Choosing a New Zealand
immigration adviser should not
be a quick process.
An unscrupulous New Zealand-based immigration adviser has been handed a record fine this week, highlighting the need for prospective migrants to find certified and trustworthy assistance.
The New Zealand Immigration Advisers Complains and Disciplinary Tribunal this week upheld 19 complaints against Glen William Standing and ordered him to pay out almost NZ$300,000 (£153,000) in refunds, the highest penalty ever handed out.
Standing was reportedly involved in a scheme of 'systematic dishonesty' which included charging 'excessive' fees to clients, falsely guaranteeing to secure them permanent New Zealand residency and even threatening clients with prosecution if they did not secure a New Zealand visa.
The Golden Bay-based adviser has maintained his innocence throughout the tribunal but his company, Living New Zealand Ltd, has been struck off the Companies Office register.
The Immigration Advisers Authority said Standing advertised his services for prices ranging between NZ$3,000 and NZ$4,000 (£1,500 and £2,000) but in reality was charging clients as much as NZ$8,000 (£4,000).
One of Standing's clients, a Japanese woman, reportedly resigned from her job in Osaka, cancelled her tenancy agreement and even started having a home in New Zealand built. Only for her to be held at the border and told she was attempting to enter the country illegally.
Barry Smedts, authority registrar of immigration advisers, said he was 'appalled at the shameless deceit perpetrated by Glen Standing'.
Jenny Espiner, casework manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says thoroughly researching any organisation or company before entering into any contracts or handing money over.
"It's unlikely that the average person's level of knowledge about complex immigration processes and requirements extends beyond the fact that it is complex," said Ms Espiner.
"Therefore it's very easy to be misinformed and, ultimately scammed of thousands of pounds.
"Any genuine New Zealand immigration adviser should be registered with the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) and adhere to the IAA's Code of Conduct.
"Make sure any adviser you are considering is IAA registered and then double check this against online reviews on sites such as migrationagentreviews.com.
"Moving to New Zealand should be a great, exciting process, don't risking ruining it and losing lots of money by putting your trust in the wrong place."
- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.
©Visa Bureau 2003-2013