NEW Zealand is urging Filipinos to deal only with licensed advisers when seeking immigration help to enter their country.
“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. I would urge anyone seeking New Zealand immigration advice to use only a licensed adviser or exempt person,” said Catherine Abiston of New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA).
Exempted persons include immigration New Zealand staff, current New Zealand lawyers and education agents for student visas only. A register of free licensed advisers is available on the IAA website.
According to Abiston, licensed advisers have special 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,” said Abiston, adding that dealing with unlicensed advisers can result in distressing situations for visa applicants and their families.
Visa applicants can use their checklist before they choose who provides them with advice, she noted.
The IAA is responsible for issuing licenses to advisers and handling complaints about poor immigration advice.
New Zealand boasts of a large Filipino community. More than one percent of the New Zealand population is composed of Filipinos, making it the third largest and fastest growing Asian community in New Zealand. The current population of New Zealand is at 4.7 million.
New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan noted that most overseas Filipino workers in New Zealand work in professional services.
Moreover, more Filipinos also pick New Zealand to pursue their education. More than 4,000 Filipino students study in New Zealand, the fifth largest source of students worldwide.
The number of Filipino students choosing to study in New Zealand universities has risen by 35 percent in 2017 alone, according to Education New Zealand regional director John Laxon.
Filipinos choose New Zealand universities because of the quality of education being offered, safe and welcoming environment, and the global opportunities that await graduates, he noted.
Laxon said there is a promising education market for New Zealand after it saw a more than a thousand students registered for the New Zealand Education Fair hosted by Golden Summit Immigration Consultancy last Oct. 7.
“Filipinos pursuing their education in New Zealand are learning from some of the best education institutions in the world,” he said.
Top courses picked by Filipino students are business management, health studies and niche programs like animation and software development.
New Zealand offers 24 post graduate scholarships for qualified Filipino students to study agriculture, renewable energy and disaster risk management.