Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Unlicensed immigration adviser sentenced to home detention

Media Release

15 July 2016

Unlicensed immigration adviser sentenced to home detention

A Porirua man was sentenced to ten months’ home detention at the Porirua District Court on 13 July 2016. The sentencing came after the man pleaded guilty in April to ten charges laid against him by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA).

The charges related to Menefata Toso (also known as Limu M F Asiata) of Mene T Consulting Agency Ltd operating as an unlicensed immigration adviser within the Samoan community. Mr Toso pleaded guilty to four charges of providing immigration advice without a licence; three charges of holding himself out as a licensed immigration adviser; and three charges of receiving fees for the provision of immigration advice.

The Registrar of the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), Catherine Albistonsaid “The IAA was set up to promote and protect the interests of people receiving New Zealand immigration advice.This is a great result for the Pacific community.”

Mr Toso provided immigration advice to Samoan nationals trying to obtain lawful immigration status in New Zealand.

In the first instance, Mr Toso offered to lodge an application for permanent residency for his victim. He presented an agreement outlining fees and terms of payment, and also asked her to collect reference letters to support her visa application. Mr Toso lodged multiple requests for visas for the victim, who in total paid him over $3,500 for his unlawful services. Judge Kelly noted that the victim felt betrayed when she found out he did not have the appropriate licence as she trusted Mr Toso to do the work. She felt that Mr Toso took advantage of her simplicity and innocence.

In the second instance, Mr Toso offered to help the victim and her two children with their immigration matters. The woman paid around $1,860 to Mr Toso who told her that he had a licence to do immigration work and gave examples of his experience. In spite of numerous representations, Mr Toso was unsuccessful in obtaining visas for the family. The offending caused significant financial harm to the victim.The woman borrowed money from her family to pay Mr Toso, only to find out from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) that her visa had been refused and she had become an overstayer in New Zealand. Mr Toso then advised the woman to appeal INZ’s decision by writing to the Minister of Immigration. The appeal to the Minister of Immigration was not successful.

“Unfortunately, there are people who operate unlawfully and are unlicensed.Both of Mr Toso’s victims were led to believe that he was allowed to provide immigration advice, when in fact he was not licensed to do so. This is a strong reminder that when seeking New Zealand immigration advice, it’s important to always use a licensed adviser or an exempt person. Licensed immigration advisers are immigration specialists; they must meet competency standards and follow a code of conduct.”

“A free public register of all licensed advisers is available on the IAA website. You can also ask to see the person’s licence.”

In sentencing, Judge Kelly stated that the aggravating factors were that Mr Toso was operating a consultancy business and the offending demonstrated a commercial element. INZ informed Mr Toso in Sep 2013 that he was not a licensed immigration adviser and would need to be licensed to continue to act in that capacity. However, he continued to provide advice. Judge Kelly said his offending had a huge impact on particularly vulnerable victims and there was a breach of trust in Mr Toso’s dealings with the victims.

Mr Toso was also ordered to repay his victims at the rate of $20 per week.

Ms Albiston stated that the IAA encouraged anyone who has received immigration advice from someone who is not licensed or exempt to come forward and speak to us. “The IAA is separate to Immigration New Zealand and contacting the IAA will not affect anyone's visa status.”

A free guide to licensed immigration advisers is available in Tongan, Samoan, and other languages on the IAA website.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Virtues (and Fluffed Opportunities) Of The Operation Burnham Report


One unspoken rule of thumb in any official public inquiry is : whatever you do, don’t conclude you were made to listen to “a litany of lies” even if the evidence of a deliberate cover-up is right there under your nose. In that respect, the report into the 2010 Operation Burnham military raid in Afghanistan has been a model of decorum. Bad stuff did happen and has been duly noted and lamented - but only as a lapse and departure from usual professional standards. Normal service can be trusted to resume shortly... More>>

 

Environment: Govt Progress On Climate Change Essential, Risk Assessment Shows

The release of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment shows that the progress this Government has made to solve the climate crisis is essential to creating cleaner and safer communities across New Zealand. “Because of this report, we can see clearer ... More>>


Economy: Investing In The Tourism Sector’s Recovery

More than $300 million in funding has been approved to protect strategic tourism businesses, drive domestic tourism through regional events and lift digital capability in the tourism industry, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. A $400 million ... More>>

ALSO:

National On MP Bill: Waka-Jumping Repeal Bill Passes First Reading

The Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading, marking one step closer to Parliament getting rid of NZ First’s ‘waka-jumping’ legislation, National List MP David Carter says. “I’d like to thank the Greens for voting ... More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19:Legislation For Managed Isolation Payments Introduced

Hon Dr Megan Woods Minister of Housing Legislation to allow the Government to recover some of the costs for managed isolation and quarantine will be introduced to Parliament today, said Minister of Housing Megan Woods. “The Bill will allow the government ... More>>

ALSO:


General Election 2020: Newshub-Reid Research Poll Shows Labour Stratospheric And National In Freefall

The latest Newshub-Reid research poll* shows the National party’s leadership crises have catapulted Labour to its highest heights in this poll’s history. It has climbed to 60.9% - an increase of 4.4 percentage points. And National has been punished, ... More>>

ALSO:


Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>

ALSO:

Energy: 100% Renewable Electricity Grid Explored With Pumped Storage ‘battery’

The Government is taking a significant step toward its goal for 100% renewable electricity generation in a move that could be a game changer for consumers and the creation of a low-emissions economy, Energy & Resources Minister Megan Woods said. ... More>>

ALSO:


Election 2020: Campaign Launches

The Green Party has launched its policy platform. Think Ahead, Act Now: Our Green Vision for Aotearoa was unveiled by Co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw at the party’s Annual General Meeting this morning. Marama Davidson said today: “In ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels