30 Aug 2017

Tongan pleads guilty to illegally providing immigration advice

7:57 pm on 30 August 2017

A Tongan woman in Auckland has pleaded guilty to 14 charges of illegally providing New Zealand immigration advice.

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Photo: 123rf

Maria 'Ilaisaane Valu-Pome'e appeared in court after an investigation by the Immigration Advisers Authority.

The authority's registrar, Catherine Albiston, said Mrs Valu-Pome'e, who had previously held a practising certificate with the New Zealand Law Society, continued to provide immigration advice after it expired.

She said people giving New Zealand immigration advice must hold exempt status or be licensed by the authority which had "no tolerance for those who act outside the law."

Ms Albiston said the case served as a reminder to people in New Zealand's Pacific communities "to check that their immigration adviser is licensed or exempt."

Mrs Valu-Pome'e pleaded guilty to three charges of providing immigration advice without a licence or exempt status while knowing she was required to be licensed; three charges of advertising herself as legally able to provide immigration advice; and four charges of receiving fees for providing immigration advice.

She also pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly using a document, one charge of using a forged document, and a representative charge for multiple instances of using forged documents under the Crimes Act 1961.