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Nanny Coleman on immigrant advice

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, October 7th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

Jonathan Coleman insists that there is nothing wrong with the Immigrant Advisers Act that restricts anyone giving any advice on immigration matters to registered advisers, against reasoned protest from Helen Winterbottom and others. David Farrar at Kiwiblog thinks this is a wrong call and I agree.

Instead of insisting on shutting down any and all good advice Coleman would be better served clearing some of the blockages hindering New Zealand’s export education, such as those highlighted last month in the Herald by the Indian Education Group, a consortium of Private Training Establishments in an industry worth $200 million to New Zealand. The problems still aren’t fixed.

12 comments on “Nanny Coleman on immigrant advice ”

  1. Bill 1

    The Immigration Advisers Authority defines immigration advice as “using or purporting to use, knowledge of or experience in immigration to advise, direct, assist, or represent another person in regard to an immigration matter relating to New Zealand, whether directly or indirectly and whether or not for gain.

    So if somebody advises me to fuck off back where I came from, they can be had up for being unlicensed when they gave their advice and fined up to $100 000 or given up to 7 years in jail?

    heh Could live with that I could.

  2. recipe for disaster.
    i wonder what kind of pressure Coleman is under to agree to something he knows will only cause LOTS of problems?

  3. jcuknz 3

    The law should only apply when a fee is being charged.

    • fraser 3.1

      while the idea of only applying the law when a fee is charged (dodgy immigration consultants ripping people off is a large part of the issue) seems like a fair call, there is another aspect/reason for this that is getting missed, is the amount of resources the immigration dept has to use up when dealing with angry customers (right term?) that have been given false, misleading or incorrect advice. – sometimes this advice can border on the deliberately false

      Its takes up a lot more than time than people realise, and can be a hefty drain on resources – for an already under resourced dept

      Where the law stops, and where free speech starts on this one im not sure. But govt policy can be a fiddly thing to get right.

      I dont think people should be stopped from discussing it – but as soon as it heads into advice on policy, dont we need to be sure that the advice given is correct?

      • Avalon 3.1.1

        Most the worst information given to migrants comes from Immigration New Zealand itself 😉 They are responsible for untold misery amongst migrants, and thier lies and misleading information has resulted in large numbers of migrants becoming Illegal Overstayers.

        • fraser

          “thier lies” – care to provide proof of deliberate lieing?

          “large numbers of migrants becoming Illegal Overstayers.” again – any proof that the reason that this has happened is solely the fault of NZIS.

          Im not saying NZIS are blameless. But many people are quite happy to take out their frustrations, lack of planning and poor information on the staff there.

          • Avalon

            Fraser, ive actually recounted our own person problems with INZ incompetance and lies on the blog. This is now going through the complaints process (a process hidden for many years from migrants by INZ, and now made public at last). I personally have black and white proof of deliberate lying from a case officer to a Member of Parliament. This has been passed to the head of INZ – who ignored it, and is now in the hands of the Ombudsman.

            There are also several recent news stories of Migrants becoming overstayers because INZ told them they had time to get new jobs when they lost thier current positions and were on work visas. This was not true, and resulted in the families being in New Zealand Illegally. This is not a new issue – its something some friends of mine went through a few years ago. The situation is just worse at the moment because more people are losing thier jobs. Happens an awful lot im afraid.

            So yes, INZ staff do lie, and many of them give out false and misleading info. Its a shame, because they make the dept look bad, and its a department that really doesnt need this kind of bad press.

            On the other hand, someone at INZ made a mistake with an application of our the other week, copped to it, apologised and sorted it out. Thats what INZ should encourange and promote 🙂

  4. Deemac 4

    jcuknz is right – it’s outrageous that the skilled migrant centre in Chch was forced to close when its advice was free – and a vital resource for many immigrants. That surely was not what Parliament intended.

  5. AH 5

    I should declare an interest in that I’m Helen’s husband.

    @Fraser – the problem is though that much of the bad/wrong/misleading/false advice is coming from the Immigration Dept. themselves.
    The ability of the average NZIS staffer to actually correctly interpret adn explain Policy to the average migrant is woefully inadequate. There are too many instances of people ringing the NZIS helpdesk, and getting completely different answers each time to the most basic of questions.

    Sure, there’s a case to answer for Immigration Agents giving bad advice. However, most people can distinguish between someone who is being paid to give advice, and someone who is sharing their experiences of Immigration (having migrated here), and not charging for that.

  6. AH 6

    As a general observation. The current Minister is responsible for administering the law, however it was the previous administration that had the law written, debated (!) and enacted.
    Legislating so that only licensed Immigration Agents can submitt immigration applications on behalf of potential migrants is fine. Not accepting applications from un-licensed Agents is all that this legislation needed to do.
    Preventing people from using their ‘experience, knowledge’ etc. in this case is daft.

    I may not be a registered Dr, Pharmacist, Nurse or anything. I can advise someone with a headache that they may wish to take a headache tablet, since that has worked for me in the past. Only under the IALA legislation that would be illegal.

  7. Avalon 7

    Having read through the transcripts in Hansard of the readings of the bill, its patently obvious that this is an unintended effect of the act. Not one MP ever raised advice from the public (whether migrants or not) on forums, blogs or in person as a concern or a problem.

    Every single instance brought up in parliament (from all parties involved) was about agents – the people who were scamming thousands of dollars from migrants and doing sod all for it. There is not one instance I can find that says anything about advice off forums or bloggers.

    This issue is the result of a genuine oversight, and using the word “Adviser” when more acurately, they were talking about Agents.

    I hope Dr Coleman will accept that a mistake was made, and that this was never the intention of the bill. No one raised Freedom of Speech or Human Rights as an issue, because the IALA was never meant to restrict either of those things. It was meant to clean up an industry swamped with scumbags and rip-off merchants 🙂

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