June 2021 Newsletter
Message from Registrar
Since our last newsletter, the Immigration Advisers Authority (the Authority) has been busy with the first of our reference group meetings, and our webinars for 2021.
The minutes of the reference group meeting, held on 4 May, have been published and are now available for you all to review.
In our webinar, we introduced a new format, utilising the polls functionality to make the session more interactive for attendees. We welcome feedback on the new format and suggestions for future webinar topics. Please remember that if you are watching the recording of any of our webinars as your mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) activity, to take a screenshot of the registration page as evidence of attendance for your CPD records.
The Authority will soon be conducting a survey of licensed immigration advisers to gather information about how well we are delivering to you, our clients. Findings from the survey will help us gain a better understanding of your needs, so we can look to improve our products and services to serve you better. It also provides the opportunity for you to make suggestions for improvements.
We are really interested to hear your feedback and encourage you to take some time to complete the survey when it goes live towards the end of June.
Employment New Zealand have also provided some guidance for advisers on the subject of non-compliant employers restricted from recruiting migrant workers. Further information and website links are provided below.
Keep well and keep our standards high.
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
2021 Licensed Immigration Advisers Reference Group
On 4 May the Reference group held their first meeting for the year. The group focused on two main areas of discussions; the usefulness of the Authority’s supervision templates and possible improvements and the mandatory CPD requirement and the possible inclusion of other activities, which are not currently accepted.
The minutes of the meeting are now published and available for review.
The next Reference Group meeting will take place on 2 August 2021.
The recording of our recent live webinar, “Supervision- A practical approach” is now available to view. We have also provided a PDF version of the presentation for you to download.
If you are watching the recording as part of your mandatory CPD, remember to take a screenshot of the registration page as evidence of your attendance. You will need to include this with your CPD record.
We are also 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”.
Our next webinar is scheduled to take place on 3 August 2021.
Adviser survey - Tell us about your experiences
The Authority will soon be conducting a survey of licensed immigration advisers to help understand the level of service we are providing so that we can look at how we can better meet your needs.
This survey is a great opportunity for you to tell us about your recent experiences and thoughts on how we can improve our services. NielsenIQ, an independent research company, will be carrying out this confidential survey on behalf of the IAA and results will not be reported in a way that will allow you to be individually identified.
You will be contacted in late June with more detail about the survey and how to take part.
Message from Employment New Zealand
Non-compliant employers restricted from recruiting migrant workers
All employers are required to comply with minimum employment standards. Employers who have breached employment standards are restricted from recruiting migrant workers.
Immigration instructions mean that, as a consequence of not having complied with employment standards, employers who have received a penalty (or similar) for a breach will be viewed as non-compliant with New Zealand employment law and will face a set stand-down period from the ability to support a visa application.
A stand-down period starts when an infringement notice is issued by a Labour Inspector, a penalty is ordered by the Employment Relations Authority, or a more serious sanction is ordered by the Employment Court for a breach of employment standards.
The Immigration restrictions apply to all who support visa applications, including employers who are: supporting work visa applications and Approvals in Principle; seeking Accredited Employer status or supporting residence class visa applications based on employment; and employers who are part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.
You can visit the following webpages to find more information:
- Employers who have breached minimum employment standards(external link)
- Rules for non-compliant employers(external link)
- employment.govt.nz(external link)
The resources provided by ENZ are not affiliated with the Authority.
Following the assessment of numerous licence applications, and the feedback we have received from advisers, it has come to our attention that the possible assessment outcomes might not be properly understood by all advisers. Therefore, we have included a short summary of the different types of outcomes which you may expect to receive after your application has been assessed.
An assessment starts with an evaluation of the applicant’s fitness to hold a licence and proceeds to an assessment of whether the applicant meets the required competency standards.
The assessment process will result in one of several outcomes:
- Approval (with/ without reminder(s)/ Change in business practice conditions)
- Cascade (if applicable)
Each of these outcomes are discussed in more detail below.
If a licence application is approved in principle (AIP) (i.e. it is approved subject to payment of the immigration adviser’s levy), the applicant will be issued with an AIP letter. If concerns have been identified during the assessment process, the applicant may receive an AIP letter which contains:
- Reminder(s) or
- Change in business practice (CIBP) conditions
In some cases, the AIP letter may even be accompanied by an improvement letter.
Reminders are issued where the concerns identified are really minor, but it is nonetheless important to direct the adviser’s attention to some aspect of the Code of Conduct 2014 (the Code).
