Frequently asked questions
The information provided within these FAQ’s is for general guidance only and is not intended to amount to legal advice.
How do I update my contact/ business details with the Authority?
You can update your personal or business details online, by logging into your RealMe® account at iaa.govt.nz under "my profile". If you are having difficulties with your account, please contact the service centre for further assistance, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 0508 422422. If you are overseas, you can call +64 9 925 3838.
You must notify the Authority of any changes within 10 working days of the change, per clause 10 of the Code Of Conduct 2014.
When does my licence expire?
Your licence will expire at 11.59pm NZST on the date recorded on the Register of Immigration Advisers. You must submit your renewal application, either via fast track or inspection stream, on or before the date on which your licence expires.
I am having difficulty logging into the online portal, who should I contact?
Our Service Centre will be able to assist you with any difficulties you have logging into / setting up your online account. You can contact the Service Centre via email, email@example.com or call them on Freephone (New Zealand): 0508 422422
From overseas: +64 9 925 3838
How do I stay up to date with news from the Authority?
How do I request a replacement licence ID pack/ my licence ID pack has not arrived?
If you need a replacement licence pack or if you were expecting a licence pack that hasn’t arrived within 3 months, please contact us via email.
I am trying to submit an application via the online portal but have been asked for an activation code. How do I find out my activation code?
Please call the Service Centre for assistance on Freephone (New Zealand): 0508 422422
From overseas: +64 9 925 3838
I plan to leave my current employment and start up my own immigration practice. What are my obligations in terms of maintaining copies of the client files I was working on?
It is individual advisers, and not companies, who are licensed under the Act. Therefore, it is an adviser’s individual responsibility to ensure that he or she complies with all aspects of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2014 (the Code). To illustrate, it is a requirement for an adviser to maintain each client file for a period of no less than 7 years from closing the file, and make those records available for inspection on request by the Authority in line with Clause 26(e) of the Code.
Therefore, where you have provided immigration advice to clients, you are personally responsible for maintaining a complete client file relating to that advice for 7 years. We would encourage you to obtain legal advice for further assistance if you have any concerns regarding your contractual and Code obligations.
I plan to leave my current employment and start up my own immigration practice. What are my obligations towards my current clients who may have to go to another immigration adviser as a result of my resignation?
With respect to terminating your services with your clients, you (as the licensed immigration adviser) must ensure that you have complied with clause 28 of the Code, specifically that:
- the termination of services, for any reason, is confirmed to the client in writing
- where they cease to act for the client for any reason other than the completion of agreed services, they inform Immigration New Zealand or the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, as appropriate, that they are no longer representing the client, and
- if, for any reason, the adviser cannot continue to act for the client, the adviser fully updates the client on the status of their immigration matter and advises them of where they could get assistance.
In addition, should the new immigration adviser representing your former client need to obtain any of the application-related documents or communications in your possession which would enable them to assist the client, then such information/ documents/ communications must be released to them as per clause 26(f) of the Code. In this regard, however, please also be mindful of the provisions of the Privacy Act 2020, where relevant.
I work for several businesses, do I have to notify the Authority of all of them even if they are not my primary business?
Yes. An adviser 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 those other business(es). Alternatively, if there are any changes during their licensing period, they must notify the Registrar in writing as soon as practicable, but not later than 10 working days after the change as stipulated by Section 26 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007, and 10(e) of the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct 2014.
I hold an immigration adviser's licence. I would like to know whether, if I am contracted to provide services to a lawyer, I would be able to retain my licence.
Non-lawyer employees of law firms or lawyers are included as ‘lawyers’ for purposes of the section 11(e) exemption of lawyers in the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (the Act). This is because:
- Non-lawyer employees of law firms cannot give advice to clients on their own account and
- In terms of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, it is the lawyer employer who is actually responsible for providing the advice to the client, not the employee.
This means that in respect of the work undertaken as an employee of a law firm or lawyer, non-lawyer employees are exempted as ‘lawyers’ under the Act and prohibited from holding an immigration adviser’s licence (section 11(e) and section 12(6) of the Act). The conduct of an employee of a law firm or a lawyer is subject to the regulations of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 and the New Zealand Law Society.
Therefore, unless the licence is surrendered under section 31 of the Act before taking up employment with the law firm, the Registrar must cancel the licence if he is satisfied that a licensee is prohibited under section 12(6) of the Act from holding a licence (section 27(1)(a) of the Act).
The above provisions do not apply if you are an independent contractor and not an employee of a lawyer/law firm. Therefore, your ability to keep your immigration adviser’s licence would depend on your contractual arrangement and status with the law firm / lawyer.
I am an offshore licensed adviser. I would like to know whether I am exempt from the provisions of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2017 and the Code of Conduct 2014 when providing immigration advice related to student visa applications.
No. Licensed advisers working outside of New Zealand cannot ‘choose’ to be exempt for the purpose of a student visa application. Once an adviser is licensed they must abide by the Code of Conduct and all their obligations as a licensed adviser in respect of all immigration advice and assistance they provide.
