Admit long list of errors, adviser told
A victim of former immigration adviser Glen Standing says Standing needs to own up to his mistakes, especially now so many complaints have been upheld.
Mr Standing was a Golden Bay immigration adviser who has had 19 complaints against him upheld in the past 18 months. Last week the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal ordered him to pay nearly $280,000 in refunds, penalties and compensation. This was on top of a more than $20,000 fine incurred the year before.
Christine Whiles-Clarry and her husband, Stephen, were among the first two complainants.
The tribunal said after the two complaints were upheld in August last year Mr Standing was found to have provided incorrect advice and then tried to justify this by falsely claiming a change in immigration policy.
The Whiles-Clarrys were awarded nearly $20,000, but they say they have only received $5000 of it.
Mr Standing told the Nelson Mail last week that he had paid the fine issued last year.
The Whiles-Clarrys' decision showed they were to be paid $6523 for refunded fees, $9935 for loss of income and $3000 in compensation, Mrs Whiles-Clarry said.
Mrs Whiles-Clarry and her family moved to Christchurch from Bedfordshire, England in March 2009.
The family originally planned to apply for visas by themselves, but eventually decided to use Mr Standing of Golden Sands Migration.
Although she and the children had Australian citizenship, which automatically entitles them to New Zealand residency, she said she was told by Mr Standing she would be unable to sponsor her husband.
Mr Standing also told them in order for Mr Whiles-Clarry to get his work visa, he would need to find work in the area he was trained for, as a heavy truck driver.
When they received a call from Mr Standing advising them a one-year work visa had been approved, they questioned why it was not a three-year visa as discussed. Mr Standing told them there had been a change in immigration policies, Mrs Whiles-Clarry said. It was at that point alarm bells began ringing and she contacted the Immigration Department. She was told that her husband could have applied for residency from the moment they arrived in the country, and she would have been allowed to be his sponsor, given her citizenship status.
Further, had Mr Whiles-Clarry applied for an open-work visa, he would have been able to accept any of the jobs he had been previously offered, even though they were not driving trucks. "We wasted so much money and so much time."
They asked Mr Standing for their documents, including Mr Whiles-Clarry's passport and their marriage certificate, but were told they would not be returned until they paid the rest of their fees.
Mrs Whiles-Clarry said she was sucked in by Mr Standing's friendly demeanour. "He did a good talk on us. He sounded like a friend."
He was registered, so they had trusted him but, in hindsight, they should have done it all themselves, she said.
"Immigration are great. They pointed us in the right direction."
Her advice to anyone moving to New Zealand would be to avoid immigration advisers, she said.
Since then the family had moved to Dunedin, where Mr Whiles-Clarry was working and Mrs Whiles-Clarry had taken up study.
She said she was glad to hear the other 17 complaints had been upheld and was annoyed that Mr Standing continued to deny any responsibility.
"He needs to own up and admit [he was wrong] now, it's just getting beyond a joke. Not all of [17 complainants] can be wrong."
She also said she would continue fighting to get the rest of their money from Mr Standing.
"Even if I get a dollar a day, I will get it. It's our money."
The Companies Office shows that the Registrar of Companies is satisfied that Golden Sands Migration has ceased to carry on business and has initiated action to remove the company from the register.
Mr Standing's immigration adviser's licence has been cancelled.
His company, Living New Zealand Ltd, has been struck off the Companies Office register.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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