AS THE New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) encouraging Filipinos to seek immigration advice from licensed providers, the immigration body is also suggesting that they use IAA’s checklist to help them choose the right person to give them advice.
IAA Registrar Catherine Albiston said it may not be common knowledge that anyone who needs help completing a New Zealand visa application must get advice from the right person.
“Unfortunately, there are people who operate unlawfully and provide advice without a license which can result in a distressing situation for the visa applicant and their family,” she said in a roundtable discussion with local media last Friday.
Albiston was in Cebu last week to educate communities on the importance of only using licensed or exempt advisers when seeking New Zealand immigration advice.
Exempt persons include Immigration New Zealand staff, current New Zealand lawyers, and education agents for student visas only.
Examples of immigration advice include advising a person about which visa pathway to take, how to answer a question in a visa application form, and what documentation they need to provide.
Before choosing an immigration adviser, applicants need to make sure they are a New Zealand-licensed immigration adviser or an exempt person at the IAA website.
Furthermore, applicants need to understand what the adviser will be doing to help them; have an agreement in writing with their adviser setting out what services they will provide and how much it will cost; and communicate directly with the said advisers.
The IAA’s checklist states that applicants should avoid people who refuse to put their name on the visa application, claim to have personal contacts at Immigration New Zealand, and ask to sign a visa application form before it has been filled out.
IAA’s checklist must be checked first before they choose who provides them with advice, Albiston added.
Between July 2016 and June 2017, Immigration New Zealand Manila approved 4,497 residence visas and 40,631 temporary visas, of which 1,708 were for international students, 2,375 were for domestic students, 14,887 were for work and 14,887 were for visitors.
The Philippines features in the top five nationalities for resident, work and visitor visas as well as in the top 10 nationalities for student visas.
New Zealand boasts of a large Filipino community, with more than one percent or about 6,000 of the country’s population being Filipinos and making it the fastest growing Asian community there.
Around 28,000 travel from New Zealand to the Philippines while 23,000 Filipinos travel to New Zealand every year, mostly for business, incentives, as well as visiting family and friends.
More than 4,000 Filipino students study in New Zealand, making the Philippines the fifth largest source of international students worldwide.
Year to date, the number of Filipino students choosing to study in New Zealand universities has risen by 35 percent in 2017 compared to the same period last year.