About Licensed Immigration advisers
A licensed immigration adviser (LIA) can make the difference between success and failure, especially if your visa application is difficult for you to do on your own and you are not sure how to do it properly.
Look for the evidence
A licensed immigration adviser will be able to show you their license, which must be current. You can also search for an advisers license status on the IAA website. To search for evidence of an adviser's licensing status, follow this link https://iaa.ewr.govt.nz/PublicRegister/Search.aspx
What is an Immigration adviser?
An Immigration adviser is a licensed professional who is skilled and knowledgeable in New Zealand immigration law and procedure. Advisers are able to advise and help you with your visa application or do the whole process for you. A LIA can represent you and talk directly to INZ for you when you need someone to advocate for you or talk to other agencies on your behalf when you find it difficult. The main role of an immigration adviser is to help clients get a visa to be able to stay or live in NZ. When this is difficult we use our skill and knowledge about NZ immigration law and processes to get the best possible outcome for our clients.
Must I use an immigration adviser to apply for a visa?
It is not compulsory to use an immigration adviser, but it can make a lot of difference to your chances of success. If your application is difficult, or very important to you, then you should use a LIA so that it is done right from the start. Not getting professional help with important matters increases the risk of faliure significantly.
Unless you are 100% confident in your ability to put together a strong application yourself, then using an adviser would be best. This especially applies to any visa from a non-visa waiver country, work visas, resident visas, partnership based visas and other difficult visas.
An immigration adviser's job is to help applicants get their application approved. We do this by firstly making sure your application is correct and complete before sending it INZ, and secondly by talking to INZ for you if there are issues that need explaining. For example if you have been refused entry to a country before, you will need to explain to INZ why you should be permitted to enter NZ now.
If you use an adviser for your application, they must be licensed.
Are immigration advisers the same as immigration officers?
No, we are separate from Immigration New Zealand. An immigration officer works for INZ and makes the decision on visa applications. An immigration adviser works for the client and tries to help the immigration officer make the correct decisions. The role of an immigration officer is to check whether the applicant has shown that they meet the requirements for a visa, they don't actually help the application to succeed. However an immigration adviser's job is to help the application succeed as much as possible.
Are immigration advisers the same as lawyers?
No, we are specialists only in immigration and related law, we do not do general legal work and things that are not immigration related. We are similar to immigration lawyers who only specialise in immigration law and do not practice other aspects of law. Apart from being regulated by different authorities, an immigration adviser's qualification is 100% focussed on immigration law, while lawyers have to study a wide range of legal topics to become qualified. The GCNZIA / GDNZIA course containing only immigration law compared to a LLB containing a wide range of general law is quite different in the amount of immigration relevent content.
Immigration advisers still deal with relevant case law, NZBORA, Privacy Act, Official Information Act and other relevant statutes that relate to the situation of our clients. We have successfully defended clients accused of domestic violence for example as part of a residence application for example.
Immigration advisers must be licensed and in many cases must be qualified for immigration work, however anyone working in a lawyers office can do immigration work without needing to be qualified or licensed.
Immigration advisers are on your side
if you have done something illegal and really don't know what to do. If you have been deceived or have purposely done things which you shouldn't have done, then a LIA will do their best to help you. We won't tell INZ and get you deported, our job is to do whatever we can to legalise your status, get you a visa, or if this is not possible, recommend a pathway that will provide the best possible outcome for you. Your privacy is always protected and that means to everyone.
Using an adviser is like using a lawyer. if you have done something illegal and you need to fix the situation, it is best to talk to a lawyer, they will help you get out of trouble. A LIA is the same, we will always do our best for our client. The only thing we will not do is help you break the law.
Official information on LIAs
The IAA has a guide for clients about using licensed advisers. This is available in other languages too. Click here for the guide in other languages