Securing the right visa for your move to New Zealand is a big deal, and the process can be complicated. Luckily there is a lot of support available if you engage an immigration consultant, but how do you choose the right one? We’ll break down the most important things to think about before selecting a consultant to guide you through the hard stuff.
Scope of Service
It’s important to have reasonable expectations about what your immigration adviser can do for you. While the services offered by various consultants differ, in general, licensed advisers can help you:
explore your visa options and help choose the right one for your situation
prepare and submit your visa application
settle and integrate in New Zealand
apply for a new visa before your first one expires
evaluate whether or not you can appeal a declined visa
assess your options if you are in New Zealand unlawfully
Sometimes advisers can help you land a job offer or choose a programme of study in New Zealand, as well. Be sure to ask lots of questions before you engage a consultant in order to find one who can work with your particular situation.
Immigration consultants in New Zealand are required to hold a current license to perform the work. It is a legal offence for a person to provide New Zealand immigration advice without being licensed or exempt. In order to receive a license, consultants must meet certain competency standards.
Before you engage an adviser, check the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) register of licensed immigration advisers to make sure the person you are engaging has a valid immigration adviser licence. Verify the licence expiry date and the type of licence they hold, as some advisers have a limited scope of information they can give.
The IAA also provides general information on average costs associated with using an adviser and how to complain if you are unhappy with the service you received.
Code of Conduct
As a consumer you are protected by a professional code of conduct that requires immigration consultants to:
provide a written agreement that clearly states what services will be given to you and how much they will cost
communicate regularly and offer you ongoing updates in a timely fashion
charge fair and reasonable fees for the provided services
comport themselves in an honest, professional, and respectful manner
You also have the right to expect that your personal information will be kept confidential, and that your adviser notify you immediately if they suspect your case is futile.
We strongly advise that you engage a professional immigration consultant to boost your chances of getting the right visa as quickly as possible. Improperly filed applications or missed deadlines can negatively impact your ability to make the move you want. Consultants are also a great source of information about life in New Zealand, and can fill you in on the culture and geography of this beautiful country. ⋆