A Japanese woman, a Bangladeshi student and a Spaniard looking for work were among 19 persons who were left in the lurch by an erring Immigration Adviser, who has since been disqualified by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA).
Licensed Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal announced its guilty verdict on October 11, 2012 against Glen William Standing, a former immigration adviser.
The verdict also obliged the defendant to pay about $280,000 in refunds, penalties and compensation.
IAA Registrar Barry Smedts said it was the highest amount demanded by the Tribunal from a single person. The number of complaints against him were also the highest involving a single person.
The Tribunal found Mr Standing had tried various ways to persuade clients to part with excessive fees, including making false claims that (a) he provided his services as ‘an immigration law firm’ (b) he provided 100% guarantee of New Zealand residency and (c) he could be prosecuted if he did not secure the visa.
Mr Standing reportedly charged 17 clients an average of $7904 each against the average fees ranging from $2790 to $3810.
The Japanese woman resigned from her job, cancelled the tenancy of her apartment in Osaka and started having a house built in New Zealand, only to be detained at the border and forced to explain why she was attempting to enter the country.
Another couple spent $100,000 to relocate with their family and establish a business. They later discovered that their ability to remain in New Zealand depended on their business trading profitably within 12 months.
Mr Standing told the Bangladeshi student that there was a “free flight offer” and “a large volume of interest” from Christchurch employers for post-earthquake work.
The Spaniard was told that finding employment was “the least of his worries” and that there were 132 vacancies.
The Tribunal found Mr Standing had tailored a deceitful misrepresentation for individual clients.
“The deceit was not puffery or exaggeration; it was calculated dishonesty for personal gain. His objective was to solicit fees, with the intention of not delivering the services the clients were promised, and paid for,” the Chairperson said.
Mr Smedts advised potential migrants to read the Consumer Guide available on the IAA website (www.iaa.govt.nz) before hiring an immigration adviser.
“Our website provides all information that applicants need to know, and includes a checklist,” he said.