Reference group minutes, 2 August 2021
Date: 2 August 2021, 2pm - 3.30pm
Place: via Zoom
Licensed Immigration Advisers: Jens Mueller (Barclays Lloyds Limited), Paul Janssen (Immagine Australia and New Zealand), Afiff Shah (New Zealand Visa Solutions Ltd), Nassim Lalehzari (Working International Visas Ltd), Stephen Au (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Borey Chum (NZAMI), Rattan Prakash (NZAIP).
IAA: Duncan Connor (Registrar), Jyoti Issar (Team Leader Investigations (Auckland)), Luanshya Bakes (Senior Technical Advisor), Polina Finney (Senior Technical Advisor)
Guests: Appley Boyd (Toi Ohomai), Josh Kennedy (INZ), Rob Perry (INZ)
Apologies: Mahalakshmi Saikumar (Australian NZ Migration Centre)
The Registrar welcomed everyone present and introduced the IAA Panel.
2. Updates from the first meeting
The Licensing Team updated the group on the recent publication of supervision resources on the IAA website. Those updates were also announced in the June 2021 Newsletter.
3. Topic 1: IACDT decisions
All decisions of the Immigration Advisers Licensing and Complaints Tribunal (the Tribunal) are published on the IACDT website(external link) (unless there is a suppression order in place). The group discussed whether Tribunal decisions should also be recorded on the IAA Public Register. This can be done in one of two ways (or both): publishing a link on the profile of an adviser who has been subject to disciplinary proceedings before the Tribunal, or creating a repository of recent Tribunal decisions on the IAA website.
The purpose of the Authority is to protect consumers of immigration advice. Published Tribunal decisions are already in the public domain. By including a link on the Register, the Authority will be making consumers aware that the Tribunal has upheld a complaint against an adviser. Other regulatory regimes, such as the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA), Licensed Building Practitioners (LBP), and the Real Estate Authority (REA) have similar practices.
Different views were expressed:
- A suggestion was made that instead of publishing a link to the decision on the adviser’s profile, the information could be made available somewhere else on the IAA website. This was countered by the argument that consumers are unlikely to search the database. If a link is published on the Register, it will be easier for consumers to access that information and make an informed decision.
- A concern was raised that publishing a link on an adviser’s profile may give the adviser a negative image, especially if they have improved their practice(s) accordingly. It is important to find a balance in the way in which the information concerning past disciplinary decisions is used.
- The possibility of having a limited time-period (e.g. 2-3 years) during which the link will be visible was discussed.
- Another question for the Authority to consider would be whether decisions would be published retroactively and whether advisers would be made aware in advance that the relevant Tribunal decision will be linked to their IAA Register Profile.
- It was also pointed out that consumers do have a duty to do the necessary research before approaching a licensed adviser.
The Authority will explore the topic further. This is only a preliminary discussion on the option of publishing Tribunal decisions on the IAA register of immigration advisers.
4. Topic 2: Upgrade application form
There are plans to amend the current upgrade application form. A draft form was circulated via e-mail. Reference group participants were asked to comment on whether the proposed form was user-friendly and practical.
Summary of discussion:
- The new form reduces the amount of information, which must be provided with an upgrade application;
- More work must be done on refining the questions, which the supervisor(s) must answer;
- The supervisor questionnaire includes a statutory declaration, in order to assure the Authority that the information provided is true and correct;
- The requirement to provide a certified copy of all qualifications is necessary to ensure that all applicants meet the basic upgrade requirements. The onus is on the applicant to provide the required information.
- Supervision records must still be maintained, they can be requested for inspection at any time
5. Topic 3: Guide for Supervisors/ Supervision Guidance Document
The Licensing Team is planning to revise the existing Supervision Toolkit and compile a comprehensive Supervision Guidance document, which will serve as a resource for both supervisors and provisional licence holders. It is envisaged that the Guidance Document should provide information on (amongst others) the following:
- Meaning of direct supervision; purpose of supervision; distance supervision, etc
- Responsibilities and expectations of supervisors and provisional licence holders (elaboration on current content);
- A compilation of current guidance documents and templates such as those relating to the development of a professional development plan, supervision agreement and supervision minutes;
- Clear instructions on seeking approval to amend supervision arrangements;
- Instructions on preparing an upgrade application.
Summary of discussion
- On the question of whether the IAA should create two separate guidance documents, one for supervisors and one for provisional licence holders, the consensus was that it would be better to have one single comprehensive document, so that provisional licence holders and supervisors are aware of each other’s duties and expectations.
- It will be helpful to supervisors and provisional licence holders to have a basis around which they can build their supervision arrangement and have access to templates and documents which provide a structure they can follow.
- A suggestion was made to add a section covering the question of what can be done when the supervision arrangement does not work.
- It was also suggested that the Supervision Guidance document could be accompanied by an educational video prepared by the Authority.
- The Licensing Team has also proposed an amendment to the existing Form 101A so that it contains a declaration from the supervisor that they have watched the IAA Supervision webinars and have familiarised themselves with all available supervision resources.
The Meeting ended at approximately 3.30pm and the Registrar thanked everyone for their attendance and contribution.
Next reference group meeting 4 October 2021.