Trans-Tasman mutual recognition
This policy sets out how the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (TTMRA) allows Australian registered migration agents (RMAs) to become New Zealand licensed immigration advisers (advisers).
What is the TTMRA?
The TTMRA provides for the mutual recognition of equivalent registered occupations between Australia and New Zealand.
Under the TTMRA, an RMA who is registered with the Australian Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) can apply to become a licensed immigration adviser in New Zealand. This allows RMAs to apply for a New Zealand licence on the basis of their Australian registration, without completing New Zealand’s entry qualification.
From 26 November 2015, all RMAs applying for a New Zealand immigration licence for the first time must apply for a provisional licence and hold a provisional licence for two years before they can apply for a full licence. A provisional licence holder must work under the direct supervision of a person who holds a full New Zealand immigration adviser licence.
To apply for a New Zealand licence under the TTMRA, you need to lodge an online application. If you are not able to lodge an online application form, please contact the Authority for assistance.
Initial TTMRA application process
An applicant must complete all sections of the initial TTMRA application and provide:
- their personal and contact details
- their Australian RMA registration number
- a copy of their register page from the OMARA website for upload
- details about whether any special conditions were issued on their OMARA licence (if required)
- a signed supervision agreement for upload (see Model provisional licence supervision agreement below)
- printed and completed Form 101A: Supervision Arrangement Application for upload (see below)
- certified copy of personal identification for upload
- passport quality photograph for upload
- Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 10097 Section 19 Notice (printed), completed, signed and dated in the presence of a person authorised to take statutory declarations in the country in which you reside, for upload.
- Visa or Mastercard for payment of application fee NZ$909.78 (ordinarily resident in NZ) or NZ$791.11 (not ordinarily resident in NZ).
Please note that same person must certify the Section 19 Notice and identification.
Australian RMA registration number
Applicants are required to provide their Australian RMA registration number.
Applicants are required to upload a copy of their register page from the OMARA website and indicate (if applicable) whether they have any special conditions issued on their OMARA licence.
Applicants should renew their registration with OMARA prior to applying under the TTMRA because the Immigration Advisers Authority (the Authority) needs to see that the applicant’s registration is current.
Applicants are required to provide details about their proposed supervisor.
See the Supervision Toolkit for more information.
Applicants are required to provide a signed supervision agreement to the Authority.
See the Supervision Toolkit for more information.
Form 101A: Supervision Arrangement Application
Applicants must complete and upload a Supervision Arrangement Application form to have their proposed supervisor and supervision arrangements approved by the Registrar.
See the Supervision Toolkit for more information.
The applicant is required to attach one certified copy of their:
- current passport page (front and/or back) that shows their photograph and personal details or
- New Zealand current driver’s licence
If you do not have either of the above you may use the template Statutory Declaration form to supply an alternative proof of identity as described on the form. A person who is authorised to witness a statutory declaration must sign this document.
An applicant must provide one passport quality photograph which must meet the following criteria:
- Be taken within the last 6 months
- A face, head and shoulders shot
- Looking directly at the camera
- Not wearing a hat, sunglasses or any other accessories that obscures the face
- Passport-sized 3:4 – width to height ratio
- In full colour, on a plain light background
This photograph will appear on the adviser’s wallet card and on the register of Licensed Immigration Advisers. We may refuse photographs which are not of adequate quality or are not composed in a way that is suitable for that purpose.
Applicants must print the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 10097 Section 19 Notice and then complete, sign and date it in the presence of a person authorised to take statutory declarations in the country in which you reside, for upload to their application form.
