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Options sought for immigration consultants

The Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, today announced a discussion document on options for setting enforceable standards for immigration consultants.

"There has been public concern for some time about the lack of enforceable standards in the immigration consultancy industry.

"I am concerned that potential migrants are vulnerable to exploitation. I have received a number of complaints about dodgy consultants taking advantage of people in a vulnerable situation and ripping them off."

Examples include consultants lodging refugee status claims without telling their client, just to get a work permit; giving incorrect advice and the failure to meet appeal deadlines, thereby losing their client's right to appeal.

Lianne Dalziel said the discussion document is designed to stimulate debate on the problems in the immigration consultancy industry. The document looks at identifying the problem, and gives possible approaches to ensuring that standards are both set and met.

"I know that the good immigration consultants, who are in the majority, will welcome the opportunity to address these serious concerns," she said.

The Immigration Service will send Options for Setting Enforceable Standards for Immigration Consultants to individuals, professional bodies, ethnic and community groups, non-governmental organisations and the immigration consultancy industry. The document will also be available through the Service's National Call Centre and posted on departmental and Government websites.

Lianne Dalziel says she is committed to consulting with all concerned in seeking a solution to these problems. "We want to involve all stakeholders in the policy formation process, which will ensure that the approach that is agreed at the end of this process is robust and has buy-in from everyone."

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