July 2020 Newsletter
Message from the Registrar
Tēnā koutou katoa,
I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the additional freedom of Alert Level 1. I have really relished being able to catch up in-person with work and industry colleagues again.
The Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) team returned to the office full time with the change to Alert Level 1 and the public counter was reopened, so all of our services are now running at full capacity again. Thank you for your patience over the past couple of months whilst we were working remotely.
We will be resuming our webinars shortly using new software which will allow us to continue to provide these valuable resources even if there are further disruptions. If you have had problems fulfilling your continuing professional development (CPD) requirements due to the webinar delays or COVID-19, then have a look at the update on the IAA website as we may be able to accept fewer CPD hours in certain situations.
The number of licensed immigration advisers has remained relatively steady over the past few months. In January 2020 there were 1,161 licensed immigration advisers, and as at 17 June 2020 there were 1,187.
The Immigration Advisers Complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal has been busy recently, and a number of new decisions have been published on the Tribunal’s website(external link). These decisions are valuable learning tools, and I encourage you to read and discuss them with your peers, as increased awareness of your professional obligations will help to prevent and address complaints from clients.
The IAA has also had a successful prosecution for unlicensed immigration advice given by the director of an immigration company. See below for further details
Remember to continue being kind to each other during what is still a challenging time for many, and as always, keep up the great work and professionalism.
Simon van Weeghel
Acting Registrar of Immigration Advisers
Prosecution for unlicensed immigration advice
Auckland businessman Peter Woodberg has been sentenced to six months community detention, 12 months supervision and ordered to pay $5600 reparation to victims, following his guilty plea to three representative charges laid by the IAA for providing immigration advice to migrants without being licensed or exempt.
Mr Woodberg is the director of North Shore Immigration Services (NSIS), which has employed a number of licensed immigration advisers over the years. However, Mr Woodberg has never held a licence to provide immigration advice.
The charges related to advice on visitor and work visa applications. Between 2015 and 2017, Mr Woodberg travelled with his wife to South Africa to present seminars promoting New Zealand as a migrant destination.
It was through these seminars that Mr Woodberg met vulnerable migrants hoping to live and work in New Zealand. He told potential migrants that he had helped several people with their visas and he knew immigration processes and regulations. He also told some of them to lie to border authorities by saying they were only travelling to New Zealand for a holiday, when in reality they were seeking work here.
2020 Licensed Immigration Adviser Reference Group
Due to the reduction in domestic travel options and the restrictions during the different COVID-19 alert levels, the scheduled Reference Group gatherings at the IAA office were cancelled. The Reference Group will now meet virtually and have shorter, more frequent sessions. Each session will focus on a particular topic, and the minutes will be published in the news section of the IAA website.
New FAQs section on website
The IAA team have been working hard on a new FAQs section on our website, which covers a range of general and licensing matters for advisers. We hope to make this a very useful go-to resource for licensed advisers that will reduce the need to contact the IAA for common queries. The FAQs will be updated regularly as we identify further trends in queries we receive.
Reminders for licensing and investigations matters
The IAA would like to remind supervisors they must sign off their provisional licence holder’s Professional Development Plans (PDP) when learning needs have been achieved.PDP’s are contained in supervision agreements, and are an important part of the IAA’s assessment during licence upgrade applications. Failing to sign the PDP causes delays as the IAA has to confirm with the supervisor and the provisional licence holder that the learning needs have been achieved.
Client file timeliness
The IAA would like to remind advisers to provide client files for licensing inspections and complaint investigations by the due date specified in request letters. Delays in providing the files can have a significant impact on the time and resources taken to complete investigations and licensing processes. The IAA’s requests for client files are made pursuant to s57 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (the Act), and failing to comply may constitute an offence under s69 of the Act and/or a breach of clause 26(e) of the Code of Conduct. Going forward, requests for extensions to the due date will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
As part of mandatory continuing professional development, all licensed immigration advisers must attend at least one webinar during their annual licensing period.
After unexpected delays due to COVID-19 we are pleased to announce that the first webinar for this year will take place on Wednesday 15 July 2020 from 3:00pm - 4:00pm (NZ time). The topic will be the IAA complaints investigation process.
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 recently suspended an adviser’s licence in decision NJUM v Vole  NZIACDT 22. The Tribunal found that the adviser had been dishonest and breached the Code of Conduct, including concealing a client’s marriage from Immigration New Zealand.
The Tribunal stated in the decision “…Honesty goes to the very heart of being professional. Indeed, the integrity of the New Zealand immigration regime and public confidence in it relies on the accuracy of the information provided to Immigration New Zealand. It is not just the honesty of visa applicants that the agency relies on. It also relies on the competence and honesty of advisers who have an important role in upholding the integrity of the immigration system…”.