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Friday, December 28, 2012

Seeking immigration advice to New Zealand


To help complete a visa application and assist with their travel, some people seek advice from a number of different organisations – for example immigration consultants, lawyers or other businesses specialising in acting as an immigration adviser for migrants.

If you lodge an application with INZ and you are using an unlicensed adviser, or someone not exempt from licensing, we will refuse to accept your application.

Who needs a licence?

The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 requires that anyone providing immigration advice has to be licensed, unless exempt. For a list of exempt people, see below.

All immigration advisers need to be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority, unless exempt. 

How do I know if my adviser is licensed, or exempt?

To become licensed, an adviser must apply to the Immigration Advisers Authority. Licensed advisers are listed on the register of licensed immigration advisers. To see the register, go to www.iaa.govt.nz.

If an adviser is not on the register of licensed advisers and they are not exempt, any applications they make on behalf of a client will be returned, and we will advise the Registrar of the Immigration Advisers Authority.

Advisers who are waiting for a licensing decision from the Registrar are considered unlicensed.

Is an adviser licensed if they have approval in principle from the Registrar that they are a licensed adviser but they are not listed on the register of licensed advisers?

No. Until your adviser’s name appears on the register, then your adviser is not licensed.

If you submit an application to Immigration New Zealand, we would detect that your adviser is unlicensed and refuse to accept your application.

Who is exempt?

The following individuals do not need a licence to give immigration advice.

People providing informal/family advice

A person is exempt if they provided immigration advice in an informal or family context only, where the advice was not provided systematically or for a fee.

MPs and their staff

A person is exempt if they are a New Zealand member of Parliament or a member of their staff who provided immigration advice as part of their employment agreement.

Foreign diplomats or consular staff

A person is exempt if they are a foreign diplomat or consular staff accorded protection as such under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1968 or the Consular Privileges and Immunities Act 1971.

New Zealand public servants

A person is exempt if they are an employee of the New Zealand public service who provided immigration advice within the scope of their employment agreement.

Lawyers

A person is exempt if they are a lawyer who holds a current practising certificate as a barrister or as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

For more information and to view practising immigration lawyers, go to the ‘Find a lawyer or organisation’ link on the New Zealand Law Society website.

New Zealand community law centre employees

A person is exempt if they are employed by or working as a volunteer for a New Zealand community law centre where at least one lawyer is on the employing body of the community law centre or is employed by or working as a volunteer for the community law centre in a supervisory capacity.

Citizens Advice Bureau employees and volunteers

A person is exempt if they are a person employed by or working as a volunteer for a New Zealand citizens advice bureau.

Offshore advice relating to student applications

A person is exempt if they provide immigration advice offshore in relation to applications or potential applications for student visas only.

Questions and answers

What does the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (the Act) do?

The Act aims to protect consumers and enhance the reputation of New Zealand as a migration destination.  The Act creates a framework for the regulation of individuals providing immigration advice both onshore and offshore.

The Immigration Advisers Authority (the Authority), headed by a Registrar, was established within the Department of Labour in 2007 to oversee the licensing of immigration advisers (www.iaa.govt.nz). Competency standards and a code of conduct setting out the standards required of immigration advisers have been developed.  A disciplinary tribunal (the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal) has also been established within the Ministry of Justice.

What is immigration advice?

Immigration advice is:
  • using, or purporting to use, knowledge of or experience in immigration to advise, direct, assist or represent another person in regard to an immigration matter relating to New Zealand, whether directly or indirectly and whether or not for gain or reward.
Immigration advice is not: 
  • Providing information that is publicly available or that is prepared or made available by Immigration New Zealand through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, or
  • Directing a person to the Minister or the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, or an immigration officer, a refugee status officer, or a list of licensed immigration advisers, or
  • Carrying out clerical work, translation or interpreting services, or settlement services.

Are all immigration clients required to use an immigration adviser?

No.  An immigration client can fill in the application form themselves.  If they choose to use the services of an adviser, then you need to state this on your application and ensure that your immigration adviser provides their details and signs the declaration section.

Will INZ prioritise my application if I use a licensed adviser?

No.  Applications from licensed advisers are treated the same as any other application.

More information

For more information about who needs to be licensed, or to view the register of licensed advisers, go to the Immigration Advisers Authority website www.iaa.govt.nz, emailinfo@iaa.govt.nz, or write to them at PO Box 6222, Wellesley Street, Auckland 1141, New Zealand.
Source: http://www.immigration.govt.nz 

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