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Upgrade

This policy sets out the requirements to upgrade a limited or provisional immigration adviser licence.

Upgrade requirements

A limited or provisional licence holder may apply to upgrade their licence at any time.

A limited licence holder may apply to upgrade to a full licence, or a provisional licence holder may apply to upgrade to a full or limited licence, if:

  • they hold an approved qualification that was commenced in or before February 2015 and completed within the 12 months prior to the upgrade application being lodged, or
  • they hold an approved qualification and they have held a provisional licence for two years.

A person may not apply to upgrade their licence more than three weeks before they have held a provisional licence for 24 months. The Registrar’s decision will not be issued until the person had held a provisional licence for 24 months.

If a provisional or limited licence holder wishes to upgrade their licence when they are due to renew their licence, and they have been asked to provide a client file for inspection as part of their renewal application, they must still provide that client file as part of their upgrade application.

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.

Upgrade application process

Please note that the Upgrade form is currently not available online. The adviser must submit Form 201: Upgrade Application together with the required fee and supporting documentation.

The Authority must receive the licence application either:

  • by mail delivered by a recognised postal service
  • by prepaid courier or
  • over the counter at the office of the Authority, during normal business hours.

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

If the Authority has lodged an upgrade application, but has not assessed it before the date on which the licence would otherwise expire, the 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 below.

Form 201: Upgrade Application

Advisers are required to provide:

  • personal details
  • the type of licence the adviser holds
  • evidence of completion of the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s[3] Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice or Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice
  • the type of licence the adviser wishes to upgrade to
  • contact details and addresses
  • details relating to fitness for licensing
  • details about continuing professional development activities the adviser has completed
  • if applicable, details about the adviser’s operation of their client account
  • if applicable, other matters relating to competency
  • a verified passport-sized photograph
  • the application fee
  • statutory declaration
  • upgrade application checklist.

Personal details

The personal details section requires the adviser 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
  • their date of birth.

The place of residence section requires the applicant to state if they have been in New Zealand lawfully for more than 183 days in the last 12 months.

Type of licence the adviser holds

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

Qualification

A limited licence holder may apply to upgrade to a full licence, or a provisional licence holder may apply to upgrade to a full or limited licence, if:

  • they hold an approved qualification that was commenced in or before February 2015 and completed within the 12 months prior to the upgrade application being lodged, or
  • they hold an approved qualification and they have held a provisional licence for two years.

Type of licence adviser is applying to upgrade to

Advisers who are applying to upgrade their licence must tick whether they are upgrading to a limited or full licence.

Advisers applying to upgrade to a limited licence can choose up to three immigration matters to provide advice on.

Contact details and addresses

The contact details section requires the adviser to provide:

  • the name of their business or employer
  • their current status with the business or employer; for example, if they are a director or volunteer
  • their business address, which is the main location where the applicant conducts their business
  • 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
  • the business phone number, direct dial phone number, mobile phone number, fax number and business email address that the applicant can be contacted on
  • their business website.

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 adviser.

The adviser 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 register.

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

Fitness for licensing

See Licensing Toolkit – Fitness for licensing for more information.

Continuing professional development

Under competency standard 7, advisers who are upgrading their licence must have evidence of at least 20 hours of acceptable continuing professional development (CPD) activities undertaken in the past 12 months.

Further information on Continuing Professional Development Toolkit.

Client funds

The adviser must declare whether they take money in advance.

Advisers who take money in advance must provide:

  • bank statements for their client account for the last three months and
  • the related client account ledger.

Other matters relating to competency

The Authority may request an adviser to provide evidence of a change in practice at the adviser’s next renewal where the adviser has 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 refusal of the application or a complaint.

If the adviser has had a request made by the Authority to change their practice at renewal they must declare this request in section 10 of Form 201 and state how they have satisfied the request made by the Authority.

Photograph

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

A person who has known the adviser for more than 12 months and is not a family member or living at the same address must verify the photograph as a true likeness of the adviser.

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

Fee and levy

The adviser must pay the upgrade application fee when applying for the licence.

For advisers who 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 advisers 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. An adviser can pay their fee and levy by bank draft in New Zealand dollars, EFTPOS, New Zealand issued cheque and Visa or MasterCard.

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 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 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 adviser 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.

If required the Technical Advisor undertakes a fitness assessment (see Licensing Toolkit – Fitness for licensing for more information). The Technical Advisor makes a recommendation to the Registrar who will decide whether an adviser is fit to hold a licence.

Once an adviser 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 adviser if they require further information. They may also interview an adviser to obtain further information or clarification during the assessment process.

The 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.

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.

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.

Footnote

[3] 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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