Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Immigration adviser stripped of licence - withheld passport

24 December 2012

Immigration adviser stripped of licence for withholding passport

An Auckland immigration adviser is to be stripped of his licence after withholding a migrant's passport in lieu of fees.

Clients of Richard Uday Prakash, of Vital Consulting 2007 Limited, should be aware that his immigration adviser licence will be cancelled from Friday 25 January 2013.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal found Mr Prakash was not entitled to the fees he claimed he was owed and should not have withheld the migrant’s passport under these or any circumstances.

Mr Prakash was asked to apply for a migrant’s work visa and tried several times without success.

The migrant, with a visa set to expire, booked a flight to Fiji to avoid being in the country illegally.

Close to the time the migrant was required to leave New Zealand, Mr Prakash withheld the migrant’s passport, to force him to pay a fee claimed to be owing.

The migrant tried repeatedly to regain his passport. He remained in Mr Prakash’s Dominion Road office for two hours, contacted the police and made a complaint to the Immigration Advisers Authority.

The Tribunal chair said: "It is intolerable for a licensed immigration adviser to be a party to making it impossible for a person to leave New Zealand and meet their obligations under New Zealand law.

"Such conduct is aggravated when the motive is to pressure a person to make payments to them."

Licensed immigration advisers must return migrants’ personal documents when they ask. The Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct also requires advisers to sign a written agreement with their clients before carrying out work or accepting payment. In the agreement the adviser must explain what work they will carry out and specify all the accompanying fees and costs.

Mr Prakash failed to provide a second written agreement before carrying out additional work.

The Tribunal chair said failing to have a written agreement was significant but withholding a passport was far more serious.

The chair said: "Mr Prakash was guilty of a serious professional offence on clear evidence. It has elements of both dishonesty and undermining New Zealand's immigration system.

He was fully aware of his professional obligations when he offended. In the course of the complaint being addressed by the Tribunal, he has showed lack of respect for the regulatory processes which govern his profession.

He blames his former clients for his own misconduct, and has directed unpleasant and personal abuse toward them, without justification, during the course of addressing the complaint.

The Tribunal ordered the licence of Mr Prakash to be cancelled with effect from Friday 25 January 2013. After this time he can no longer provide immigration advice. He was also prevented from reapplying for a licence for two years and ordered to pay a $2,500 penalty.

Mr Prakash has been given time to make arrangements for substitute licensed immigration advisers to take on his active cases.

Under the code of conduct advisers must take reasonable steps to ensure clients’ interests are represented if the adviser cannot for any reason continue as a representative.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers, Barry Smedts, said: “No one has the right to withhold personal documents. We advise anyone in such a situation to contact us. We also recommend people take time to fully understand a written agreement before they sign it or hand over any money. An agreement acts like a contract and should give a breakdown of work to be carried out and related costs."

Find out more about getting immigration advice, finding an immigration adviser or making a complaint at or call us free from New Zealand on: 0800 422 422.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news