REGISTRAR of the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) Catherine Albiston visited the Philippines this month to advise communities of the importance of only using licensed or exempt advisers when seeking New Zealand immigration advice.
“New Zealand is a popular destination for Filipino migrants to work, study, or visit, but it may not be common knowledge that anyone who needs help completing a New Zealand visa application must get advice from the right person,” said Ms Albiston.
“There is no requirement to use an immigration adviser, however, if visa applicants need help then only a licensed immigration adviser or exempt person can assist.Exempt persons include Immigration New Zealand staff, current New Zealand lawyers, and education agents for student visas only.”
Ms Albiston visited Manila and Cebu as part of an IAA campaign to increase awareness of the IAA’s licensed adviser register and list of exempt persons, and the risks associated with using unlicensed advisers.
“Unfortunately there are people who operate unlawfully and provide advice without a license, which can result in a distressing situation for the visa applicant and their family,” added Ms Albiston.
“With the amount of information available in today’s world, it can be difficult knowing who to trust, which is why the IAA offers a register of licensed advisers on the website.
“Licensed advisers have specialist expertise and have met competency standards. They follow a code of conduct that requires them to be honest and respectful.
“People who are not licensed or exempt, including POEA agencies, can share publicly available information, but cannot provide immigration advice.”
Visa applicants can use a checklist before they choose who provides them with advice.
The IAA is responsible for issuing licenses to advisers and handling complaints about poor immigration advice. The IAA does not provide immigration advice. A person’s immigration status will not be affected by contacting the IAA.