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September 2023 Newsletter

Message from the Registrar

Kia ora koutou,

I hope everyone in the Southern Hemisphere is making it through winter well and managing to keep warm and those elsewhere in the world are enjoying the sunshine.

In this newsletter you will find details for our next webinar which will be about ‘Client Files’, during this we will discuss the expectations around Client Files. This webinar is on September 19 from 3pm to 4pm. The link to register for this webinar is further down the newsletter.

We have also included licensing and complaints statistics for the 2022/23 financial year, which may be of interest to many of you. This year we’ve seen the licensed population continue to grow. Despite this we have received a similar number of complaints about both licensed advisers and unlicensed persons this year as last.

We hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter.

Keep our standards high.

Duncan Connor

Registrar of Immigration Advisers

portrait duncan connor

A Year in Numbers (2022-2023)

Licensing and complaints statistics for 2022-2023 financial year

There has been a slight increase in the total number of licensed advisers: from 1238 on 30 June 2021 to 1277 on 30 June 2022:

See accordion below for number details.

The figures below refer to the period 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023:

Licensing application outcomes

Complaints against licensed advisers

See accordion below for number details.

Unlicensed persons

See accordion below for number details.

A year in numbers (2022-2023) text

Licensing and complaints statistics for 2022-2023 financial year

Number of licensed advisers

1316 licensed advisers at 30/06/2023

1071 onshore advisers (81.4 %)

245 offshore advisers (18.6 %)

Licensing outcomes

79 Initial provisional licences granted (GDNZIA entry)

4 Initial provisional licences granted (TTMRA entry)

83 Upgrade applications – full licence granted

1 Upgrade application – limited licence granted

11 Licences surrendered

3 Licences cancelled

0 Renewal applications refused

0 Licences suspended

Complaints against licensed advisers

51 Complaints received                                                               

46   Complaints closed by the Authority                                    

8 Complaints referred to the Tribunal                                                                

17   Complaints upheld by the Tribunal                       

1 Complaints dismissed by the Tribunal                                

 1 Appeal against a Registrar’s decision  (rejected by Tribunal) 

Unlicensed persons

41 Complaints received

36 Complaints closed

 2 Prosecutions

Migrant exploitation

The issue of migrant exploitation is sadly not a new one. Cases of migrants falling prey to fraudulent recruitment scams or instances where unscrupulous employers hire migrant workers illegally and/or breach minimum employment standards continue to be brought to the attention of government agencies for investigation.

Compliance with employment standards is monitored by the Labour Inspectorate, whereas breaches of the Immigration Act 2009 fall under the purview of Immigration New Zealand. Further information on immigration scams, migrant exploitation, or how migrant exploitation can be reported is available on our website:

What can the Authority do? 

The Authority’s functions are defined by legislation, namely the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (the Act). We aim to promote and protect the interests of people receiving New Zealand immigration advice. Therefore, we investigate complaints against licensed advisers, or unlicensed individuals providing immigration advice unlawfully. In some instances, the Authority can also prosecute under the Crimes Act 1961.

In cases involving migrant exploitation and immigration scams, we can step in where the unlawful activity is carried out by an individual providing immigration advice. We encourage you to report such individuals to us, by submitting a complaint. There is no cost for making a complaint.

Make a complaint

Please bear in mind that:

  • anyone can make a complaint;
  • you do not have to be in New Zealand to lodge a complaint;
  • the complaint cannot be anonymous;
  • you must attach supporting information or evidence available to you.

Further information on submitting complaints against advisers can be found online:

Complain about a licensed immigration adviser

Complain about an unlicensed immigration adviser

Webinar Announcement

This year's webinars will focus on non-compliance trends we have noticed emerging from recent Tribunal decisions, licensing outcomes, and responses gathered through the Migrant Survey.

The topic of our second webinar is ‘Client files’. As licensed advisers, you are required to maintain client files in line with the Code of Conduct. You are obliged to produce client files to the Authority for inspection when required, for purposes of administering the licensing regime, or when the Authority is investigating a complaint. This webinar will take advisers through the process of client file inspections, and what we expect to see in a client file, be it from an investigation or licensing perspective. We’ll look at examples, past Tribunal decisions, and discuss common mistakes. 

The webinar will be delivered on 19 September 2023, 3.00-4.00 pm NZT. 

To register, please follow this link:

IAA Webinar 2: Client files

Tribunal Decisions

The Immigration Advisers Complaints & Disciplinary Tribunal has recently released 2 sanctions decisions for upheld complaints:

II v Sun

The Tribunal found that Mr Sun had breached clauses 2(e), 3(c) and 19(a) of the Code of Conduct as he allowed unlicensed individuals to give immigration advice to the Complainant and obtain the client’s instructions; he also failed to ensure the written agreement contained his name and license number.

Mr Sun was censured, ordered to complete the LAWS 7015 paper at Toi Ohomai at its next intake, ordered to pay the Registrar $2,500 and to pay the Complainant $35,000 compensation within one month.

OT v Ramos

The Tribunal found that Ms Ramos had breached clauses 1, 18(a) and 26(c) of the Code of Conduct as she failed to exercise due care in ensuring the Complainant’s residence application was lodged as instructed, failed to provide a new or amended written agreement for seeking Ministerial intervention, and failed to confirm in writing material discussions.

Ms Ramos was cautioned, ordered to pay the Registrar a penalty of $2,500 and to pay the Complainant compensation of $8,000.

New decisions are appearing regularly, and you are encouraged to save the following link as a bookmark.

Read recent Tribunal decisions(external link) – Ministry of Justice

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