Migrants defeat bad immigration adviser

I am delighted to offer my congratulations to the Whiles-Clarry family, members of move2nz.com since June 2009, who have successfully used the Immigration Advisers Licensing legislation to have the license of a dishonest and incompetent immigration adviser cancelled.

Through their efforts and diligence they have helped protect other migrants from the same problems. Well done!

Read the full story
I have been following this case all the way through and present the whole story of this brave family’s fight in a full article on move2nz.com here spread over 6 pages.

In this article I have included a summary of this family’s fight, success and anger at the adviser’s claims.

Congratulations to the Immigration Advisers Authority
I bet a lot of the long term readers of move2nz are picking themselves off the floor and saying “WHAT!?” (as move2nz and I have a little ‘history’ with the IAA), but I am serious.

Congratulations are in order to both the IAA and Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal and I have sent my congratulations personally to Barry Smedts, Registrar of the IAA because of their part in this ruling.

Immigration Advisers

In 2009 new legislation was introduced to block anyone not licensed from providing immigration advice. The IAA act as a licensing office and police force, investigating complaints and passing serious cases to the Tribunal which acts as a court.

While some Immigration Advisers are excellent move2nz had collected dozens of horror stories. As a result we were very supportive of a system providing protection for migrants and somewhere for us to send these complaints.

However we have been critical of this system since its inception, like many immigration advisers, because the IAA appeared to provide no real protection for migrants.

Glen Standing
Glen Standing

What we had been waiting for was action to start weeding out the bad apples. Our congratulations are presented today because for the first time the system has done just that. A migrant has complained and as a result the adviser, Glen Standing of Golden Sands Immigration and Living New Zealand has been held to account.

The Tribunal has for the first time imposed serious penalties, and in addition to losing his immigration adviser’s license Standing has been directed to refund fees, pay compensation and penalties of just under $20,000.

This is the first real success story for the IAA and Tribunal, a major step forward in the fight to protect migrants against rogue advisers. As all of our concerns about the system being set up were valid and well-founded it’s only fair to offer congratulations to these departments when they get it right.

 


A common tale

Like many before them, everything went well with Golden Sands for the family until they arrived in New Zealand. Vulnerable and alone in a new country customer service from the company went downhill fast and the job search help they had paid for was almost nonexistent. In the end it took over 21 weeks for Stephen to get a job, costing the family thousands in lost income and accommodation.

Despite this Golden Sands started demanding the second half of the fee owed to them and threatened to withhold documents and a passport until the money was paid.

Christine telephoned the immigration department and discovered that almost all the immigration advice Standing had given her was wrong, meaning they had experienced months of delays and thousands in extra costs simply because of their adviser. They lodged a complaint with the IAA in September 2010.

The Ruling

A final decision was reached on 30th June 2011 ruling against Standing on all counts. The Tribunal found that he was in breach of the code of conduct all licensed immigration advisers need to comply with, with the Chairman described this as a “grave lapse from professional standards“. Standing was ordered to pay penalties of $2,000 and compensation, loss of income and a refund of fees to the family totalling $19,458.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. On August 18th Standing wrote to the Tribunal and the family stating that he was liquidating his company and so wouldn’t be able to pay the penalties and compensation! This appears to be incorrect as you’ll see in the full article.

Ruined by the Tribunal

The next day an article appeared in the Nelson Mail giving voice to Standing who claimed ‘I’ve been ruined by tribunal. The article contained factual errors and presented Standing as being forced to close his business, making his staff redundant, as a result of what he considered to be ‘despicable’ handling of the case.

However Standing’s framing of the situation appears to be misleading and incorrect as the Tribunal gave him the option of obtaining a provisional license to re-enter the immigration business under supervision.

Standing’s claim that he couldn’t continue operating as there are no other licensed advisers in Golden Bay to supervise him is at odds with the IAA’s supervision policy which states that an adviser can be supervised even by a licensed immigration adviser in another country:

So Standing could have applied to be supervised by someone outside Golden Bay and had no reason to close his business at all.

