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Upgrade

This policy sets out the requirements to upgrade a limited or provisional immigration adviser licence.
Last updated 21 September 2020.

Upgrade requirements

A  provisional licence or limited licence holder may apply to upgrade their licence at any time. A provisional licence holder may upgrade to a limited or full licence. Limited Licence holders may only upgrade to a full licence.

To upgrade to a limited licence an applicant must:

  1. Hold an approved qualification that was commenced in or before February 2015 and completed within the 12 months prior to the application being lodged; OR
  2. Hold an approved qualification, and:
    1. have held a provisional licence within the 12 months prior to the application being lodged, and
    2. have held a provisional licence for at least 24 months; OR
  3. Have previously held a limited licence, and have completed an approved refresher course within the 12 months prior to the application being lodged.

To upgrade to a full licence an applicant must:

  1. Hold an approved qualification that was commenced in or before February 2015 and completed within the 12 months prior to the application being lodged; OR
  2. Hold an approved qualification, and
    1. have held a provisional licence within the 12 months prior to the application being lodged, and
    2. have held a provisional licence for at least 24 months; OR
  3. Hold an approved qualification, and hold a current limited licence; OR
  4. Have previously held a full licence, and have completed an approved refresher course within the 12 months prior to the application being lodged.

Competency Standards 2016 [PDF, 260 KB], effective from 1/10/2016

If a provisional or limited licence holder wishes to upgrade their licence when they are due to renew their licence, and they have received an inspection notice, their upgrade application will be assessed under the inspection stream.

 A licence upgrade takes effect from either the date of expiry of the previous licence or the date on which the upgrade is granted, whichever occurs first.

You may lodge your application no more than three weeks prior to holding a provisional licence for 24 months, however the Registrar’s decision on your application will not be sent until you have held a provisional licence for 24 months.

Upgrade application process

You cannot submit an upgrade application form online. Instead, all applicants must submit Form 201: Upgrade Application together with the required fee and supporting documentation. Do not submit a renewal and upgrade application at the same time.

The Authority must receive the upgrade application either:

  • By mail delivered by a recognised postal service
  • By prepaid courier
  • Over the counter at the office of the Authority during normal business hours
  • By email: info@iaa.govt.nz . Please ensure that you put in the subject heading: ‘Upgrade application, name, and licence number’. Please note our inbox contains a size limit of 20MB. If sending multiple emails, please ensure your emails are clearly labelled ie Upgrade Application, First name Last Name 201XXXXXX, Email 1 of 2.

The Authority will return upgrade applications not received by one of the above means.

If the Authority has lodged your upgrade application but has not assessed it before the date on which your licence would otherwise expire, your provisional/limited licence continues in force until the assessment of the application is complete.

The requirements to apply for an upgrade of a New Zealand immigration adviser licence are set out in Form 201: Upgrade Application. [PDF, 528 KB]

Form 201: Upgrade Application

Applicants are required to provide:

  • Their personal details
  • Contact details
  • Their licence details
  • Evidence of completing approved qualification or approved refresher course
  • If applying for a limited licence, which immigration matters or areas you wish to be able to provide advice on.
  • If applicable, provide inspection documentation
  • Details relating to fitness for licensing
  • Details about Continuing professional development
  • Details relating to supervision
  • If applicable, details about the adviser’s operation of their client account
  • If applicable, other matters relating to competency
  • A verified passport-sized photograph
  • Statutory declaration
  • Details for payment of application fee
  • Fully completed upgrade application checklist

If any of the required documentation is missing from your application, it may be refused.

Personal details

The personal details section requires the applicant to give:

  • 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
  • Other names you have used or been known by at any time in your life in any country including maiden name, name(s) from previous marriages or any alias.
  • Their date of birth

Contact details

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, volunteer or director
  • Their service address (if different from the business address)
  • Their postal address (if different from the business address)
  • Other contact details such as business phone number, direct dial phone number, mobile phone number, fax number and business email address that the applicant can be contacted, and the business website

Under section 77(2)(a) of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007(external link), 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 adviser.

