New Zealand Law Society - Fine for unlicensed immigration advice over radio

Fine for unlicensed immigration advice over radio

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Aucklander Alison Yang  (also known as Jenny Fan and Xixia Fan) of Sea Consultants and Investments Ltd has been fined $7,000 after an Immigration Advisers Authority investigation into her history of providing immigration advice through a radio broadcast programme without a licence.

The IAA says Ms Yang was convicted as a result of charges it filed for providing immigration advice when she was neither licensed, nor exempt from the requirement to hold a licence. The second charge related to holding herself out as an immigration adviser, knowing she was not licensed or exempt.

Ms Yang was first convicted in 2014 on the charges before appealing, which resulted in the matter being remitted back to the Auckland District Court. Following resentencing, her appeal to the High Court for permanent name suppression and discharge without conviction was declined in July 2017.

Ms Yang unlawfully broadcast her radio programme to the local Chinese community, many of whom could have been vulnerable to poor immigration advice.

The IAA says the original District Court judgment of March 2014 contains a helpful discussion of what is immigration advice. Among other things, the Court found that, the onus was on the Defendant to prove they were using publicly available information if they were relying on this exception.