I am a licensed adviser; however I wish to provide advice to a close family member. The advice will be provided in a family context only, not systematically or for a fee. Do I still need to follow the provisions of the Code of Conduct in such a case?
Yes. As a licensed immigration adviser, you will be expected to adhere to all aspects of the Code and carry out the duties expected of a licensed adviser when you are providing immigration advice. You are bound by this duty when you are a licensed immigration adviser and it cannot be absolved unless you surrender your licence or let it expire.
How do I apply for not-for-profit status?
Please review the information available online to assess if you are eligible to apply for not-for-profit status. If you believe you are eligible to apply as an individual or as an employee/volunteer of a not-for-profit organisation you will need to complete application form 501.
I am due to renew my licence, do I need to re-apply for not-for-profit status?
Yes. If you believe you still qualify for not-for-profit status, you must complete and submit application form 501 for consideration two (2) months prior to the expiry of your licence.
Licensing: Initial Provisional
I have completed the entry course requirements to apply for a provisional licence, but am still waiting for overseas police checks. Can I still submit my application for assessment?
No. If you submit an application to the Authority without the required documentation, we will not lodge your application for assessment. You will be notified that your application has been refused as incomplete.
If I am granted a full licence when I apply to upgrade my provisional licence, can I supervise provisional licence holders?
If you apply to upgrade your licence at renewal, and you are granted a full licence you may then consider acting as a supervisor to potential provisional licence holders.
When considering “sufficient experience as an immigration adviser” it is expected that the proposed supervisor meets the competency standards to hold a full licence. There is currently no requirement that a supervisor must hold a full licence for a specified period of time.
A supervisor must also ensure that they comply with clause 12 of the Code of Conduct, in addition to all other prescribed aspects of the Code.
I am a provisional licence holder and I currently have no clients. Do I still need to hold regular meetings with my supervisor?
Yes. In terms of the Code of Conduct 2014, both the provisional licence holder and their supervisor must adhere to their supervision agreement (clauses 12(c) and 13(a) respectively).Your supervision agreement will contain a provision under which you and your supervisor must hold regular supervision meetings. The purpose of such meetings is not only to discuss client cases, but also to discuss various topics relevant to your practice and development as an immigration adviser, such as: provisions of the Immigration Act, immigration instructions (and changes thereto); discussions of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act, IACDT and IPT case law; provisions of the Code of Conduct, et cetera. Supervision meetings are intended to have an additional educational purpose, and are not solely intended for discussions of ongoing client cases.
I am a provisional licence holder and need to submit an amended or new supervision agreement to the Authority for approval, how do I do that?
You can submit an updated or new supervision agreement for approval by logging into your RealMe® account at iaa.govt.nz under 'my profile'. and submitting a change of supervisor request. You must also upload your new/amended supervision agreement and completed Form 101A- Supervision Arrangement application. If you are having difficulties with your account, please contact the Service Centre for further assistance, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on Freephone (New Zealand): 0508 422422 From overseas: +64 9 925 3838
I have been asked to provide a client file for inspection, what do I need to provide?
Please refer to the inspection checklist included at the end of the application form / attached to your renewal letter. If you are unable to provide complete documentation, please provide further information in your application cover letter for consideration.
I am having difficulty uploading my client file with my application. Can I submit it via email?
Yes. You may submit your client file via email to email@example.com. Please note that our size limit for emails including attachments is 20MB. If possible, please reduce the size of your email or attachments. If you are sending multiple attachments, please send them in batches. Please label these accordingly (e.g. Emailing attachments: Part 1 of 3) so we can confirm receipt of your complete response.
I would like to send a hard copy of my client file for inspection, what address should I courier it to?
You may send a hard copy of your client file to:
Immigration Advisers Authority - MBIE
167b Victoria Street
Please note your file should be received by the Authority within 5 business days of your submitted application.
I am trying to submit an application via the online portal but have been asked for an activation code. How to I find out my activation code?
Please call the Service Centre for assistance on Freephone (New Zealand): 0508 422422
From overseas: +64 9 925 3838
If I terminate my supervision agreement or surrender my provisional licence, will I still need to complete 24 months under direct supervision before I can upgrade?
Yes. If you terminate your supervision agreement or surrender your provisional licence, time stops for the purpose of calculating the 24 month period to upgrade to a full licence.
For example, Sam was granted an initial provisional licence on 12/1/2018, valid until 11/1/2019. Sam wanted a break from practising as an adviser so he voluntarily surrendered his licence on 12/6/2018.
In late 2019, Sam decided he wanted to practise as an adviser again and successfully reapplied for a provisional licence. Sam wants to know when he would be eligible to upgrade.
In terms of calculating the 24 month period on a provisional licence, Sam would have already accumulated 5 months having held a provisional licence (12/1/2018-12/6/2018). Sam would require an additional 19 months of supervision in order to meet the 24 month supervision requirements.
I am eligible to upgrade my licence at next renewal, do I need to provide a client file for inspection?
If you received an inspection renewal notice from the Authority, you must provide the requested client file and any other information required to the Authority with your upgrade application. You may not submit your upgrade application more than 3 weeks prior to your licence expiry date.
