October 2016 newsletter
Last month I noted that advisers need to take care to assure themselves that they are fulfilling all of their Code obligations in regard to student visa applicants, particularly when working with offshore exempt staff or agents. In today’s newsletter, we talk about how important it is that you are very clear with both Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and your clients who the client’s representative is - whether it is you as a licensed adviser, or an exempt staff member. It cannot be both.
Here at the Authority we are working hard to identify the best ways to increase consumer awareness of licensed immigration advisers. In September we started a new Facebook campaign in India and Sri Lanka directing people to the register of licensed advisers. We also had a successful Facebook post this month that reached 18,000 people in New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.
Many of you have asked about what a fair and reasonable supervision fee is, so this newsletter includes some guidance. Our Supervision Toolkit has also been updated with this information.
Registrar of Immigration Advisers
Are you offshore and have exempt staff dealing with student visas?
It is important that clients are clear as to whether they are getting the service of a licensed adviser with all of the protections that brings.
If you are licensed and have staff working for your company who are exempt when dealing with student visas, you need to take care and follow these tips:
- Firstly, you need to think about your client’s expectations. Are they coming to your company because you are licensed? Is your advertising centred on promoting your licensed adviser status, and that clients will get better advice and service because you are licensed? Are clients led to believe they will be getting the service of a licensed adviser? If this is the case, you need to make sure that you, as the licensed adviser, are dealing with them and not delegating this work to an exempt staff member.
- If you have clients coming to your offices for services relating to student visas and exempt staff members are dealing with them, as the licensed adviser, you need to make sure the client is very clear they are not getting the services of a licensed adviser or any protections of the licensing regime.
- When the student visa application is submitted to Immigration New Zealand, it needs to be very clear if it is being submitted by the licensed adviser, or the exempt person. It cannot be both. For example, the licensed adviser shouldn’t be writing the cover letter when the exempt staff member is declared as the representative in Section B3.
- An application cannot be submitted in the company’s name alone. It has to be submitted in the name of an individual licensed adviser or the exempt staff. If a licensed adviser subsequently engages with INZ on behalf of the application (eg. in response to a PPI letter), they must provide notification to INZ that they are now acting as the representative for the application.
- Exempt staff members should not be using letterhead that references a licensed adviser. This is confusing and makes it unclear as to whether the letter is from the licensed adviser or exempt person.
- Section I and J in the visa application form need to be properly completed by exempt staff.
Immigration New Zealand will now also be working to ensure that it is clear who is submitting student visa applications.
Raising awareness of licensed immigration advisers
Have you seen the new Consumer Protection website? This website provides New Zealand consumers access to straight-forward content about what needs to be done before, during and after purchasing a product or service.
The Immigration Advisers Authority has worked with Consumer Protection to make sure the website has good information about licensed immigration advisers.
In September we promoted licensed advisers on the Consumer Protection Facebook page and reached 18,000 people with over 1000 engagements.
Over the next month the Authority is running a Facebook campaign in India and Sri Lanka directing people to the register of licensed advisers. The advertisements are targeted to Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab and Sri Lanka. So far we have reached 245,000 people in India and 103,000 people in Sri Lanka.
New English language standard
The new English language standard came into effect from 1 October 2016 and applies to all new students enrolling in the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice. The new standard does not apply to existing advisers, or those who have already enrolled in or completed an approved qualification.
Thanks to all our willing supervisors
Thank you to the 90 advisers who joined our Supervision webinar in September and, in particular, to everyone who already is, or is soon to become, a supervisor.
We now have 70 provisional licence holders and 58 supervisors.
In December this year around 20 people may graduate with the new Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice and around 60 may complete the courses that allow them to apply for a provisional licence.
The Supervision webinar is now available for you to view.
Supervisors who are looking for a provisional licence applicant to supervise can advertise directly to the Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s students. It is a good idea to advertise during the academic semester while you have a direct link to students.
Advertisements must contain the following information:
- name and contact details of the company or organisation (on company letterhead)
- name and details of the contact person
- description of the supervision being offered (including location)
- description of the type of person required
- dates e.g. when posted, when applications close, potential start date (optional).
