Press Release – Immigration Advisers Authority
A migrant conned out of his life savings by an immigration consultancy was refunded after his niece complained to the Immigration Advisers Authority. Na Jia explained her uncle approached Sea Consultants and Investments Limited for help applying for …27 October 2011
Justice for Migrant Duped By Immigration Consultancy
A migrant conned out of his life savings by an immigration consultancy was refunded after his niece complained to the Immigration Advisers Authority.
Na Jia explained her uncle approached Sea Consultants and Investments Limited for help applying for a work visa so he could work as a chef in New Zealand and support his daughter through university.
Proprietor Jenny Fan negotiated fees of $20,000 – four times Sea Consultant’s usual charge of $5,000 and seventeen times the industry median of $1,150.
At the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal, it was found the inflated fee was likely to be either an attempt to overcharge a naïve person or for inducing an employer to provide a job.
Sea Consultants provided a fake contract to the chef and forged the signature of the firm’s only licensed immigration adviser on the visa application.
Wei Wang, a junior in the profession, remained unaware her identity was being hijacked but was struck off by the tribunal last week for failure to:
• supervise staff effectively
• address the client’s situation when she became aware of it.
The tribunal stated:
“Ms Wang’s failure was the result of being hopelessly out of her depth.
“The most concerning aspect of Ms Wang’s conduct was her failure to intervene when she knew the Uncle had been grossly overcharged. However, I am satisfied Ms Wang was influenced and manipulated by persons she regarded as senior and to be respected, and actively deceived.”
The tribunal ordered Ms Wang to pay a penalty of $2,000 and prevented her from reapplying for a full immigration adviser’s licence for two years.
Immigration Advisers Authority Registrar Barry Smedts says this was an excellent example of why migrants should complain if they feel they have been misled and check the Authority’s website for average fees charged by immigration consultants.
He said: “This case saw a man’s life savings being restored to him after complaining to us.
“Migrants who have been mistreated have a clear choice: they can fill out a simple four-page complaints form and have a chance of getting their money back or they can remain silent and bear the loss.
“If you’re unsure about your situation, give us a call on freephone 0508 422 422.”
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.