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Applying for an initial licence

This policy sets out the requirements to apply for a New Zealand immigration adviser licence for the first time.

To become a licensed immigration adviser you must meet the requirements set out in the Immigration Adviser Competency Standards 2015 or the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.

The competency standards require initial licence applicants to hold an approved qualification or entry course, to have knowledge of New Zealand’s immigration advisers licensing scheme, to have knowledge of New Zealand immigration law and immigration instructions, to be able to prepare, lodge and administer immigration applications, to be able to communicate professionally in English, and to be able to conduct business professionally, ethically and responsibly.

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Australian registered migration agents who wish to apply for an immigration adviser licence for the first time go to Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition for more information.

Licence type

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Anyone who began their study towards an approved qualification from July 2015 is required to hold a provisional licence and enter into a supervision arrangement with a fully licensed immigration adviser for two years before they may upgrade to a full licence.

Initial provisional licence

From 26 November 2015, an initial applicant for a provisional licence must:

  • have completed an approved qualification or approved entry course within the 12 months before the date they lodge their provisional licence application,

OR

  • have previously completed an approved qualification or approved entry course and have completed an approved refresher course within the 12 months before the date they lodge their provisional  licence application.

The applicant must also have entered into a supervision arrangement with a supervisor who holds a full licence.

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Everything you need to know about supervision arrangements is available in the Immigration Advisers Authority’s Supervision Toolkit

Initial full or limited licence

From 26 November 2015, an initial applicant for a full or limited licence must:

  • hold an approved qualification that was commenced in or before February 2015 and completed within the 12 months prior to the limited licence application being lodged.

Approved qualifications and entry courses

The approved qualifications for a New Zealand immigration adviser licence are: 

  •  The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s[1] Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice
  • The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice.

The approved entry courses for a New Zealand immigration adviser licence are:

  • Courses 1 – 4 of the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice
  • Courses A and B of the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice.

The approved refresher courses are:

  • The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Refresher Course for New Zealand Immigration Advice (Level 7)
  • Module 10 Professional Practice, plus two other modules chosen from Courses B, C, or D of the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice
  • The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice
  • Courses 1 – 4 of the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice
  • The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice.

Initial licence application process

To obtain a licence, you need to lodge an online application. If you are not able to lodge an online application form, please contact the Authority to assist you.

Apply for a licence(external link)

Initial licence application

To complete the online application form you will need to provide:

  • approved qualification or entry course details (see above)
  • personal and contact details
  • a signed supervision agreement for upload (provisional licence applicants only) (see Model provisional licence supervision agreement below)
  • printed and completed Form 101A: Supervision Arrangement Application for upload (provisional licence applicants only) (see below)
  • answers to a fitness for licensing questionnaire
  • criminal history record/police certificate(s)
  • certified copy of personal identification for upload
  • passport quality photograph for upload
  • a declaration
  • Visa or Mastercard for payment of application fee NZ$909.78 (ordinarily resident in NZ) or NZ$791.11 (not ordinarily resident in NZ).

Qualification details

The qualification section requires applicants to indicate which of the approved qualifications or entry courses they have completed, when they started studying and when the qualification was awarded.

Applicants will not be asked to upload a copy of their academic record as this will be verified with the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology directly.

Applicants who have a choice will be asked to indicate licence type they wish to apply for.

Personal details

The personal details section requires the applicant to provide:

  • their full legal name, which will appear on the public register of licensed immigration advisers (the register)
  • their preferred name (if applicable), which will be indicated on the register in brackets
  • any other names they may be known by
  • their date of birth.
  • their home phone number (this will not appear on the register).

Contact details and addresses

The contact details section requires the applicant to provide:

  • the name of their business or employer
  • their business address, which is the main location where the applicant conducts their business  
  • their current status with the business or employer; for example, if they are a director or volunteer
  • their physical address for the service of documents, if it is different from the business address
  • their postal address, if it is different from the physical location of their business address
  • their business phone number, direct dial phone number, mobile phone number, fax number and business email address where the applicant can be contacted on
  • their business website
  • their secondary business address details (if applicable).

