In New Zealand the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) has charged education agent Hanfang (Helen) Liu, from Headsun International Group Ltd with a range of criminal offences under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.
Ms Liu is listed as the director of Headsun International Group, an education support services company based in St Heliers. Today Headsun’s website was still up, and listed Ms Liu as the Managing Director.
It’s alleged that the 47-year-old Auckland woman unlawfully provided immigration advice to, and took fees from, seven Chinese nationals for a mix of student, visitor and work visa applications.
The details of the charges are:
- four counts of asking for a fee for providing immigration advice while not being, and knowing she was required to be, licensed
- three counts of providing immigration advice while not being licensed, and knowing she was required to be licensed. The charges related to advice provided on student, visitor and work visa applications.
New Zealand requires immigration advisers to be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority, a government agency established to protect individuals and families looking for immigration advice, or be an exempt person.
The charges Ms Liu faces are serious, carrying up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to NZD$100,000. She was brought before the Auckland District Court to face the charges on 7 February. The court remanded her on bail until 10 May 2018.
Catherine Albiston is the Registrar of Immigration Advisers and head of the Authority. She said:
Our message to international students seeking immigration advice in New Zealand is to check if the person is a Licensed Immigration Adviser or exempt, such as a New Zealand lawyer.
If students need personalised immigration help, it is important to only seek it from people who can legally give New Zealand immigration advice.
Catherine Albitson NZ Registrar of Immigration Advisers
How have NZ institutions responded?
A quick Google search shows Headsun International Group, and Ms Liu, still on the list of education agents for at least two NZ institutions:
To be fair to both of these institutions, they have done the right thing in the first place by listing their education agents on their website. Given that Ms Liu only faced the court a week ago, it may simply be that they have not yet had time to take appropriate action in response.
Headsun International Group was removed from the NZ Companies Register…
…on the grounds that the Registrar has reasonable grounds to believe that the company is not carrying on business and there is no proper reason for the company to continue in existence.
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