From the Tribunal: IK v Tian [2020] NZIACDT 47

The client contracted the adviser to apply for a student visa on their behalf. The application was unsuccessful. The adviser failed to inform her client that the application had been declined. The adviser also failed to point out that as the client’s visitor visa had expired he was unlawfully in New Zealand and liable for deportation. The client made repeated requests for information on the outcome of his application, but the adviser gave evasive or misleading answers.
On her own initiative the adviser lodged a request for a discretionary student visa, but this was also declined. Again the adviser failed to properly inform the client, notwithstanding ongoing attempts by the client to obtain an update. Eventually the client instructed a new adviser, and once the true situation was discovered a complaint was laid.
Unfortunately this was the third complaint upheld against this particular adviser, and as you may well imagine the Tribunal was not impressed by the numerous failures to keep the client properly informed. As a result the adviser’s licence was suspended until further training was successfully completed and a financial penalty was imposed.
As to the learnings that can be derived from this decision, the obvious answer is of course to always maintain proper communications with your client. However it is possible that the adviser was reluctant to give their client bad news, and matters snowballed from there, in which case this decision should be a reminder of the importance of addressing negative outcomes early with clients. The same applies to potential complaint situations; while it can be painful it is always best to address them early and openly. If you are uncertain about the way forward then we can assist in addressing potential issues earlier rather than later, with a view to ensuring the situation does not get out of hand.

If you are uncertain about the way forward then we can assist in addressing potential issues earlier rather than later, with a view to ensuring the situation does not get out of hand. Likewise, if you are ever uncertain as to how to handle a particular immigration matter or resolve a conflict of interest or a complaint with a client feel free to reach out to us for advice.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice.

Marty Logan

Position: Partner
Email: marty.logan@pittandmoore.co.nz
DDI: +64 3 545 6719