New Zealand Immigration Adviser – Look out for immigration scams

Look out for immigration scams

All over the world, people are on the move, and more so than ever before. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to get to know about other places and look at making a move to where the grass might be perceptively greener, to quote the old cliché.

Ease of travel, a more globalised job market and easy accessibility to media of all types has shrunk the world from the ‘big place’ it once was. This has also turned the emigration process from what used to be a very daunting undertaking into one that is relatively less so.

But therein too lie some of the risks. Increased interest in immigration has brought with it a corresponding increase in the number of immigration scams. The internet and social media sites are awash with immigration ‘advice’ and offers of ‘immigration support’. Tread carefully!

If you are looking to move to another country, be sure to use a reputable immigration agent. Always double-check that you are getting the correct information and advice, otherwise you could be wasting your time and money.

Ask yourself: Is my New Zealand immigration adviser legally authorised to give me advice

When you choose an immigration company / agent to help you, make very sure they are legally authorised to give you immigration advice. Countries have very clear and definite rules and requirements governing immigration. The people that they legally authorise to provide immigration support and advice know these rules and requirements like the back of their hand. In most cases they will be able to tell you whether you meet the requirements or not right from the start.

Some immigration companies may say they have an authorised agent working for them, but that does not necessarily mean that person will handle your case. Their ‘registered person’ might merely sign off your file before submitting it to the relevant government agency. In all likely hood they will never assess your application or even communicate with you. Then, months later, you may actually find out that you never even qualified for immigration to begin with.

We’ll say it again – when anyone ‘assesses’ or ‘qualifies’ you for immigration, or you have to pay for their advice, you must make sure they are actually authorised to do so. Check they are not simply a sales person for the immigration company.

New Zealand has rules about giving immigration advice

Under the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007, it is an offence to provide immigration advice without being licensed or exempt. If your immigration adviser is not licensed when they should be, Immigration New Zealand will return your application.

So, if you are looking to immigrate to New Zealand, then, by law, any person that gives you immigration advice about New Zealand must be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority, unless they have been given an exemption. This includes people giving New Zealand immigration advice from anywhere else in the world.

You can find out if the person you have contacted is licensed at the Immigration Advisers Authority website.   You can also see if they have an exemption.

Lawyers for New Zealand immigration advice

Lawyers provide immigration advice and are exempt from licensing under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007. For more information and to view the register of immigration lawyers, go to the New Zealand Law Society website

All countries have similar registered bodies to which authorised immigration advisers must belong. Anyone who is officially authorised to provide immigration advice will be proud of the fact and will display the logo of their registered body on their website. If you do not see such a membership logo on your immigration agent’s website, it may be a clue they are not legally authorised by the relevant country to represent your immigration application.

When getting immigration advice on the phone

If you talk to someone on the phone who says you qualify for immigration, ask them if they are a sales person or if they are officially authorised to provide immigration advice. Tell the person you only want to speak with the authorised representative directly. If they say they are an authorised representative, do the following:

Ask them for their registration number:

  • Hang up the call
  • Go to the official website of the organisation they say they are registered with, and verify their registration
  • Then call them back

Ask the ‘authorised representative’ for their direct phone number and e-mail address. If they are willing to communicate directly with you, there is a better chance they are legitimate.

Some immigration companies might try scare tactics on you to get you to sign up on the phone immediately and to pay your ‘fees’ by credit card. Don’t be intimidated. The immigration process seldom moves as ‘urgently’ as some companies might like you to believe.

Make sure you research the right immigration company

When you do research on immigration companies, be sure you are looking at the right company’s website. Many scam companies copy other companies’ websites in the hope of scamming clients who think they are in contact with the legitimate company. The company name could vary by just one letter, and look and sound exactly the same. Be watchful.

This is another reason why it’s important to always check a company’s website for the presence of an authorising body’s logo and to verify the agent’s name on the list of authorised representatives on the official government website.

Don’t be fooled by fake job offers

While daunting, emigrating can also be very exciting – even more so when you have a confirmed job and income to go to. Life is so much easier in a new country when you have a job sorted. Scammers know this too. As a result, the increased interest in emigration has also seen an increase in the number of fake recruiters and job offers on the internet.

These advertisements usually offer what appears to be a legitimate job in another country. Once you apply you are contacted and either told you have to pay a fee “to get your contract”. No legitimate employment process will ever work like this!

In addition to this, and depending on the country, an employer will first have to get permission from the government to be able to apply for your work permit. Even if an employer wants to give you the job, there is no guarantee the government will authorise them to hire you.

Tell-tale signs a job offer is a scam

The person who contacts you to offer you the job uses a non-business e-mail account, such as Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail. It is highly unlikely a company’s HR department will use such an email address to contact people. If you do receive a job offer and are not sure if it’s real or fake, go to the company’s official website, get their contact details and contact them directly.

  • They claim the job is ‘guaranteed’. No job offer, or any immigration document for that matter, can ever be guaranteed, as the entire process is at the discretion of the government of the respective country.
  • You are required to pay the fees for your work permit or visas up front to the person / company offering you the job. No government will ever get you to pay money for these sorts of immigration documents to an individual or private company’s bank account.
  • You are asked to pay money in connection with anything for a job. Remember, a job usually pays you! If it’s the other way around, it’s probably a scam.

New Zealand has a range of immigration visa options depending on whether you want to work here, study, invest or simply enjoy a visit New Zealand has developed its immigration policies to support the country’s economic growth.

If you’re looking to make New Zealand your permanent home and have capital and / or skills and experience that are in short supply locally, then moving here could be the life changer you’ve always dreamed of.

Contact our lawyers in Auckland at Quay if you need urgent legal advice. We will be happy to help you and guide you through your friendly Auckland immigration lawyers and consultants.