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

Under section 26 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007(external link), the applicant must inform the Authority if they work for any other businesses. If the adviser is working for any other businesses, they must provide the contact details and addresses for the other business(es) with their upgrade application. 

Licence details

Applicants are required provide their New Zealand immigration adviser licence number and the New Zealand immigration adviser licence type they hold.

Applicants will be required to confirm whether they have held a provisional licence for at least 23 months.

Applicants will need to select what type of licence they are applying for ie limited or full.

Qualification

Applicants will be required to provide evidence of completing an ‘approved qualification’ or an ‘approved refresher course’. Acceptable evidence of completing an approved qualification or approved refresher course is a certified copy of the certificate and transcript.

If you are an applicant who had entered the profession under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997(external link), you will not be required to produce evidence of completing an approved qualification.

The Approved qualifications are:

  • 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.

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.

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.

Please refer to the current Competency Standards 2016 [PDF, 260 KB], Competency Standard 1 “Qualifications and experience” which set out the eligibility criteria for a limited or full licence.

Limited licence types (for applicants applying for a limited licence only)

Applicants who are applying for a limited licence must indicate which immigration matters or areas they wish to be able to provide immigration advice on. Applicants may select up to three.

Inspection documentation

The Authority notifies all advisers whether or not they have been selected for inspection two months before their licence expires.

Applicants who have been selected for inspection will have been issued an inspection notice pursuant to Section 57 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007(external link). An inspection notice sets out the documents which the Authority requires you to produce for inspection.

Failure to comply with an inspection notice is an offence under Section 69 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007(external link).

Applicants who are unable to produce the required documentation must provide a detailed explanation on a separate sheet with their application.

Fitness for licensing

Applicants are required to complete questions relating to their fitness. Please refer to sections 15 to 17 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007(external link).

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Applicants are required to complete the questions relating to their CPD and to provide a copy of or upload online their CPD plan and record.

For further information regarding the CPD requirements please refer to the CPD toolkit.

Supervision (for provisional licence holders only)

In order to upgrade to a full or limited licence, the Registrar must be satisfied that the Applicant meets each of the competencies to the extent necessary to provide immigration advice without supervision.

Applicants will be required to provide:

  • Their current supervisor’s details
  • If applicable, their back-supervisor’s detail
  • If applicable, full details relating to their supervision if they have made a request to change supervisors or made a request to amend their supervision arrangements, since they were first granted an initial provisional licence.

Applicants will also be required to provide supervision documentation including:

  • A copy of Supervision Records for the past three (3) months of submitting this application, unless otherwise specified by the Authority in an inspection notice.
  • A copy of all Professional Development Plans (PDP) signed off by their supervisor and past supervisor(s) (if applicable). All provisional licence holders and their supervisors should have an agreed PDP plan set out in their supervision agreement.
  • Copies of separate covering letters from you and your supervisor(s)  reflecting on your supervision arrangements. This should, include how you have complied with the terms of your supervision agreement, your professional development, your competency to practise on a limited or full licence and any other matters relevant to the assessment of your competency.

If an applicant is unable to provide the above documentation for assessment, they must provide a detailed explanation on a separate sheet.

Supervision records are:

  • Supervision agreement(s), as approved by the Registrar
  • A list of client files for which the supervisor is providing direct supervision
  • The provisional licence holder’s professional development plan and record
  • Minutes of supervision meetings.

For further information relating to supervision, please refer to the Supervision Toolkit.

Client funds

An applicant must declare whether they take money in advance.

Applicants who take money in advance must provide:

  • A copy their client account bank statement for the last three months and
  • A copy of the related client account ledgers for the past three months

Bank statements and the related client account ledgers must be in consecutive date order with no gaps for the three month period covered.

Client account ledgers may take the form of an accounting system, an electronic ledger or a hard copy ledger. Your client account ledgers should be specific to each individual client, the transactions relating to that
client and the balance.

