13 Nov 2014

Man jailed for immigration charges

6:42 pm on 13 November 2014

A judge has given the heaviest penalty to an unlicensed immigration adviser since the Government tightened up the industry.

Richard James Martin was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison when he appeared at the Auckland District Court today.

The 49-year-old was found guilty on 93 immigration related charges in June, including providing immigration advice without a licence, forgery and supplying false or misleading information to an immigration officer.

The court was told that a number of people were forced to return to their home countries because of Martin's lies and deceit.

Martin had been earlier been struck off as a lawyer on fraud charges.

The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 requires anyone providing immigration advice to be licensed, unless exempt.

Immigration Advisers Authority spokesperson Catherine Albiston said 10 families came forward to complain about an unlicenced adviser.

She told Checkpoint she hoped the sentence sent a message that it is not okay to be unlicenced.

"The consequences for the families that were involved meant that they didn't get visas that they were expecting to get, that they suffered financial loss, considerable stress and some of them ended up having to leave New Zealand and go back to their home country."