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Enforcement policy and principles


As per section 3 of the Act, the Authority aims to maximize compliance with the Act in an effective and resource efficient way in order to promote and protect the interests of consumers receiving immigration advice, and to enhance the reputation of New Zealand as a migrant destination.

To maximize compliance with the Act, the Authority aims to target specific problems and use the most effective enforcement tools required to achieve ongoing compliance.

Compliance is most effective when it is voluntary. For this to happen, the Authority aims to help people understand why the law is important, what they need to do to comply and how and when enforcement action may occur.     

Enforcement principles

When considering an enforcement response, the Authority must decide which enforcement option to use, where the focus of enforcement will be, and the intensity of the enforcement response. In making judgments and choices about enforcement responses, the Authority uses the degree of harm and principles set out below.

Degree of harm

When considering the degree of harm, the Authority will take into account the following criteria:


The Authority will respond consistently when dealing with similar cases but its approach will also reflect the specific circumstances of each case. Consistency does not mean uniformity. Consistency means taking a similar approach in similar circumstances, at a similar point in time to achieve similar ends. 


The enforcement responses by the Authority will be proportionate to the breach of the law. This means the enforcement response will reflect factors such as the severity, scale, repetitive nature or economic cost of the breach, and whether the risk of or actual harm to migrants and New Zealand’s reputation is significant.

Public accountability

The interest of the public and media in certain cases may heighten the expectation of accountability. Public opinion may inform the enforcement approach taken, but will not drive it. Where a breach causes significant risk of or actual harm to consumers of immigration advice or to New Zealand’s migration reputation, the Authority is likely to consider prosecution.


The Authority aims to be fair and impartial and to act with the highest integrity in our enforcement responses. The Authority aims to ensure that its decision-making is reasonable (given the circumstances of a particular case), unbiased, and conforms to the principles of natural justice.


The Authority may focus its resources on particular activities or sectors. This may be due to the specific nature of a problem; or where the Authority considers that it can change non-compliant behaviour using cost effective enforcement tools.

Openness and accountability

The Authority will assist people to understand our approach to enforcement and provide opportunities for them to understand how to comply. The Authority aims to make its expectations clear in our enforcement responses.  


The Authority will look to use new and innovative tools or methods to achieve compliance with the Act.