Under section 77(2)(a) of the Act, the purpose of the register is to enable members of the public to know how to contact a licensed immigration adviser and to facilitate the compliance, audit and other supporting and administrative functions of the Registrar. The register must show a business and service address for the applicant.

The applicant may choose to have their postal address, business phone number, direct dial phone number, mobile number, fax number, business email address or business website shown on the public register of immigration advisers.

Under section 26 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007, the applicant must inform the Authority if they work for any other businesses. If the applicant is working for any other businesses at the time of applying for a licence, they must provide the contact details and addresses for the other business(es).

Supervisor details

A provisional licence applicant must provide details about their proposed supervisor. Applicants can search the public register if they do not know the details of their proposed supervisor.

Applicants are required to provide the:

  • name of their proposed supervisor
  • immigration adviser licence number for their proposed supervisor.

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Further information about developing a supervision agreement and what is an acceptable supervision arrangement is available in the Immigration Advisers Authority’s Supervision Toolkit

Supervision agreement

The applicant and their proposed supervisor are required to have in place a supervision agreement for the approval of the Registrar. A copy of the signed supervision agreement must be uploaded to the application.

The Registrar has developed a model supervision agreement available to help you (see below).

Form 101A: Supervision Arrangement Application (see below)

The applicant must complete a Supervision Arrangement Application form to have their proposed supervisor and supervision arrangements approved by the Registrar.

Fitness for licensing

An applicant completing an initial application must complete a fitness for licensing questionnaire and provide any documentation required.

See Licensing Toolkit – Fitness for licensing for more information.

Identification

The applicant is required to attach one certified copy of their:

  • current driver licence
  • birth certificate or
  • current passport page that shows their photograph and personal details.

A person who is authorised to witness a statutory declaration must certify this document.

An applicant must provide one passport-sized and passport quality photograph, taken within the last six months.

This photograph will be used on the adviser’s wallet card and licence certificate. It will also be shown on the register.

Criminal record history/police certificates

Applicants are required to provide criminal record histories or police certificates, obtained within the last six months, from each country that they have lived in for a total of 12 months or more in the last 10 years. These countries must be listed in the application form.

New Zealand Criminal Record History

  • A New Zealand Criminal Conviction History can be obtained on application to the Ministry of Justice.
  • You must upload an original copy of your New Zealand Criminal Conviction History with your application.

Request your own criminal conviction history(external link)

Overseas Criminal Record History or Police Certificates

  • If you need to obtain Criminal Conviction Histories or Police Certificates from any countries other than New Zealand, you may need to pay a fee for these.
  • If a country from which you require a criminal record history or police certificate will only deliver the certificate directly to the Authority, you must not apply for a licence until the Authority has received it. We recommend you allow three months for the criminal record history or police certificate to be delivered to the Authority.
  • Please advise the Authority by email to info@iaa.govt.nz that your criminal record history or police certificate will be delivered to us. The Authority will then send it to you to upload when the criminal record history or police certificate has been received.

When requesting your criminal record history or police certificate you must supply all of the names you have listed in the Personal Details section of this application form.

If the applicant cannot get a police certificate because they are not available or are difficult to obtain, they will need to provide a statutory declaration in English or in their own language and English.

This statutory declaration needs to detail the applicant’s attempts to obtain a criminal record history or police certificate and whether they have been convicted or charged with any offences in each country that they have lived in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years. The applicant needs to include information confirming their good character. This statutory declaration will need to be uploaded to the application.

Declaration

By ticking the declaration checkboxes in the online form, the applicant is declaring that:

  • they meet the standards set out in the Immigration Advisers Competency Standards; and
  • the information they have provided in the application form, its attachments and accompanying supporting documents is complete, correct and up to date in every detail to the best  of their knowledge; and
  • any representations they have made in the application form, its attachments and accompanying supporting documents are true and correct to the best  of their knowledge; and
  • they are not aware of any other matter relevant to the assessment of their competency that they should bring to the attention of the Registrar of Immigration Advisers; and
  • they understand that, unless they are licensed or exempt, they may not provide New Zealand Immigration advice; and
  • they understand that if the Registrar of Immigration Advisers determines that they are eligible for a licence, they will not be granted a licence until they have paid the prescribed amount of immigration adviser’s levy (if any) and met any other applicable conditions; and
  • they understand that they must give written notice to the Registrar of Immigration Advisers of any relevant change  to the information provided with their application for a licence, or that results in them becoming prohibited from licensing under section 15 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007, or has any effect on the matters specified in sections 16 and 17 of the Act relating to their fitness for licensing, and that notice of any change of circumstances must be provided to the Registrar within 10 working days after the change; and
  • they understand that it is an offence under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 to supply false or misleading information with the application, and they believe the statements in the declaration are true in every particular; and
  • they have read and understand their obligations under the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct.

