The importance of ethics
Each day advisers are called upon to make decisions about how they should act in a particular situation. Every time you ask yourself ‘what should I do?’ or ‘how should I act?’ or ‘is this right?’ you are making an ethical decision. Examples include decisions as to:
- who your client is, and what duties you owe them
- whether you should take on a client
- whether you should tell a third party about information you have received about your client
- whether you should stop acting for a client
- whether you should lodge a particular document when you are unsure about its authenticity
- whether you should complain to the Authority about the actions of another adviser.
All of these questions contain an ethical dimension, and how you answer them will have ramifications both for your clients, and for your reputation as a professional.
Your clients place a great deal of trust in you. They rely on you to act competently and to use your best endeavours to help them achieve the result they want. Yet they also expect that you will act ethically: that you will be honest and fair and act with integrity in your dealings with them.
Others within the New Zealand immigration system, including the Authority, Immigration New Zealand, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal, the courts, other government bodies, and your adviser colleagues, are also entitled to expect that you will treat them with respect and that they can rely on your integrity as a professional.
The Australian Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority has developed online interactive modules called Ethics Bytes available from their website.