AN unlicensed Tuvaluan immigration adviser was sentenced to 14 days community detention and told to refund money to Fijian nationals after failing to provide them with jobs and permanent residency in New Zealand.
Kauapi Lutelu who pleaded guilty to six charges at Auckland District Court on September 27, 2012, collected more than $5000 by fooling Fijians in the unlawful immigration business.
In January 2010, Mr Lutelu announced on an Auckland radio station that he had been given a quota from the Minister of Immigration New Zealand for 250 Fiji nationals who required work permits or permanent residency.
The Immigration Advisers Authority New Zealand senior communication adviser Maheesha Kottegoda said yesterday the announcement stated that an application for the quota would only be considered if accompanied by a $50 cover charge.
She said Mr Lutelu wrote to those who registered for the quota stating he would be charging $1000 for a work permit and $2000 for permanent residency. Ms Kottegoda said in May 2010, a visa application filed by Mr Lutelu was returned as Immigration New Zealand (INZ) does not accept applications from unlicensed advisers.
"Mr Lutelu applied for a licence six times but was declined by the Immigration Advisers Authority and repeatedly warned not to provide immigration advice," she said.
The Registrar of Immigration Advisers New Zealand Barry Smedts, reminded people that they could avoid falling foul of people like Lutelu.
Mr Smedts said before handing over any money, people should check the online public Register of Licensed Immigration Advisers and read the Immigration Advice Consumer Guide.
"If you don't have internet access, call us and we will check the register for you and post you a copy of the guide. This will tell you where to go for advice and how to report illegal activity," he said.
He said there was no way of knowing how many people paid Mr Lutelu because people living in New Zealand unlawfully might be afraid to contact the authority.