CIBP conditions are issued where the concerns identified are more serious than those which may warrant a simple reminder. The adviser will be expected to actively take steps to improve their business practice in the areas identified.
An improvement letter may accompany the AIP where numerous issues have been identified, or the required improvements must be explained in depth.
Whether or not any of the required improvements have been implemented may be checked at the adviser’s next renewal, usually via an inspection of a client file, or via an inspection of specified CIBP evidence. Failure to demonstrate improvements to the satisfaction of the Registrar may have an adverse effect on the adviser’s next renewal assessment.
What is important to remember, however, is that even where an AIP letter includes CIBP conditions, or is accompanied by an improvement letter, the outcome of the assessment is still an approval. In other words, the applicant has been assessed as meeting the minimum required competency standards to hold the licence they have applied for.
Reminders, CIBP conditions, or improvement letters, are therefore not considered punitive in nature. They are a variety of educational tools, setting out the steps that should be taken by an adviser moving forward.
Section 19(5) of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (the Act) allows the Registrar to grant a provisional licence if satisfied that for any reason supervision is required or appropriate.
There are cases where an adviser may have applied for a full licence (e.g. renewal or upgrade), but serious concerns with the applicant’s practice have been identified during the assessment process. If, following a response from the applicant, the assessor is still not satisfied that the applicant meets the competencies expected of a full licence holder, a provisional licence will be issued instead.
The purpose of granting a provisional licence is to ensure that the adviser is afforded an opportunity to improve their processes and enhance their understanding of their professional obligations, while their clients’ interests remain protected. As a provisional licence holder, the adviser will still have a licence to practice, but they will do so under the guidance and oversight of a full licence holder. The provisional licence holder will be able to upgrade to a full licence in future. However, the full licence will only be granted if the competency requirements are met.
It should be noted that a decision to grant a provisional licence, rather than a full licence, can be appealed to District Court under section 81(1)(b) of the Act.
A licence application will be refused where an applicant:
- does not meet the fitness requirements to hold a licence or
- does not meet the competency requirements to hold either a full, or a provisional licence, or
- has been issued with an approval-in-principle, but subsequently fails to pay the immigration adviser’s levy within the specified period.
The refusal will be recorded on the Register, as per section 77(2)(a)(iii) of the Act. Please note that the Registrar’s decision to refuse to grant a licence can be appealed to District Court under section 81(1)(a) of the Act.
We hope that the above summary has been useful in clarifying the various licence application outcomes.
The model supervision agreement has been revised and for ease of use, the previous included guidance document is now an individual reference document. This is to assist those that may decide not to use the model template.
In addition to revising existing templates, the Authority has also provided some additional resources to assist provisional licence holders and supervisors to meet their obligations. These are listed below:
- Model supervision agreement- May 2021
- Guidance for developing a supervision agreement
- Professional Development Plan Guidance
- Supervision minutes template- May 2021
- Supervision minutes checklist – guidance for what must be included in supervision minutes, for those that choose not to use the template
- Template: Client file list – please note this resource has not been updated
Prosecution for unlicensed immigration advice
Jing (Lydia) Zeng appeared in Christchurch District Court for sentencing on charges relating to providing immigration advice without being licensed or exempt, and for asking for or receiving a fee, which are both legal requirements under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (the Act).
Ms Zeng was sentenced to six months community detention, commencing immediately, and was ordered to repay $74,703 for providing advice in relation to entrepreneur and investment visas for New Zealand.
Zeng was the sole Director of INZ Education and Tourism Ltd (INZET) and in that role assisted with tertiary education placements and visa applications for her clients. However, Zeng has never held a license to provide immigration advice about New Zealand.
Zeng had previously been warned by the IAA in relation to the requirements of the Act, and despite repeated reminders and advice from the IAA over a long period of time, she failed to meet the requirements of the Act.
The Immigration Advisers Complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal (The Tribunal) has recently released the sanction decision in SL v Mackintosh  NZIACDT 9.
In the substantive decision of 4 March 2020, the Tribunal upheld the grounds of complaint referred by the Registrar (section 44(2)(a) of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007).
The Tribunal found that the Adviser had been “negligent in advising the complainant she could work on the interim visa” and that her behaviour to the Complainant had been dishonest and misleading as she “lied to the complainant in some communications and misled her in others”.
The Adviser was censured; directed to enrol and complete Toi-Ohomai’s LAWS 7015 paper at its next available intake in July 2021; ordered to immediately pay to the Registrar the sum of $2,000; and ordered to immediately pay to the complainant the sum of $2,150.
New decisions are appearing regularly and I encourage you to save the following link as a bookmark.