Immigration advisers

The next steps to take if you are unable to resolve an issue with an immigration adviser.

Who do I go to?

The Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA)(external link) to report someone who has provided unlicensed immigration advice or to make a complaint about your immigration adviser. 

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal(external link) to appeal a decision about your complaint by the IAA.

The Privacy Commissioner(external link) if you believe an immigration adviser has interfered with your privacy. 

The Office of the Ombudsman(external link) for information about making a Official Information Act (OIA) request to the IAA or Immigration New Zealand or if you’re unhappy with how Immigration New Zealand has handled your visa application, residence application or any other administrative decision, such as refugee status.

The Commerce Commission(external link) if you wish to report an immigration adviser within New Zealand for false or misleading conduct or statements under the Fair Trading Act. 

The Disputes Tribunal or District Court(external link) if you wish to claim compensation or a refund of the
fees for faulty immigration advice under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

What kind of problems do they handle?

The IAA investigates complaints about people giving unlicensed immigration advice which can lead to the person facing a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to seven years in prison. 

It also investigates complaints about licensed (and formerly licensed) immigration advisers. Any person either here or overseas that gives you advice about immigrating to New Zealand must be licensed by the IAA, unless they are exempt(external link).

Complaints about licensed immigration advisers can include:

The IAA Code of Conduct sets minimum standards of professional conduct and ethics that immigration advisers must meet.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal makes decisions on complaints about licensed immigration advisers that have been referred by the IAA. The Tribunal decides what sanctions should be imposed when a complaint has been upheld.

The Tribunal also hears appeals and deals with disciplinary proceedings against licensed immigration advisers. Appeals may relate to:

  • a decision by the Registrar of Immigration Advisers to cancel an immigration adviser’s licence 
  • a determination of the Registrar to reject a complaint against a licensed immigration adviser.

What do I need to do?

  1. If you want to report someone who had provided unlicensed immigration advice, contact the IAA(external link) immediately. 
  2. If the immigration adviser is licensed, contact the immigration adviser to make a complaint. Check the IAA’s online register to see if the adviser is registered(external link)
  3. Contact the IAA if you’re unhappy with the result after contacting the immigration adviser. Follow the IAA’s complaints process to make your complaint(external link)
  4. If you wish to appeal the IAA’s decision on your complaint (including a decision to reject your complaint) you will need to apply in writing to the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal). Follow the application process on the Tribunal’s website(external link).
  5. The Tribunal hears appeals on written submissions and evidence only. Read about the appeal process on the Tribunal’s website(external link). 

What else do I need to consider?

If you make a complaint to the IAA, this will not affect any matters you have before Immigration New Zealand. This complaints scheme is free for you.

If the Tribunal does not uphold your complaint, you don’t have the right to appeal against their decision.  

The Tribunal can decide to:

  • cancel or suspend an immigration adviser’s licence
  • caution or censure an immigration adviser
  • order an immigration adviser to practise under supervision while they hold a provisional licence 
  • order training and specified conditions related to practising
  • fine an immigration adviser up to $10,000
  • award reasonable compensation for your losses
  • direct an immigration adviser to refund, in full or part, your fees or any expenses.

The Disputes Tribunal deals with claims of up to $15,000 ($20,000 if both parties agree). The District Court deals with claims over $15,000.

Where can I get more information?

Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA)

Provides information on the regulation and licensing of immigration advisers including how to make a complaint.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0508 558 855

Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal 

Provides information about the work of the Tribunal, the legislative framework and to apply to the Tribunal.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 04 462 6660

Office of the Ombudsman

Provides information about the training and support offered by the Ombudsman in addition to its role handling complaints.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 802 602

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Provides information on the Privacy Act and how to make complaints about breaches of the Act.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 803 909

The Disputes Tribunal

The Ministry of Justice website provides information on the Tribunal and how to apply.

Visit the website(external link)

District Court

Information about your local District Court can be found on the District Courts of New Zealand website.

Visit the website(external link)

The Commerce Commission

Provides information how to make a complaint if you feel a business is not complying with the Fair Trading Act.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 943 600