Immigration advice to staff: Dos and don'ts

Do you hire or employ migrants or overseas staff? There are rules on what kinds of immigration or visa advice you can give to employees and contractors relocating to New Zealand to work for you.

Make sure you know what you can tell them — and what you should leave to licensed immigration advisers.

Current or prospective migrant employees may turn to small business owners for advice on immigration matters.

“Knowing how you can legally help will not only protect your business and employer reputation, but ultimately assist your employees with their immigration matter,” says Catherine Albiston, Registrar for IAA.

However legally, employers cannot provide New Zealand immigration advice without being licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) or being exempt. Exempt people include New Zealand lawyers and Immigration New Zealand staff.

Immigration advice includes:

  • Advising a person on what New Zealand visa they best qualify for.
  • How to best answer a question in a visa application form.
  • Representing a person to Immigration New Zealand. 

However, you can legally:

  • Give information to employees directly from the Immigration New Zealand website or from a visa form.
  • Suggest employees contact Immigration New Zealand for help so they can find out what visa they need and complete the application themselves.
  • Direct employees to the Immigration Advisers Authority website to locate an adviser.

“If visa applicants are not honest on their form about the help they received, the application may be declined and Immigration New Zealand may refuse future visa applications,” Albiston says.

“Don’t risk not being able to hire the staff you need. Ensure your prospective employees use a licensed immigration adviser if they need immigration advice.”

Don't tell people which visa to apply for or how to fill out their application.

Don't tell people which visa to apply for or how to fill out their application.

Only licensed immigration advisers and exempt people can provide immigration advice.

Finding the right help

To legally help your overseas staff, you can point them to a licensed immigration adviser or exempt person. The IAA provides a list of licensed immigration advisers on their website.

Find a licensed immigration adviser(external link) — Immigration Advisers Authority

New Zealand Visas(external link) — Immigration NZ

For migrants(external link) — Immigration Advisers Authority

“If someone in the organisation would like to help further, you can study to become a New Zealand licensed immigration adviser.”

Become an adviser: Application process(external link) — Immigration Advisers Authority

Check out the fact sheet for employers on IAA’s website. If you need further information or have any questions, email

Fact sheet: Employers [PDF 247KB](external link) — Immigration Advisers Authority

Document fraud is extremely sophisticated these days.

Document fraud is extremely sophisticated these days.

If you suspect you’ve been shown forged documents or visas, contact Immigration NZ(external link)

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