Summary

The IAA and Tribunal have removed one of the immigration advisers we have the most negative stories about. There has even been another ruling against Standing in which he was ordered to pay $1,500 to another migrant family had problems getting a refund.
Now you have an avenue to take if you encounter problems with a licensed immigration adviser make sure to lodge a complaint if you need the IAA’s help. It might take a while, but it’s always worth fighting your corner and now you have a fighting chance.

What have you done with Mike?
Before you start wondering who I am and what I’ve done with Mike, we still do have issues with the agressive way the IAA has dealt with blogs and move2nz, as well as their lack of understanding around what constitutes immigration advice (illegal for people like me without a license) and settlement advice and support (perfectly legal).

I am still fighting to force the IAA to repair the damage they did in attacking move2nz, a move which caused the cancellation of our UK Seminars and closure of our Migrant Centre. All I can legally say at this stage is that ‘settlement negotiations are being advanced through legal channels’. I’ll let you know what happens.

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5 Responses to “Migrants defeat bad immigration adviser”

  1. Nicola McGeorge Says:

    Hi- I also have had a bad experience of Glen Standing, he made us empty promises and took our hard earned savings then did nothing, not even responding to our emails or request for a call to discuss. Basically after geting his money he wasn’t bothered anymore. I am not the only one, I have been in contact with many other families in the same boat and he has been doing this to people for years.

    He offered to continue our immigration application after having his licence removed but refused to name to other adviser he would be using for supervision as ruled in the tribunal hearing. We just couldn’t trust him after all his empty promises and cut our losses and requested our file and personal documents back. This in itself as been problematic with Glen giving one excuse after another why he hasn’t sent them yet even though we have paid for a courier bag.

    I have complained to the IAA, but even if taken further it is unlikely that myself or all his other victims will get any refund on their money as since his company has gone into liquidation and he owes thousands of NZD to the banks and immigration authority for apyment of visa fees us clients will get be less of a priority. At best it would be a hope that he gets a life long ban never to practice as an adviser again and have the chance to take anymore money from anyone.

  2. move2nz Says:

    Hi Nicola,

    Don’t forget to read the full article on move2nz. In this I point out that liquidating his company appeared to be irrelevant to the Whiles-Clarry family as they had actually signed their contract with another of Standing’s companies – Golden Sands Migration (NZ) Ltd which still appears to be functioning.

    This looked like a simple smoke-screen and I have written to the tribunal about this. Check who you paid the money to because that’s who should be paying you back ;o).

    The ruling was against Standing personally and you may be able to reclaim the money directly from him – something worth checking with your lawyer, CAB or community law centre.

    It’s a good thing you didn’t take Standing up on his offer to continue to help. If he had, your application would be thrown out, you would open yourself to prosecution by the IAA (for knowingly using someone who was unlicensed – yes you can be prosecuted too) and he would risk up to 7 years in prison.

    If Standing is withholding your documents the IAA should be helping and I’d be interested to hear what happens so please stay in touch.

    For your refund, I’d suggest reaching for your lawyer about the best way to get this back (for example liquidation, bankruptcy, Statutory Demand, District Court or Disputes Tribunal). I’ve seen people like Standing walk away with the money before and set up later, so if there is any chance you can take a personal claim go for it.

    Mike

  3. Garry Gill Says:

    For what it’s worth,and I am dissapointed for the families that struck problems,but over resent years I have had many staff and friends make use of Glen Standings services after striking problems with other advisors,and each time he did good work for these people,either he was able to help them gain residency or gave good advise why it was no good proceding further.
    Garry

  4. Helga Kruger Says:

    I am/was one of Glen’s clients. Since his liquidation my medicals (which is all that is outstanding) have suddenly been rejected, I have been unable to find another agent to assist with the medical waiver that was now requested and it looks like I will loose my money and my dream to live in New Zealand. He made a mistake but alot of us have been left hanging and will have our applications rejected because no one is there to look at the clients that will suffer because of the decision from the IAA.
    Helga

  5. Graham Down Says:

    I was also one of Standing’s clients and we were really disappointed with his service and dropped him. We did all the paperwork ourselves and saved $$$’s

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