It is helpful for your client account ledgers to include:

  • the client name
  • the date of the transaction
  • the type of the transaction
  • the amount of the transaction
  • the purpose of the transaction
  • the related invoice number

For further information relating to client funds, please refer to the Code Toolkit.

Other matters relating to competency

The Authority may require an adviser to provide evidence of a change in practice at the adviser’s next renewal where they have failed to demonstrate adherence to a particular aspect of the competency standards or the Code and where the failing is not significant enough to warrant a refusal of their application or a complaint. A requirement to make a change in business practice is recorded in an adviser’s approval in principle letter.

Applicants will be required to confirm whether or not the Authority required them to make a change in business practice and provide evidence thereof at their next renewal.

Applicants who have been required to provide evidence of a change in business practice, must provide a covering letter setting out a full description of the relevant matter and what they have done to remedy the issues of concern.

Identification photograph

The passport quality photograph 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

Diagram showing head and shoulders size inside the correct sized image

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.

The photograph must be verified as a true likeness of you by a person who has known you for at least 12 months and is not related to you, or part of your family group, or living at the same address as you.

Statutory declaration

The statutory declaration section requires the adviser to declare that the information they have provided is correct. The declaration must be made in front of a person authorised to witness a statutory declaration. 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 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.

Please refer to the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957(external link) for further guidance.

Fee and levy

Applicants must pay the upgrade application fee when applying for the licence.

For applicants are ordinarily resident in New Zealand, the upgrade application fee is NZ$546.89 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 months and is not unlawfully in New Zealand. For applicants who are not ordinarily resident in New Zealand, the upgrade application fee is NZ$475.56 and the immigration adviser’s levy is NZ$982.22.

The immigration adviser’s levy is payable only if the Registrar approves the application. If the application is successful, the Authority will contact the adviser to request the levy. The Authority will reduce the levy charged in proportion to the unexpired portion of the current licence to ensure that there is no double payment.

The Authority only accepts payments in New Zealand dollars. The Authority only accepts payment by Visa or MasterCard.

Checklist

Applicants must complete the upgrade application checklist to confirm providing the required documentation. If any required documentation is missing from your application it may be returned. Please ensure this is included when you submit your application.

Assessment of upgrade applications

Once the Authority has received an application form it will be checked to see if it is complete.

The Authority will not lodge an application where an applicant has not used the correct form. The Authority will not lodge applications that do not contain all the required information.

Once the Authority lodges the application, it will acknowledge the application and provide a receipt for the fee.

The lodged application is then allocated to a Technical Advisor who will undertake an assessment of the applicant’s fitness (if required) and competency.

If a fitness assessment is required, a Technical advisor will assess whether or not the applicant is fit to hold a licence.

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

During the course of an assessment as to fitness (if applicable) and competency, a Technical Advisor may contact the applicant if they require further information. They may also interview an applicant to obtain further information or clarification during the assessment process.

A Technical Advisor will not begin to assess the application until they have all the relevant documentation and information.

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.

Please refer to the Licensing Toolkit for further information.

Grant of a licence

The Registrar will approve the 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 the application in accordance with the Act.

If the application is approved, the Authority will send an “Approval in Principle (AIP) subject to levy payment” letter to the applicant. This letter will contain instructions on how to pay the levy.

The levy amount may be calculated pro-rata to reflect any levy already paid; we will advise you of this when you contact us.

If the levy payment is not made within 20 working days, the Registrar may refuse your application under section 19(1) of the Act. This refusal will be noted on the register.

Once the levy has been processed and paid, a licence will be granted. A receipt for the levy and final approval will be emailed to the applicant once the final decision is made.

A licence pack containing a wallet card and licence certificate will be sent to the applicant’s primary business address once a licence is granted. The Register will be updated with the applicant’s details.

Upgraded licences are valid for 12 months from the date the Registrar grants it or the expiry of the previous licence, whichever occurs first.

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.

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