New Zealand Law Society - Unlicensed immigration advice in Pacific targeted

Unlicensed immigration advice in Pacific targeted

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Pacific communities continue to be highly represented among victims of unlicensed immigration advice, the Immigration Advisers Authority says.

Eight of the 12 prosecutions the Authority has taken involved victims in the Tongan, Fijian and Samoan communities.

Authority Registrar Catherine Albiston says a campaign has been launched to increase awareness in Pacific Island communities of the importance of only using licensed or exempt people when seeking New Zealand advice.

Ms Albiston travelled to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga in January to promote the message through local media, and radio advertisements have run in New Zealand and the three countries, along with a social media advertising campaign.

"The combined communications effort has been very successful, with our ads reaching more than 200,000 people and more than 15,000 extra visits to the IAA website so far. Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga have all moved into the top four countries that mostly visited the IAA website, replacing India and the United States," she says.

"We take unlicensed immigration advice seriously and are working proactively not only to identify and prosecute unlicensed advisers, but to increase community awareness of the risks of using unlicensed advisers to help people make better decisions when seeking immigration help."

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