New Zealand Law Society - Immigration advisers advised to be careful with student visas

Immigration advisers advised to be careful with student visas

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Licensed immigration advisers who are offshore and who have exempt staff dealing with student visas need to take care, the Immigration Advisers Authority says in its latest newsletter.

It says if clients are led to believe they will be getting the service a licensed adviser, the licensed adviser needs to make sure that they deal with the clients and do not delegate the work to an exempt staff member.

"If you have clients coming to your offices for services relating to student visas and exempt staff members are dealing with them, as the licensed adviser, you need to make sure the client is very clear they are not getting the services of a licensed adviser or any protections of the licensing regime," the newsletter says.

"When the student visa application is submitted to Immigration New Zealand, it needs to be very clear if it is being submitted by the licensed adviser, or the exempt person. It cannot be both. For example, the licensed adviser shouldn't be writing the cover letter when the exempt staff member is declared as the representative in Section B3.

"An application cannot be submitted in the company's name alone. It has to be submitted in the name of an individual licensed adviser or the exempt staff. If a licensed adviser subsequently engages with INZ on behalf of the application (eg. in response to a PPI letter), they must provide notification to INZ that they are now acting as the representative for the application."

The Authority says exempt staff members should not be using letterhead that references a licensed adviser. It says this is confusing and makes it unclear as to whether the letter is from the licensed adviser or exempt person.

Immigration New Zealand will now also be working to ensure that it is clear who is submitting student visa applications.