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Professional practice

Immigration adviser licence

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must provide evidence of being licensed to the client.

Complaints procedure

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must:
    1. develop and maintain an internal complaints procedure that notes that the client may also complain to the Immigration Advisers Authority, and
    2. if a complaint is made to the adviser, follow their internal complaints procedure.

Initial consultations

  1. A licensed immigration adviser:
    1. must, if charging a fee for an initial consultation, before the initial consultation, obtain the client’s written consent to the fee and the payment terms and conditions for that fee, and
    2. when conducting an initial consultation with the client or potential client, whether charging a fee or not, is not required to meet the requirements at 17 and 18 below, but must adhere to all other requirements of this code of conduct.

Code and complaint documents

  1. Before entering into a written agreement with the client, a licensed immigration adviser must:
    1. provide the client with the summary of licensed immigration advisers’ professional responsibilities, as published by the Registrar of Immigration Advisers
    2. explain the summary of licensed immigration advisers’ professional responsibilities to the client and advise them how to access a full copy of this code of conduct, and
    3. advise the client that they have an internal complaints procedure and provide them with a copy of it.

Written agreements

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must ensure that:
    1. when they and the client decide to proceed, they provide the client with a written agreement
    2. before any written agreement is accepted, they explain all significant matters in the written agreement to the client
    3. all parties to a written agreement sign it, or confirm in writing that they accept it, and
    4. any changes to a written agreement are recorded and accepted in writing by all parties.
  2. A licensed immigration adviser must ensure that a written agreement contains:
    1. the name and licence number of any adviser who may provide immigration advice to the client
    2. where an adviser is representing the client, written authority from the client for the adviser to act on the client’s behalf
    3. if the adviser holds a provisional licence:
      1. a record that a provisional licence requires them to work under the direct supervision of a full licence holder, and that they must seek advice from the supervisor whenever necessary
      2. the name and licence number of their supervisor, and
      3. a record that they will disclose the client’s personal information to their supervisor who is obliged to keep that information confidential
    4. if the adviser holds a limited licence, a record of what specified matters their limited licence authorises them to provide immigration advice in relation to, and that they may provide advice only in those areas
    5. a full description of the services to be provided by the adviser, which must be tailored to the individual client
    6. where fees are to be charged, the fees for the services to be provided by the adviser, including either the hourly rate and the estimate of the time it will take to perform the services, or the fixed fee for the services, and any New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST) or overseas tax or levy to be charged
    7. the likely disbursements that will be incurred (including any Immigration New Zealand fees), including the amount, if known, or a reasonable estimate
    8. where disbursements will be incurred, whether the disbursements will be paid directly by the client or by the adviser on the client’s behalf
    9. where fees and/or disbursements are to be charged, the payment terms and conditions for any fees and/or disbursements
    10. where fees and/or disbursements are to be charged, what interest on unpaid accounts will be charged, if any
    11. where fees and/or disbursements are to be charged, the adviser’s refund policy
    12. if applicable, a record of any potential or actual conflict of interest relating to the client, including the existence of any financial or non-financial benefit the adviser will receive as a result of the relationship with the client
    13. a record that a copy of the summary of licensed immigration advisers’ professional responsibilities has been provided and explained to the client, and
    14. a record that a copy of the adviser’s internal complaints procedure has been provided to the client.

Fees

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must:
    1. ensure that any fees charged are fair and reasonable in the circumstances
    2. work in a manner that does not unnecessarily increase fees, and
    3. inform the client of any additional fees, or changes to previously agreed fees, and ensure these are recorded and agreed to in writing.

Disbursements

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must:
    1. charge disbursements to the client at the actual amount, if known, or at a reasonable estimate of what it costs the adviser to provide the service
    2. work in a manner that does not unnecessarily increase disbursements, and
    3. inform the client of any additional disbursements, or changes to previously agreed disbursements, and ensure these are recorded and agreed to in writing.

Invoices

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must, each time a fee and/or disbursement is payable, provide the client with an invoice containing a full description of the services the fee relates to and/or disbursements that the invoice relates to.

Receipts

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must, each time a payment is received in cash from the client, provide the client with a receipt, clearly indicating which invoice(s), if applicable, the receipt relates to.

Refunds

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must:
    1. ensure that refunds given are fair and reasonable in the circumstances
    2. ensure that refund obligations can be met, and
    3. promptly provide any refunds payable upon completing or ceasing a contract for services.

Client funds

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must, if taking payment for fees and/or disbursements in advance of being payable and invoiced:
    1. recognise that these client funds remain the property of the client until payable and invoiced
    2. establish and maintain a separate client account for receiving and holding all client funds paid in advance
    3. deposit any mixed funds (funds including payable payments and advance payments) into the client account at the outset and then as soon as practical withdraw from the client account the portion of the funds that were payable and for which an invoice has been issued
    4. cover any administrative costs of maintaining the client account
    5. withdraw client funds only when payments for fees and/or disbursements are payable and invoiced
    6. use client funds only for the purpose for which they were paid to the adviser, and
    7. when requested by the Registrar of Immigration Advisers, have business accounts audited by a Chartered Accountant to show that any client funds taken in advance are held in a separate client account and only withdrawn when payments for fees and/or disbursements are payable and invoiced.

File management

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must:
    1. maintain a hard copy and/or electronic file for each client, which must include:
      1. a full copy of the client’s application or other immigration matter
      2. copies of all written agreements and any changes to them
      3. copies of all written communications (including any file notes recording material oral communications and any electronic communications) between the adviser, the client and any other person or organisation
      4. copies of all invoices and receipts relating to the client
      5. copies of all personal documents relating to the client supplied to the adviser, and
      6. evidence of the safe return of the client’s original documents
    2. confirm in writing to the client when applications have been lodged, and make on-going timely updates
    3. confirm in writing to the client the details of all material discussions with the client
    4. maintain a well-managed filing system
    5. maintain each client file for a period of no less than 7 years from closing the file, and make those records available for inspection on request by the Immigration Advisers Authority, and
    6. when requested by the client or their new licensed or exempt immigration adviser, release a copy of all applications lodged on behalf of the client and all correspondence relating to the client.

Document security and return

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must:
    1. ensure any financial and personal documents belonging to or relating to the client, whether held physically or electronically, are held securely whilst in the adviser’s possession, and
    2. when requested or required, return passports and other personal documents to the client without delay and in a secure manner.

Termination of services

  1. A licensed immigration adviser must ensure that:
    1. the termination of services, for any reason, is confirmed to the client in writing
    2. where they cease to act for the client for any reason other than the completion of agreed services, they inform Immigration New Zealand or the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, as appropriate, that they are no longer representing the client, and
    3. if, for any reason, the adviser cannot continue to act for the client, the adviser fully updates the client on the status of their immigration matter and advises them of where they could get assistance.