The applicant must declare that:
- 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
- they are currently a RMA with the Australian Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority; and
- their attached registration page from the OMARA’s website is current; and
- they do not hold a practising certificate as a barrister and/or solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand; and
- their registration as a migration agent has not been cancelled nor is it currently suspended in Australia as a result of any disciplinary action; and
- they have not been personally prohibited from operating as a migration agent or licensed immigration adviser nor are they subject to any special conditions as a result of criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings relating to their registration as a migration agent or licensed immigration adviser; and
- they are not subject to any disciplinary proceedings in Australia or New Zealand relating to their registration as a migration agent or licensed immigration adviser
- they are not the subject of any preliminary investigations or action that might lead to disciplinary proceedings in New Zealand or Australia relating to their registration as a migration agent or licensed immigration adviser
- they understand that if their application or documents submitted to support their application are found to be forged, false or altered, their registration will be refused or cancelled and the appropriate authorities notified
- they give authorisation to the Registrar to make inquiries of and to exchange information with the Australian Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority or any other relevant authorities in Australia or New Zealand regarding their activity as a registered migration agent or licensed immigration adviser
- they make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957.
An applicant must be able to declare that the statements in the declaration are true and correct. If an applicant cannot declare all statements of the Section 19 Notice are true and correct, they may not apply for a New Zealand immigration adviser licence until such time as the statements become correct.
As part of the application process, the Authority will contact OMARA to determine whether the applicant has any complaints, investigations or disciplinary proceedings pending against them or whether they are subject to any special conditions. If the applicant is found to have made a false statement in the Section 19 notice the Authority may refuse to grant registration under Section 22 of the TTMRA.
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.
Please note that same person must certify the Section 19 Notice, identification and OMARA licence certificate.
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 New Zealand:
- In Australia or another Commonwealth country other than New Zealand— a Judge, a 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 judicial proceeding; a Commonwealth representative; or solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
- In a country other than a Commonwealth country— a Commonwealth representative, a Judge, a notary public, or a solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
Assessment of application
The Authority will not test an applicant on their understanding of New Zealand immigration matters before granting them a licence. However, the Authority does expect the applicant to be familiar with the:
- Immigration Act 2009
- Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007
- Immigration Advisers Competency Standards
- Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct.
The Registrar of Immigration Advisers (the Registrar) will determine the application within one month of receiving a complete application.
The Registrar may postpone or refuse registration if:
- any of the information the applicant provides is false or misleading
- circumstances have changed
- the applicant has failed to provide all the required information
- the prescribed fees have not been paid.
Grant of licence
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.
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.
The Registrar may postpone or refuse a New Zealand immigration adviser licence if any of the information provided is materially false or misleading, if circumstances have changed, if any of the required information has not been provided or if the prescribed fees have not been paid.
If your application is refused, postponed or conditions are imposed on your licence, you will be informed in writing and be given reasons for the decision made. You have a right of appeal to the Trans-Tasman Occupations Tribunal that has been established by the Ministry of Justice to hear appeals under the TTMRA. Contact details.
Further information is available on the Ministry of Justice website(external link).
Once licensed all advisers must comply with the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct and the Immigration Adviser Competency Standards.
Lawyers with an Australian practising certificate can apply under the TTMRA. However, lawyers who hold a current New Zealand practising certificate, and their employees who provide immigration advice within the scope of their employment agreement, are not allowed to be New Zealand licensed immigration advisers.
From 22 March 2021 unrestricted lawyers who hold an Australian practicing certificate will be removed from the regulatory scheme governing Australian Migration Agents. This will mean that they will no longer be able to apply for an NZ Immigration Advisers Licence under section 19 Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997(TTMRA).
Australian lawyers with a restricted status are expected to be able to retain registration as Migration Agents for some time after this and accordingly will be able to apply to become New Zealand Immigration Advisers, but this is subject to change.
It is recommended that Australian lawyers take note of their status and whether they have retained registration as an Australian Migration Agent, as this will determine if they can apply for a NZ Immigration Advisers Licence.
Therefore, any individual who wishes to apply for a NZ immigration adviser licence under the TTMRA will be required to provide evidence of their registration as an Australian Migration Agent.
For further information, please consult the Office of Registered Migration Agents.
See Licensing Toolkit – Renewal for more information.