This type of advertisement will be posted on the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s student programme page.
If you are interested in supervising a new provisional licence holder, please email this information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervision fees – what is fair and reasonable?
Under Clause 12 of the Code of Conduct, a supervisor must ensure that any fees charged are fair and reasonable in the circumstances.
Supervisors who breach this requirement are at risk of a complaint being made to the Authority.
As with other fees charged, supervision fees need to be justifiable.
Many new advisers wonder whether supervision fees should be charged on a percentage or at an hourly rate. There is no right or wrong answer to that question, and both approaches can be taken.
Here are some examples of considerations that may be taken into account when setting a supervision fee, or assessing whether one is fair and reasonable:
- How much time the supervisor will spend on supervision. This will depend on a number of factors including the provisional licence holder’s caseload, level of experience and competence, as well the frequency of supervision agreed.
- What level of fees the provisional licence holder will charge (20% of $200 is significantly less than 20% of $1000). It is important that a supervision arrangement is sustainable for both parties. The prospective provisional licence holder should be clear on what their budget is.
- The level of experience of the supervisor.
- Whether the supervisor or the provisional licence holder will be generating the clients.
- The quality and value of the supervision. As with the Graduate Diploma, supervision is an investment in a new adviser’s career and/or business. Many advisers talk about past supervision as an extremely helpful and rewarding experience.
We also note that not all supervisors charge for supervision on the basis that they want to give back to the profession; it is not a requirement to charge.
New Tribunal decisions
There are a number of new decisions available from the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal. Three advisers have had their licences cancelled recently:
Reading Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal decisions will help develop your understanding of the standards expected of licensed immigration advisers.
New Refresher training course available
In September the Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic launched a new Refresher training course for advisers who are wishing to return to the profession after a break of more than 12 months.
The new course has been developed on the back of the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice. Unlike the previous refresher course which took existing modules from the Graduate Certificate, this refresher course has been tailored for those returning to the profession.
The course covers:
- the regulatory framework a licensed adviser must work within, including what it means to be professional
- evaluating client circumstances and providing advice over core temporary entry and residence categories
- where to find current immigration law, instructions and requirements.
It takes 6 weeks part-time, although students can choose to do it in less time if they study full-time.
Keeping it clear
Moving to live and work in a new country involves finding out a great deal of information that locals simply take for granted. New Zealand organisations are very good at providing that information, however the information provided is not always written or presented in the most user friendly way.
Keeping it Clear – a new guide written and produced by Immigration New Zealand – aims to address this by providing organisations with tips to follow when they are communicating with people new to New Zealand.
Tips include keeping language short and simple, active and direct, and avoiding idioms and ‘kiwi-isms’ that newcomers may not understand.
We don’t realise that there are more than 25,000 idioms in the English language and we liberally scatter them through most information. These are extremely difficult for new speakers of English to understand.
They can be the difference between a newcomer acting on information or ignoring it.
Even the Kiwi expressions that we think nothing of, such as “bring a plate”, “box of birds” or “across the ditch” can have migrants, even from other English speaking countries, scratching their heads in confusion.
This guide covers some of the more important tips in communicating with people that are new to New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand has also sent desk flip-cards to all New Zealand-based licensed immigration advisers, so look out for yours soon.
Adviser Satisfaction Survey Results
Thank you to all of you who took part in our annual adviser satisfaction survey in June 2016.
76% were satisfied with the overall quality of service provided by the Authority, up from 67% in 2015.
84% agreed that the immigration adviser licensing scheme has improved the perception of New Zealand as a migration destination, up from 74% in 2015.
91% agreed that licensing has added value to the New Zealand immigration industry, an increase from 85% in 2015.
Have you used our online CPD plan and record?
You can log-in at iaa.govt.nz to start or update your CPD plan for the year and record activities you complete. If this is the first time you are logging-in, you will need your activation code. Please contact us if you don’t have it.
Remember that you need to start following the new CPD requirements as soon as you renew your licence after 26 November 2015.
Our CPD Toolkit sets out all our requirements as well as extra guidance. You need to read and understand our CPD Toolkit in order to understand your obligations as a licensed immigration adviser.