A complaint against an immigration adviser who copied and pasted a work visa's applicant's signature onto an agreement has been upheld by the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal.
The adviser Victoria Adele Broadway was a licensed immigration adviser based in Victoria, Australia and was acting for the applicant who was a citizen of the United States and living in New Zealand on a work visa.
The applicant was seeking a renewal of her work visa and had been recommended to Broadway by her employer. A written agreement for immigration services was entered between Broadway and the employer but not the applicant.
After filing the work visa application on behalf of the applicant, both were informed by Immigration New Zealand that the employer was included on the Labour Inspectorate's list of non-compliant employers and was therefore not able to support the application.
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Broadway then told INZ the applicant had a new job offer from a different employer and filed a new employment contract, but a number of issues in relation to this fresh employment was raised by INZ.
The applicant advised Broadway that rather than pursue the new job offer, she would return to America.
When Broadway applied to the Immigration Advisers Authority to renew her licence three months later, she was informed that this file had been selected by the authority for review.
Broadway sent an email to the applicant asking her to sign "the last page on the form" and write a short email how she found working with her as her adviser. But the applicant replied and expressed confusion about the document and that she did not feel comfortable signing the form.
Two weeks later, Broadway sent a copy of the written agreement purportedly signed by the applicant which was found to have been falsely inserted.
The applicant lodged a complaint against Broadway with the authority, which was referred to the tribunal.
Tribunal chair David Plunkett said he regarded Broadway's conduct in belatedly seeking a signature on the services agreement as unprofessional.
"I regard it as unprofessional to do so without fully explaining to her client why," he said.
"She truthfully advised the complainant at the start that it was in context of her licence renewal, but later misrepresented her request as being necessary to protect the complainant and close her file. She did not disclose that the real purpose was to send it to the authority."
Plunkett said Broadway's presentation of the agreement to the authority with an attached signature from another document was "plainly dishonest or misleading behaviour".
"I do not know how it was done physically, but that does not matter," he said.
"Whatever was Ms Broadway's motive at the time she requested the complainant's signature, her conduct became both dishonest and misleading at the point at which she presented the agreement, purportedly signed by the complainant, to the authority."
Plunkett found that on the basis of her presentation of a false document to the authority, Broadway's conduct satisfied the statutory ground of complaint of dishonest and misleading behaviour.
The complaint against her was upheld. The registrar, complainant and Broadway have until October 29 to make their submissions.