The last few months have seen several cases where immigration advisers have been punished for poor service to clients.  The latest was the case of Wei Wang at Sea Consultants.  The Tribunal which considers such complaints reported overcharging and “systematic dishonesty” by the business owner, Jenny Fan.  However, it was the licensed adviser who was fined and had their license taken away.

The case highlights an underlying problem with some immigration advice services, where an unlicensed person is actually running the show behind a legitimate licensed adviser who is just an employee.  There are other cases where licensed advisers allow others in their firm to carry on work which the adviser doesn’t know about – or doesn’t bother to find out – as in the case of Artika Devi who I refer to in a recent industry seminar.

In order to have more certainty that you will not get ripped off, check that an immigration adviser has a current Immigration Advisers Authority license.  Make sure that you get to deal with them directly at least near the start of your case.  Most of the people who are licensed do a good job.  The bad eggs are being knocked out one by one.  As Chairman of the NZ Association for Migration and Investment I have observed the standards of professionalism of the best advisers increase dramatically since mandatory licensing came in.

The others to trust are, of course, immigation lawyers like us at LaurentLaw who have to abide by the Law Society professional rules of conduct.  However, the mere fact of being a lawyer does not mean that they are a good immigration lawyer.  Do not be afraid to ask the lawyer how much specific immigration experience they have.  If they are good at what they do they should be happy to tell you.