November 2021 Newsletter
Message from Registrar
Kia ora koutou
It is now 10 weeks since the country first went into Alert Level 4, and the Auckland and Waikato regions remain at Alert Level 3. Regardless of which alert level you are in, I know these are challenging times. Remember to take care of yourselves and other advisers.
Check out the Government’s COVID-19 website to keep up to date with the latest on Covid-19, and find information about getting financial support and operating a business during the various alert levels. This website also includes information about the recently announced the COVID-19 Protection Framework, which is the next stage of the COVID-19 response plan to provide a pathway out of lockdown.
This month included mental health awareness week. While the week has come and gone, mental health is important every day of the year. I encourage you to refer to the resources provided in this newsletter and use them if you need help.
At our our last Reference Group meeting we discussed how managing clients has changed with living under Covid-19 restrictions. The members talked about experiences they have had and suggested ways of dealing with specific issues. You can read a compilation of these suggestions below.
Kia kaha, keep well, and keep our standards high.
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
2021 Licensed Immigration Advisers Reference Group
The last reference group meeting for this year was held on 4 October 2021. The meeting minutes have been published on our website and can be accessed here:
We would like to thank our Reference Group members for their participation. We have held meaningful discussions, during which we have benefitted from our members’ expertise and feedback on the early development of several projects.
We will keep the industry informed of any future planned collaboration initiatives of a similar nature.
CPD verification records
We have noticed that many advisers are providing incomplete continuing professional development (CPD) records with their upgrade and renewal applications. Many are failing to include evidence of attendance. This results in avoidable processing delays.
What must be included in an acceptable CPD plan and record is outlined below:
- a description of your learning needs
- a description of what you will do to achieve each learning need
- a detailed description of each activity you have undertaken to meet your learning needs
- the date each activity was completed
- reflections on each activity
- documentation showing your attendance at each activity
- the number of CPD hours you completed
As stated in the CPD Toolkit, in order to be acceptable, all CPD activities must be verifiable by documentation. The kind of documentation you must provide in order to prove that you have participated in a CPD activity will depend on the type of activity you have undertaken. Currently, there are four general categories of CPD activities:
- giving or receiving training
- giving or receiving mentoring or supervision
- contributing to relevant industry bodies or consultation processes
- facilitating or participating in study groups
The verification records required for each type of activity are described in the CPD Toolkit. We encourage you to revisit this on our website if you remain unsure about the records you are required to keep and provide for inspection.
We would like to draw your attention to the mandatory CPD requirements. Competency Standard 7 provides the following performance indicator:
2. Advisers must complete at least 20 hours of acceptable professional development activities, including any mandatory activities, during each 12 month licensing period. Acceptable and mandatory professional development activities are those notified on the Immigration Advisers Authority’s website.
The CPD Toolkit states that it is mandatory to attend one webinar run by the Authority during each licensing period. However, many advisers are either failing to attend a mandatory webinar or failing to note it in their CPD records.
We emphasise that it is the adviser’s responsibility to keep a record of webinar attendance and provide evidence of attendance to the Authority. In this regard, please note:
- If you are attending a live IAA webinar, you will receive a confirmation email. Please keep this email and upload it as evidence of your attendance with your CPD records.
- If you are viewing a webinar recording, you will be required to register with your name and email address. Please take a screenshot of your completed registration page for your CPD records before you click “submit”. Please keep this screenshot as evidence of your attendance.
Please do not omit this mandatory activity from your CPD record.
For further information, visit our website:
2021 Migrant survey
Between January and July in 2021 GravitasOPG conducted a survey on behalf of the Authority. The purpose was to monitor licensed adviser performance and provide information to assist the Authority regulate and support licensed advisers. The survey was voluntary and sent to clients that sought the assistance of a licensed adviser with their New Zealand immigration matter. All responses provided to the Authority were anonymous.
The Authority conducts these surveys every two years. You can view the 2019 survey results on our website.
