NZ Immigration watchdog message to Samoa, Tonga and Fiji: “Use NZ Licensed Immigration Advisors only”
Next week, the Registrar for New Zealand’s Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), Ms Catherine Albiston, will travel to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga.
The IAA is the agency responsible for issuing licences to overseas NZ immigration advisers and handles complaints about poor immigration advice. It was set up to promote and protect the interests of people receiving New Zealand immigration advice. However, the IAA does not provide immigration advice.
Her visit is part of an IAA campaign pushing the message to Samoans, Tongans and Fijians, “Anyone seeking New Zealand immigration advice should only use a licensed adviser or an exempt person.”
Ms Albiston is hoping to increase these Pacific communities awareness and understanding on the risks associated with using unlicensed advisers.
“Unfortunately, there are people who operate unlawfully and are unlicensed. With the amount of information available in today’s world, it can be difficult deciphering who to trust,” Ms Albiston said in a press statement issued today.”
Licensed advisers explained Ms Albiston, have specialist expertise and have met competency standards. They follow a code of conduct that requires them to be honest and respectful.
“That’s why the IAA offers a free register of licensed advisers on our website. Anyone seeking New Zealand immigration advice should only use a licensed adviser or an exempt person.”
Tiatia Roberta Tiatia of Lototau Immigration Agency, who holds the distinction of IAA’s first licensed Advisor based in Samoa, will meet with Ms Albiston and her team next week.
Ms Albiston said the reason why people should consult only with licensed operators like Tiatia Roberta is they are the only people who are allowed to provide the public with NZ Immigration advice.
“People who are not licensed or exempt can share publicly available information or help friends and family occasionally, but cannot provide immigration advice,” she said.
Since 2009, the IAA has been annually surveying visa applicants who have used a licensed immigration adviser.
In September 2015, results showed that more than eight out of 10 migrants surveyed were satisfied with the quality of service they received from their licensed immigration adviser, and 86 percent were happy to recommend their adviser to others looking to migrate to New Zealand.
Commenting on the 2015 results, Ms Albiston said “Licensed Immigration Advisers have specialist expertise, have met competency standards, and follow a professional code of conduct. They work hard to provide the best advice possible to migrants. It’s great to see their work being recognised.
“It’s also pleasing to see that over the last three years, small improvements have been seen in seven adviser performance areas – primarily relating to written agreements and information provision.”
The survey also showed that more than eight out of 10 applicants agreed that as a result of using a licensed adviser their impression of New Zealand as a migration destination was positive and they felt their interests as a consumer were protected.
Tiatia Roberta Tiatia can be contacted on Em: firstname.lastname@example.org | Ph:+685-31897 | Mob: +6857781903 | PO Box 2597, Apia, Samoa