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Unlicensed immigration adviser pleads not guilty to 13 offences of giving unlicensed advice

Peter Woodberg has been charged with 13 offences by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) for knowingly providing immigration advice without being licensed or exempt. The alleged offending included advising clients to mislead New Zealand authorities.

Mr Woodberg, who is the director of North Shore Immigration Service, appeared and entered not guilty pleas in the North Shore District Court today for charges under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers Andrew Galloway says, “Consumers who are looking to get immigration advice should see this as an important reminder to only use a licensed immigration adviser or an exempt person.

“The law is in place to protect migrants from unlawful and harmful advice. Licensed immigration advisers are required to be competent in their practice and follow a professional code of conduct relating to the advice they supply.

“One of the Authority’s priorities is protecting migrants from receiving substandard or misleading advice from unqualified persons. Prosecutions such as this demonstrate we do not take this type of offending lightly.”

Immigration advisers must be licensed by the IAA, a New Zealand government body set up to protect individuals and families looking for immigration advice, or be an exempt person, such as a New Zealand lawyer.

“The IAA will continue to raise awareness that unlawful immigration advice can cause significant stress and problems for visa applicants, not to mention putting them out of pocket or putting their dreams of moving to New Zealand in serious jeopardy,” said Mr Galloway.

“If people need help with a visa application, they should only use a licensed immigration adviser or exempt person.”

The defendant appeared in the North Shore District Court today facing charges under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers Andrew Galloway said, “This is an important reminder for people looking to immigrate to New Zealand to always use a licensed immigration adviser. Licensed

The IAA’s online register of licensed advisers(external link) is available for those who want to search for a licensed immigration adviser. More information on the IAA can be found at www.iaa.govt.nz.

Mr Woodberg was remanded on bail. His next appearance will be at the North Shore District Court for Case Review Hearing on Wednesday, 16 October 2019 at 2:15pm.

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