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Unlicensed adviser awaits verdict

A South Auckland man who reportedly provided immigration advice without obtaining a valid licence from the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) is awaiting his fate.

Hakaoro Hakaoro, a 54-year-old man from the South Auckland suburb of Mangere pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him by IAA at the Court on October 9.

He admitted six counts of providing immigration advice without a licence and one count of holding himself out as an immigration adviser.

Mr Hakaoro is to appear for sentencing on November 22, 2013.

The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 requires all persons establishing themselves as immigration advisers for a fee should be licenced by IAA. The Auckland based Authority has a set of parameters based on which it issues licences to individuals, allowing them to set up immigration practice. They are bound by an elaborate code of conduct and run the risk of punitive action for any breach.

Their license is subject to renewal every year.

Since the law came into force a few years ago, offices of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) located in various parts of the world accept applications filed only by licensed advisers. Individuals and companies can however apply directly for obtaining various services, complying with the set procedures.

Lawyers are however exempt from the licence regime.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers Barry Smedts said: “The success of this case hinged on Pacific people speaking out and working with our investigators to build a strong case. We encourage others to speak up if they have received poor immigration advice.”

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