New Zealand Law Society - Unlicensed immigration adviser pleads guilty

Unlicensed immigration adviser pleads guilty

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An Auckland man has pleaded guilty to five charges laid by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), it says.

Timothy Joseph Spooner appeared in Papakura District Court on 24 May 2019, facing four representative charges of providing immigration advice without being licensed or exempt and one representative charge of asking for or receiving a fee.

The charges related to advice provided on student, visitor, work and residence visa applications as well as an appeal to the Immigration & Protection Tribunal.

“This is an example of someone who has been failing to meet the requirements of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007, despite repeated reminders, a formal interview, caution and warning and plenty of advice from the IAA over a long period of time,” says Andrew Galloway, the Registrar of Immigration Advisers.

Mr Galloway says he is concerned for the risk posed to migrants and the public when the Act is breached.

“The IAA will hold people to account where they continue to flagrantly flaunt the requirements of the Act. At the heart of our cases is the protection of migrants who often come to harm where unlicensed advice is given. This also has a flow on effect to the reputation of New Zealand as a migrant destination.”

The IAA investigates complaints made by the public about unlicensed immigration advice. Individuals found breaking the law can face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Mr Spooner will appear for sentencing at the Manukau District Court in August.

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