really enjoyed meeting a number of licensed advisers and other stakeholders in the past couple months since I have taken on the role of acting Registrar. I am very pleased with the feedback I have received so far, as it has been very complimentary of the service provided by the IAA. Supervision of provisional licence holders is a hot topic, and I have valued the feedback which will be used for a review of the supervision arrangements in due course.
The participants for the 2020 Licensed Adviser Reference Group have been selected, and I am really looking forward to the first meeting in late March. The feedback the IAA receives from the Reference Group is invaluable as the participants have very diverse backgrounds and various levels of experience in the industry. It gives us a high level overview of the licensing regime and any potential areas for improvement.
The Immigration Advisers complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal(external link) has released a number of decisions this month on their website, and I encourage you to read them as they offer valuable information and advice on your professional obligations and risk management. The new decisions this month continue a recent trend involving advisers failing to provide clients with an adequate written agreement. As the Tribunal stated in one such decision: “…the obligation to have a client agreement is important. It provides critical information for a client, particularly concerning the adviser’s professional obligations and complaint processes. It also sets out clearly the services to be performed by the adviser and the fees. It protects both the client and the adviser”. Clause 19 of the Code of Conduct contains the information required in a written agreement.
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology have a fantastic opportunity for licensed advisers to become involved in their Graduate Diploma in NZ Immigration Advice (GDNZIA) industry partnership group. This group will discuss issues regarding the delivery of the GDNZIA programme and graduate outcomes. You will need to be quick though, as expressions of interest must be received by 13 March 2020. Further details can be found below.
Keep up the great work and professionalism.
Simon van Weeghel
Acting Registrar of Immigration Advisers
2020 Licensed Immigration Adviser Reference Group
Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in attending the 2020 Licensed Immigration Adviser Reference Group. The IAA is pleased to announce the following licensed immigration advisers who will be part of the 2020 Reference Group:
- Caren Donald (KPMG, Auckland)
- Steven Dunning (Greenstone Global, Hamilton)
- Steve Baker (Enterprise Recruitment, Christchurch)
- Hemant Kaushal (Contact New Zealand Immigration Consultants, Auckland)
- Amanda Gaskin (Ernst & Young, Wellington)
- Vanita Hurbuns (A2 NZ Immigration Limited, Auckland)
The first Reference Group will take place on 25 March 2020, and the minutes will be published on the IAA website.
Updates from Toi Ohomai
GDNZIA Industry Partnership Group
In 2020 Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology will establish a Graduate Diploma in NZ Immigration Advice (GDNZIA) industry partnership group. The group will be made up of GDNZIA programme staff, a representative from the IAA and those working in the immigration advice industry.
The group will provide a forum for industry feedback and discussion of issues relating to graduate outcomes and the content and delivery of the programme. The group will meet once or twice a year and meetings will be held online.
At this time Toi Ohomai is seeking expressions of interest from those who would like to join the industry partnership group. If you are interested in participating, please email Appley Boyd (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief outline of why you wish to join and how you can contribute. Expressions of interest must be received no later than 13 March 2020.
GDNZIA Industry Placements
If you have an employee that you would like to become licensed, they will need to complete the Graduate Diploma in NZ Immigration Advice . Each semester, Toi Ohomai reserves 25 places on the GDNZIA for people currently working in the industry.
If you would like to reserve a place for a staff member for semester two commencing on 6 July 2020, please email Appley Boyd (email@example.com) with the details. Please note the Academic and English language entry criteria for the programme still need to be met. You can review the entry criteria for the programme(external link) here.
Licence Renewal Timeliness
In order to renew your immigration advisers licence, you must submit a renewal application online on or before the expiry date of your current licence.
It is recommended that you submit your renewal application well before the expiry date, as if you miss the deadline your licence will expire. This means that you will have to submit a reapply application instead of a renewal, and you cannot give immigration advice until the IAA has approved your application.
Upgrading to Full Licence
To avoid experiencing delays when applying to upgrade to a full licence, please ensure that you provide the IAA with your Supervision Records for the past three months, including your fully completed Professional Development Plan signed off by your supervisor (as detailed within your Supervision Agreement). You may also upload your Supervision Records as part of your 20 hours of acceptable continuing professional development activities.
You cannot submit an upgrade application more than three weeks prior to your licence expiry date. If you are intending to submit an upgrade application, please do not send through a renewal application as well.
It may be useful to include reflections from you and your supervisor with your upgrade application. This could include matters such as how you and your supervisor complied with the supervision agreement, feedback regarding the supervision scheme as a whole, the challenges you faced whilst practising under supervision, and your professional development over the past 24 months.
The IAA is intending to update the upgrade application forms to reflect the above.
As part of the mandatory continuing professional development, all licensed immigration advisers must attend at least one webinar during their annual licensing period.
The IAA is always looking to improve our webinars and we are keen to hear what topics you would like to see in future webinars.
Please send any feedback or ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Feedback-Webinar”.
The Immigration Advisers Complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal has recently released decisions which commented on the standard of work expected of licensed immigration advisers, and what to do if that standard cannot be met.
In GQ v Ramos  NZIACDT 8, the Tribunal stated: “…[Counsel] is correct that the standard of work of a professional adviser mandated by the Code is not “excellence”, but nor is it as low as “so poor, as to fall below the minimum standards”. The touchstone is “reasonable”. While a professional person will strive for excellence, the minimum quality of work expected of a licensed immigration adviser is that of a reasonable professional who is knowledgeable and skilled in immigration matters. That is what licensed advisers are holding themselves out to achieve”.
In TI(G)M v Hanning  NZIACDT 1, the Tribunal stated: “…[the adviser] says she was overworked at the time, but that is not a defence or adequate justification for her failures in representing the complainant. A professional person is expected to regulate his or her own workload in order to render a professional service to all clients. It is not easy to turn work away but this must be done rather than to perform inadequately… [the adviser] also notes in her explanation to the Authority that she had poor health at the time… If her condition was truly debilitating and prolonged, she should have declined work or made other arrangements for her clients to be properly represented”.
You can read recent decisions on the Tribunal’s website.(external link) New decisions are appearing regularly and you are encouraged to save the link as a bookmark.