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Licensed Immigration Advisers prove their worth

The Immigration Advisors’ Regime appears to be working well with an increasing number of potential migrants using the services of licensed advisers, according to Immigration Advisers Authority 2010 Survey.

It said clients of licensed immigration advisers expressed satisfaction and were happy with the services provided by authorised consultants.

The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 covering immigration consultants and advisers operating in New Zealand has been in force from May 4, 2009. It became effective for offshore immigration advisers from May 4, 2010.

Lawyers rendering immigration services are exempt from the requirement.

The latest Survey found that only 3% of the respondents had sought the services of unlicensed immigration advisers but Immigration New Zealand does not consider applications filed by such advisers after the law came into force.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers Barry Smedts said that about 75% of the participants in the Survey said they were satisfied with the services received from licensed immigration advisers, accounting for an increase of 12% over the Survey conducted last year.

“It would seem that the benefits of immigration adviser licensing are being increasingly seen by migrants considering New Zealand as their destination,” he said.

The New Zealand Immigration Authority, established to govern the conduct of immigration advisers is a statutory body independent of government control and is distinct from the day-to-day activities of Immigration New Zealand.

Mr Smedts said effective communication was the key to the changed scenario.

Licensed immigration advisers are now required to be more transparent, provide proper information to their clients and inform them of their rights and responsibilities.

Immigration advisers are allowed to fix their own fee but they should comply with all provisions of the Act.

“These areas are all key competencies that advisers must be able to demonstrate before they are licensed to give immigration advice. We are pleased that our expectations of adviser performance are mirrored in migrants’ actual experiences with their advisers,” Mr Smedts said.

The Survey also found 79% of the respondents were happy to recommend the services of their advisers to other family members and friends.

“This is particularly pleasing, considering a migrant is more likely to consult a licensed immigration adviser if their personal circumstances are more complex,” Mr Smedts said.

Editor’s Note: For detailed analyses of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 and experts’ opinions, read our Immigration Advisers Special published in Indian Newslink, February 1, 2010. Read our Editorial, Immigration needs another shake up on Page 12.

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