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Immigration Advisers Ordered to Refund Clients

Media release
29 October 2012

Immigration Advisers Ordered to Refund Clients

A tribunal has ordered two immigration advisers to refund their clients and pay $7,000 for unprofessional conduct.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal also prevented Barbara Nassiep, and Prem Singh from applying for a licence for two years.

By law, anyone giving immigration advice must be licensed unless exempt. Licensed immigration advisers are required to renew their licence annually. Barbara Nassiep allowed her licence to lapse and later undertook work illegally.

Ms Nassiep, also known as Barbara Parker, failed to sign a written agreement with her client or account for fees she received from her client in advance when her licence expired.

The Tribunal chair said: “This was not simply an issue of lack of care; she held funds she had no entitlement to, did not bank them properly and then left the country.

“Ms Nassiep’s lack of remorse, insight, or even willingness to engage with what is clearly a serious complaint, is significant. Ms Nassiep has done nothing more than express her concern about the consequences for her.”

Ms Nassiep of Aroha Immigration Services Limited, Glenfield was ordered to refund fees of $7,505 and pay $4,000 in penalties.

The Immigration Advisers Authority is responsible for licensing advisers and urges people to:
check the online register of licensed immigration advisers to make sure their adviser has a current licence.
read the Immigration Advice Consumer Guide to find out where to get immigration advice, what to expect from licensed immigration advisers and how to complain if things go wrong

The other adviser Prem Singh, of Romys Immigration Services, Hillsborough, was penalised for “delinquent disregard for professional obligations”.

Mr Singh lodged a visa application which failed, told his client the matter was being referred to the Ombudsmen and could not be contacted after that point. When his client contacted Immigration New Zealand, she discovered there was no ongoing process and she and her family were in New Zealand unlawfully.

The Tribunal chair said: “This was not an isolated lapse; in the course of his instructions Mr Singh consistently failed to act professionally.”

Mr Singh was ordered to refund fees of $1,480, pay compensation of $1,200 and pay $3,000 in penalties.

Anyone wanting to complain about an immigration adviser can contact the Immigration Advisers Authority on info@iaa.govt.nz, call free from NZ on 0508 422 422 or download a Complaint Form.

ENDS

Notes to editor

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 exempt. Exempt people include lawyers and those working at Citizens’ Advice Bureaus among others.

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