March 2017 newsletter
This month, I reached out to around 50 key industry organisations and chambers of commerce across New Zealand with an invitation to publish an article on what employers and recruiters need to know about providing immigration advice. I also offered to speak at events to provide more information on what employers and recruiters can and can’t do without a licence. This is part of a campaign to educate employers and recruiters that if they wish to provide immigration advice, they need to work with a licensed immigration adviser or an exempt person.
Our social media campaign targeting Fiji, Samoa, Tonga as well as Pacific Island communities in New Zealand is still delivering great results with our ads reaching more than 350,000 people and more than 25,000 extra visits to the IAA website so far. We will run a third and final round of adverts in March to help these communities have a better understanding of where to turn to for reliable New Zealand immigration advice.
We had a high level of interest in February’s webinar on what unlicensed staff can do. I reiterate my apology to those who had registered and were not able to join. A recording of the webinar is now available on our website and I have scheduled a repeat of this in April which you can register for below.
Thank you to all of you who put your name forward for the 2017 Reference Group and 2017 Qualification Steering Group. We had a great range of people volunteering this year. Read on to see who will form these groups. I look forward to working with you all this year.
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
2017 IAA Reference Group
The licensed advisers who will make up the 2017 Reference Group are:
Nassim Lalehzari, Carol Wright, Arun Jacob, Fahim Gul, Paola Sanchez, Timothy Malcolm, Sally Lisle, June Ranson/ Simon Moore (NZAMI), and Matt Fistonich (NZAIP).
We will also have a different offshore licensed adviser attending each meeting to bring an offshore perspective. These advisers include Karen Phillips (UK), Adwin Town (Australia), Vinit Joshi (Australia), Peter Jiang (China).
There is still a vacancy available for an offshore adviser to attend our first meeting of the year on 29 March. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 so we can continue to improve our service.
We are looking forward to the discussions this year’s group brings.
2017 Qualification Steering Group
In 2017, the Qualification Steering Group will comprise:
Asoka Weerasundara, Saif Shaikh, Catherine Neazor Brady, Malia Ahokava and Jeanne Donald (Immigration Protection Tribunal).
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.
In 2017, we will run a series of free webinars that you are welcome to join.
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.
The limits of New Zealand immigration advice: What can unlicensed and clerical staff do?
Wednesday 12 April 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. This is a repeat of the same webinar run in February.
Please register for this webinar here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
2017 Consumer Survey
The Authority has run surveys of clients of licensed immigration advisers since 2012. The purpose of the survey is to measure the performance of licensed immigration advisers and help us to see the impact of licensing over time. The survey results are also useful for licensed advisers to identify common areas of concern for clients that they may wish to improve.
Previously we have run these surveys annually. Following consistently positive results overall, we are now running these surveys every two years.
The Authority commissions an independent research company to conduct the survey, which is emailed to visa applicants who have used a licensed adviser and whose email address is recorded by INZ.
This year’s survey is now underway. The survey will be completed in June 2017 and we will publish the results by August 2017.
What happens when the unexpected happens?
What can you do if you find that you are unable to undertake work on behalf of clients due to unforeseen health or other circumstances?
Advisers have an obligation to carry out agreed services in a timely manner and to adhere to all their obligations under the Code of Conduct, including clause 28. It is important to remember that things can go wrong for a client if an adviser is out of action, and advisers can put plans in place to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Advisers may be involved in a sudden accident that puts them out of action for some time, they may face a health matter that impacts on their ability to manage their work load, they may be in a serious natural disaster, and they may also die unexpectedly.
It is helpful for advisers to think about these kinds of situations and put plans in place to ensure clients are supported should any such event occur.
One thing to consider is identifying another licensed adviser who you agree will take over your clients in certain circumstances or if you take annual or personal leave. To facilitate a straightforward transfer, you could even provide for this in your written agreements.
It is also important to consider how you are managing if you have health concerns that are impacting on your ability to do your job. Seek help, or reduce your work load earlier rather than later.
Provisional licence holders have to consider what they will do if their supervisor is unwell and unable to supervise them. We strongly recommend that provisional licence holders have a back-up supervisor available so that they can continue to provide immigration advice if their supervision is unavailable for any reason.
There have been a number of complaints against licensed advisers for failing to deliver agreed services and fulfil obligations under the Code of Conduct where the adviser has argued ill-health or other unforeseen circumstances in defence. In each of these cases, the circumstances are evaluated by the Tribunal on their individual merits.
Here are two examples where ill-health was factored into the decision:
Did you know...?
Sometimes new advisers ask us what level of fees they should be charging. There’s lots of great information for small businesses at business.govt.nz, including a charge-out rate calculator.
Reading Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decisions will help develop your understanding of the standards expected of licensed immigration advisers.
Here are some of tips for searching for decisions on the Ministry of Justice’s website:
- When entering terms in the keyword search box, the search function will only pick up on words from the titles of decisions.
- If you enter the exact title of a decision in the keyword search box, the decision you are searching for will appear as the first decision in a list.
- You can also enter just one of the names in the title.
- It is case sensitive, so will only pick up on names if you put in the correct capital letter.