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Travel Agents warned not to risk unlawful immigration advice

The New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) has launched a campaign to inform South African travel agents about what immigration assistance they can legally provide in response to New Zealand's visitor visa change for South African nationals.

“Travel agents may receive an increase in requests for immigration help from those wishing to come to New Zealand,” warns Registrar of the IAA Catherine Albiston.

“Agents may not be aware they can only provide very basic assistance, such as sharing Immigration New Zealand’s forms and website, and putting clients in touch with a licensed immigration adviser or exempt person if they do not hold a licence themselves.”

New Zealand immigration advice cannot be provided without a licence, which includes advising a person on visa options or how best to fill out an application form. Exempt people include current New Zealand lawyers and Immigration New Zealand staff.

“If a client is unsure where to go for New Zealand immigration advice, the travel agent could supply the link to Immigration New Zealand’s website(external link) or the Immigration Advisers Authority’s free register of licensed advisers(external link) to help the client find a local licensed adviser,” says Ms Albiston.

“Do not risk giving or receiving unlawful immigration advice about New Zealand. If the agent or visa applicant is not honest with Immigration New Zealand, the current and future visa applications may be declined.”

The IAA is responsible for issuing licences to immigration advisers worldwide and handles complaints about poor immigration advice. The IAA does not provide immigration advice.

More information on the IAA can be found at www.iaa.govt.nz or by emailing info@iaa.govt.nz. A person’s immigration application or status will not be affected by contacting the IAA.


Notes to editor

The Immigration Advisers Authority was set up to promote and protect the interests of people receiving New Zealand immigration advice.

We do this by:

  • issuing licences to people who are fit and competent to give immigration advice
  • maintaining competency standards and a code of conduct for immigration advisers
  • investigating people giving immigration advice without a licence or exemption
  • receiving complaints from people who have received poor immigration advice.

Under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007(external link) anyone giving immigration advice must have a licence unless they are exempt. Exempt people include lawyers with a current New Zealand practising certificate and Citizens Advice Bureaux staff among others.

The Authority is independent of Immigration New Zealand and cannot give immigration advice or influence a visa application