An Auckland immigration adviser has been stripped of his licence after refusing to return a client's passport because he claimed he hadn't been paid.

The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal found Richard Uday Prakash was not entitled to the fees he claimed he was owed and should not have withheld the migrant's passport under those or any circumstances.

The migrant's visa was set to expire so he booked a flight to Fiji to avoid being in New Zealand illegally.

Shortly before he was due to leave, Prakash withheld the man's passport and insisted he pay him a fee he claimed to be owing.


The man tried repeatedly to regain his passport and remained in Prakash's Dominion Rd office for two hours. He contacted police and made a complaint to the Immigration Advisers Authority.

The tribunal said it was "intolerable'' for a licensed immigration adviser to make it impossible for a person to leave New Zealand and meet their legal obligations.

"Such conduct is aggravated when the motive is to pressure a person to make payments to them.''

The tribunal found Prakash guilty of serious professional misconduct and ordered his licence to be cancelled, effective from January 25.

He was also prevented from re-applying for a licence for two years and was ordered to pay a $2500 penalty.