A summary of the 2021 survey results will be published mid-November in the News section of our website. We encourage you to have a look at these results, as they provide insight into what your clients are seeking from their adviser/client relationship.
Managing clients during Covid – a discussion on best practice
At the recent Reference Group on 4 October 2021 we discussed how managing clients has changed during Covid-19 and lockdowns. The following is advice for advisers from advisers.
After each Government announcement, you may receive an influx of queries from clients asking how upcoming changes will affect them. One way of managing this is to proactively send out correspondence to clients. This correspondence should factually outline what the announcement is/was about and set out how it may affect clients.
In the present environment there is a lot of information being circulated by different sources. Ensure your communication with clients is accurate and well thought out. While it is tempting to respond to queries from clients as soon as you receive them, it is important to ensure you take the time to provide accurate information.
Don’t be afraid of reaching out to other advisers. It is OK to clarify points with other advisers, and bounce ideas off each other.
Be prepared to adapt
Client meetings may look quite different now. Rather than one-on-one meetings in an office, you may find yourself on a video call with a client’s whole family. This has benefits, such as when one family member can act as a translator. However, this environment may not be as controlled as you’re used to. Watch out for topics the client may not want to discuss in front of others, and follow up with them privately if necessary.
Be kind to yourself and others
Everyone needs to look after themselves and others, and practice self-care. Times may be difficult for clients at the moment, and you might find yourself fatigued from their stress. Check in on your team and ask people how they are doing. Check in on yourself and watch out for signs of burn-out.
Putting time aside to spend with your family or joining a cell group could help to reduce any feelings of isolation.
There are a range of resources and services available in New Zealand that offer support and help. We have listed some of these resources for you below.
- The Mental Health Foundation provides a list of some of the services available in New Zealand that offer support, information and help:
- The Ministry of Health’s list of mental health services:
- Asian Family Services has a helpline that is funded by the Ministry of Health to help our Asian communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Asian Helpline is available Monday to Friday between 9am-8pm. They have operators who can speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Hindi. They are currently providing the following:
- Counselling support to distressed clients impacted by COVID-19, which can be accessed by calling our Helpline.
- Counselling is provided using a variety of methods, including face-to-face counselling, over the phone counselling, or via video calls, text or online messaging.
- Translating official COVID-19 related resources and sharing these resources with the Asian community.
- https://www.asianfamilyservices.nz/services/(external link)
- Shakti is an organisation for migrants or refugee women living with family violence.
The Immigration Advisers Complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal (The Tribunal) has recently released sanctions decision for CL v Khetarpal,  NZIACDT 23.
In the substantive decision of 10 August 2021, the Tribunal upheld the complaint finding that Ms Khetarpal was dishonest by failing to advise the Complainant of the visa decline letter, denying the visa had been declined, and falsely advising that the s 61 request was automatic. Her advice to the Complainant not to speak to Immigration New Zealand was part of this deception. The Tribunal found Ms Khetarpal was further dishonest in preparing the Complainant’s husband’s statement and then mistranslating it to him. She then relied on the statement in support of the s 61 request and Ministerial requests to falsely contend to Immigration New Zealand that certain documents had been produced, when they had not. Additionally, Ms Khetarpal was found to have breached numerous clauses of the Code of Conduct relating to her professional practice.
In paragraph  of the sanction decision, the Tribunal stated:
Ms Khetarpal has a sustained history of serious misconduct. Her deception of her clients is systemic and her professional transgressions are widespread. This is now aggravated by a contempt for the disciplinary process. She has not demonstrated remorse. There is no evidence she has learned any lesson from all these complaints against her. Ms Khetarpal is unfit to be a member of the profession. Vulnerable immigrants must be protected from her.
Ms Khetarpal was censured, prevented from reapplying for any license for two years, ordered to immediately pay to the Registrar $7,000, and pay to the complainant $18,886.81.
New decisions are appearing regularly and I encourage you to save the following link as a bookmark.
Read recent Tribunal decisions(external link) – Justice website