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The giving of false information in the application form is an offence under section 66 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 with penalties of imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 and will result in the application for a licence being refused.

Place of residence

Applicants are required to indicate if they have been lawfully present in New Zealand for more than 183 days in the past 12 months. A person is ordinarily resident in New Zealand if they have spent more than 183 days in New Zealand in the immediately preceding 12 months and is not unlawfully in New Zealand.

Fee and levy

The applicant must pay the licence application fee when applying for the licence. The immigration adviser’s levy is payable only if the Registrar approves the application.

The Authority only accepts payments in New Zealand dollars. Payments can be made online using Visa or Mastercard.

For applicants who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand the initial application fee is NZ$909.78 and the immigration adviser’s levy is NZ$1129.55.

A person is ordinarily resident in New Zealand if they have spent more than 183 days in New Zealand in the immediately preceding 12-month period and is not unlawfully in New Zealand.

For applicants who are not ordinarily resident in New Zealand the initial application fee is NZ$791.11 and the immigration adviser’s levy is NZ$982.22.

Applicants completing an online application will immediately be able to download an invoice and receipt.

Certifying supporting documentation

Where required to make a statutory declaration, it must be made in front of a person authorised to witness a statutory declaration. A person who is authorised to witness a statutory declaration must also certify documents that are required to be certified.

The following persons may witness a statutory declaration made in New Zealand:

  • An enrolled barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
  • A Justice of the Peace.
  • A notary public.
  • A Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District Court, High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.

The following persons are authorised to witness a statutory declaration made outside of New Zealand:

  • In a Commonwealth country other than New Zealand; a Judge, Commissioner of Oaths, a notary public, a Justice of the Peace, or any person authorised by the law of that country to administer an oath there for the purpose of a judicial proceeding, a Commonwealth representative, or a solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
  • In a country other than a Commonwealth — a Commonwealth representative, a Judge, a notary public, or a solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

Assessment of licence applications

Applications submitted online are then allocated to a Technical Advisor. 

 If required the Technical Advisor undertakes a fitness assessment. The Technical Advisor makes a recommendation to the Registrar who will decide if an applicant is fit to hold a licence.

See Licensing Toolkit – Fitness for licensing for more information

Once an applicant has been declared fit to hold a licence, the Technical Advisor will assess each application against the Immigration Advisers Competency Standards.

Read the competency standards in full.

The Technical Advisor will contact the applicant if they require further information. They may also interview an applicant to obtain further information or clarification during the assessment process.

Once the Technical Advisor has finished assessing the application, they will make a recommendation to the Registrar. The Registrar will decide whether the application meets licensing requirements and if the applicant should be granted or refused a licence.

Grant of licence

The Registrar will approve an application if they are satisfied that the applicant:

  •  is not prohibited from licensing
  • is fit to be licensed as an immigration adviser
  • meets the minimum standards of competence
  • has properly completed an application in accordance with the Act.

If the application is approved, the Authority will inform the applicant and will request the immigration adviser’s levy from the applicant.

The levy may be paid online by logging in, and must be paid within 20 working days. Applicants will immediately be able to download an invoice and receipt.

Pay levy(external link)

Once the levy has been paid a licence will be granted. A licence pack containing a wallet card and licence certificate will be sent to the applicant once a licence is granted. The register will be updated with the applicant’s details.

All licences are valid for 12 months from the date the Registrar grants it.

If a licence application is refused, the applicant will be informed by letter. The applicant has a right to appeal the refusal of a licence to the New Zealand District Court.

Footnote

[1] Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology was formerly the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. Approved qualifications and courses issued by these organisations are also recognised.

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