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Reference group minutes, 4 May 2021

Date: Tuesday 4 May 2021, 2pm - 4pm

Place: via Zoom

Attendees:

Licensed Immigration Advisers: Jens Mueller (Barclays Lloyds Limited), Paul Janssen (Immagine Australia and New Zealand), Affiff Shah (New Zealand Visa Solutions Ltd), Nassim Lalehzari (Working International Visas Ltd), Mahalakshmi Saikumar (Australian NZ Migration Centre), Stephen Au (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Borey Chum (NZAMI), June Ranson (Woburn International Limited, Wellington).

IAA - Duncan Connor (Registrar), Jyoti Issar (Team Leader Investigations – Auckland), Luanshya Bakes (Senior Technical Advisor), Polina Finney (Technical Advisor)

Guests - Appley Boyd (Toi Ohomai), Rob Perry (INZ)

Apologies - Rattan Prakash (NZAIP); Josh Kennedy (INZ), IACDT representative

Introductions / Registrar comments

The Registrar welcomed everyone present, which was followed by a round of introductions from all participants.

Introduction to the Immigration Advisers Authority: Our role and functions 

A brief presentation by the IAA Licensing and Investigation Teams on the Authority’s regulatory approach, including the Authority’s licensing process, the investigation of complaints, and recent successful prosecutions.

2021 Reference group: Aims and expectations

The Registrar referred all participants to the Terms of Reference and the Authority’s purpose as set out in the Act.

The purpose of the Act is to protect migrants who are consumers of immigration advice through the regulation of advisers; effectively carrying out the IAA’s statutory functions is our primary purpose. Any other actions, such as development of information and guidance material to help advisers comply with their obligations is a discretionary effort.

Topic 1 – Maintenance of supervision records

A discussion on the usefulness of IAA supervision templates and possible improvements.

  • Some advisers who have used the supervision minutes template have found that it provides structure and focus. It also helps remind advisers of what ought to be included in their discussions.
  • Suggestions were made that a checklist could be included on the website specifying what information the IAA expects to see in minutes prepared by advisers who are not using the standard template.
  • More guidance is needed on the development of Professional Development Plans (PDPs).
  • An online template may be useful, provided that it does not result in records or data being lost and does not require additional work.
  • It is important to understand that supervision meetings must take place as per the supervision agreement even when the provisional licence holder does not have any clients.
  • List of client files: that should ideally include all clients who have received advice by the provisional licence holder, even if there was no visa application submitted to INZ as a result of the consultation.

Topic 2: CPD activities and records

A discussion on the mandatory CPD requirement and the possible inclusion of other activities, which are not currently accepted.

  • Some participants indicated that the Authority could consider including mandatory CPD topics, rather than activities. For example, the topic of ‘Professional Ethics’. Other topics could be informed by complaints received by the Authority.
  • Another proposal was for the IAA to collaborate with the industry to present more panel based webinars in which experienced members of the industry discuss relevant and practical examples.
  • The IAA newsletter could be a useful learning tool and could, for example, include a link to an online multiple choice quiz, which would include questions relating to the newsletter content.
  • Further e-learning tools could be developed.
  • Another topic raised was whether supervisors should complete special mandatory CPD activities (or even an additional qualification). Different views on the subject were presented.It is possible for additional webinars and other e-learning resources to be developed by the Authority. It is also possible to clarify what is expected of supervisors and communicate it more widely. Internal supervisor checks and related processes could also be updated. However, if further changes are required, such as legislative changes, then statistical evidence is needed which would enable us to understand the true nature of the problem and what the best course of action would be.

Other discussions

  • A question was raised as to whether the IAA should provide education and support to other agencies and groups providing immigration advice (for example, those working in Citizens Advice Bureaux).While this may be considered, it is important to remember that the Authority’s functions and role are limited by the provisions of the Act.
  • During discussions it was noted that at the next reference group meeting we may provide feedback on what work is underway on suggested improvements and changes. 

Closing

The meeting ended at 4.00 pm and the Registrar thanked everyone for their attendance and contribution.

Next reference group meeting: 2 August 2021.

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