INDEPENDENT NEWS

Justice for overstayers

Published: Fri 21 Oct 2011 09:49 AM
Justice for overstayers
21 October 2011
Overstayers caught in visa scams can seek justice through the Immigration Advisers Authority.
Reports are received in complete confidence.
“Overstayers don’t need to be afraid,” says Registrar Barry Smedts.
“We have no power to deport them. We are not part of Immigration New Zealand – they make decisions on visas and we deal with visa scams. All we are interested in is bringing illegal immigration advisers to justice.”
In the last two months, the Authority has helped consumers win more than $80,000 in fees and compensation through the tribunal.
To report a scam involving an immigration adviser who’s not licensed, write or email the Authority explaining exactly what happened, giving dates and as much evidence as you can.
Reports can be made by the overstayer or a friend or family member.
If there is enough evidence, the case may go to court.
If the complaint is about a licensed immigration adviser, the case goes to a tribunal where compensation may be awarded.
Mr. Smedts says: “The advantage of using a licensed immigration adviser is you are more likely to get your money back. It comes down to a simple choice. If you choose to report the case to us, you may get justice and your money back but if you don’t report it you won’t get either. ”
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…
Make sure you’re getting the best immigration advice or your money back.
1. Use the Authority's online register or call freephone 0508 422 422 to find a licensed immigration adviser or consultant.
2. Report any scams carried out by unlicensed immigration advisers in a letter to:
The Immigration Advisers Authority
Attention: Complaints
PO Box 6222
Auckland 1141
or in an email to: info@iaa.govt.nz.
3. Complain about a licensed immigration adviser by completing a complaints form and returning it to the above address. Forms are downloadable or can be posted on request.
About the Immigration Advisers Authority
The Immigration Advisers Authority was set up in May 2008 to regulate immigration advice both nationally and internationally.
It is responsible for:
• overseeing the licensing of immigration advisers.
• receiving complaints about licensed and unlicensed immigration advisers.
• investigating and taking action against those breaching immigration advice law.
• maintaining a register of licensed immigration advisers.
Under the Immigration Licensing Act 2007 anyone giving immigration advice must have a licence unless they are an exempt person. Exempt people include lawyers and those working at Citizens’ Advice Bureaus among others.
ENDS

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