08 May 2008

New laws introduced to protect New Zealand visa applicants

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New measures have been taken by the New Zealand government to ensure that new migrants will enjoy the best possible service, with stricter rules announced for immigration advisers, set to be enforced by the newly established Immigration Advisers Authority. The new approach, which was launched on the May 5th, is designed to protect New Zealand visa applicants from potentially fraudulent and corrupt advisers.

Barry Smedts, Registrar for the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), said that the new rules will protect both people seeking a visa for New Zealand and the advisers who help them. He commented: "Previously, we have had an unregulated environment where anyone could call themselves an immigration adviser and offer advice whether or not they knew anything about immigration requirements."

Mr Smedts added that the changes will not only protect "vulnerable immigrants", but also the industry as a whole. The new Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 now requires all advisers to be licensed by the May 4th, 2009.

From this date unlicensed New Zealand immigration advisers could face up to seven years in prison and fines of up to NZ$100,000 (£39,490). The official launch of the IAA took place yesterday at the parliament buildings in Wellington.

New Zealand needs skilled migrants: Anyone applying for a New Zealand visa should begin by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements

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