I am eligible to upgrade my licence at my next renewal. I have not received an inspection selection notice. What information should I provide?
The upgrade application is a paper-based application, which specifies what information is required from you (see the checklist at the end of the application form). In addition, in order to avoid experiencing delays with your upgrade application, please ensure that you provide the Authority with your Supervision Records for the three months preceding the submission of your upgrade application, including your fully completed Professional Development Plan signed off by your supervisor (Your PDP should be contained within your Supervision Agreement approved by the Registrar).
It is also advisable that your reflections should include a covering letter from you and your supervisor addressing your supervision arrangement: i.e. how did you and your supervisor comply with your supervision agreement; feedback regarding the supervision scheme as a whole, the challenges you faced whilst practising under supervision, and your professional development over the past 24 months.
I have received my results transcript confirming I have passed the Diploma, can I submit my upgrade application?
No. You must be awarded the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice by Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology before you can submit your upgrade application. A transcript of results, without confirmation of the award, is insufficient.
I have worked under supervision for nearly 24 months. My provisional licence is about to expire. Should I submit both a renewal application and an upgrade application at the same time?
No. If you are intending to upgrade your licence on your licence anniversary date, then you must submit an upgrade application instead of a renewal application. Please do not submit both.
I obtained my initial licence under the TTMRA. I have not been awarded the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice. Does this mean that I cannot meet the requirements for an upgrade after I have been working under supervision for 24 months?
If you gained your initial provisional licence under TTMRA, you will not be required to complete a qualification before you can upgrade. You can leave out the sections of the upgrade application form which require you to specify your qualifications.
I renewed my provisional licence quite recently. I wish to submit an upgrade application. Do I have to pay the application fee and levy again?
You will have to pay the upgrade application fee, because you are submitting a new application. However, your levy payment maybe calculated pro-rata.
Do I have to upgrade my licence after practising on a provisional licence for at least 24 months?
No. Currently, it is not a compulsory requirement that you submit an upgrade application if you have practised on a provisional licence for at least 24 months. Some advisers require more time under direct supervision of a fully licensed adviser or feel that they need more time to gain the necessary skills and experience to practise on their own account.
Licensing: Trade Mark
Can I use the Trade Mark in my email and on my website?
Yes. However you must ensure that the Trade Mark is displayed in accordance with the Trade Mark Agreement per clause 32 of the Code of Conduct.
I am providing immigration advice for different businesses, can I use the Trade Mark in my signature/credentials for each business?
Yes. However, you must have notified the Authority of any secondary businesses you are associated with prior to using the Trade Mark. You can notify the Authority of any secondary businesses by logging into your account via the online portal at iaa.govt.nz.
Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement
I was first granted a NZ immigration adviser licence under TTMRA and I have let it expire. How do I re-enter into the profession?
When you let your NZ licence expire you need to submit a 're-apply' application to re-enter into the profession.
If your licence has expired less than 12 months ago: You can reapply online. In addition, you will have to provide a copy of the Section 19 Notice. The Section 19 Notice is contained within FORM 401A
If your licence has expired more than 12 months ago: You cannot reapply online. You will need to complete FORM 401
Please note that this is a paper-based application, which you will have to send to the Authority via post, courier, or e-mail.
Please ensure that when you submit a re-apply application, you are registered as a Migration Agent.
Can I apply for a NZ Immigration Advisers Licence under TTMRA if I am a lawyer in Australia?
Yes. Lawyers who hold an Australian practising certificate and are registered Australian Migration Agents may apply to become a New Zealand Immigration Adviser. If you hold a New Zealand practising certificate you cannot be licensed as an immigration adviser.
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.
What if I forget to renew my Migration Agent registration whilst holding a NZ Immigration Advisers Licence?
If you hold a current New Zealand Immigration Advisers Licence and during that time you allow your Migration Agent registration to expire, you may still renew your New Zealand Immigration Advisers Licence provided that you apply for it on or before the date that licence expires. If you no longer hold a New Zealand Immigration Advisers Licence and you are no longer a Registered Migration Agent, you must ensure that you register as a Migration Agent before you submit an application to re-enter into the profession through the TTMRA scheme.
From 22 March 2021, 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 re-apply for a NZ Immigration Advisers Licence under the provisions of the TTMRA.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
How many CPD hours do I need to complete each year?
You must complete 20 hours CPD per licensing period, this includes one mandatory activity. For example, if your licence period is 20/01/2020-19/01/2021, you must complete 20 hours CPD during that licensing period. The CPD toolkit provides further guidance on acceptable CPD activities.
How do I register for IAA webinars?
You can register for upcoming Webinars online. You will receive a link via email to join the live session.
Does watching a recording of a past IAA webinar meet the mandatory activity requirement?
Yes. However, the recording should fall within your applicable licensing period. We strongly recommend that you watch a recording of a webinar with another adviser so you get the most value from the session.
How do I keep records of CPD?
You can maintain your CPD plan and record online, by logging into your RealMe® account at iaa.govt.nz. You can also upload evidence of each activity completed. You may also keep your own records. Further guidance on what should be included in your CPD plan and record is available in the CPD toolkit.