An Auckland man who charged would-be investor migrants upwards of $350,000 for immigration advice has been sentenced to home detention, community work and fined for doing so without a licence.
Liang Michael Liu was today fined and sentenced to six months home detention and 200 hours community work.
He was convicted and sentenced by the Auckland District Court on a total of 15 representative charges laid by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA).
Liu's company was also fined and ordered to repay victims for providing immigration advice without being licensed or exempt.
He is the sole director of the company LJ Consulting Limited, which trades as New Zealand Business Migration (NZBM).
Liu was ordered to repay one of the five victims $10,000 and his company NZBM was ordered to pay a fine of $30,000 and make reparations to the victims of $153,120.
"Mr Liu and his company charged extremely high fees for providing advice to people looking to migrate to New Zealand with entrepreneur and investment category visas – in some cases the fees exceeded $350,000," says Registrar of Immigration Advisers Duncan Connor.
"These visa categories require a significant financial investment in New Zealand and the clients entrusted LJ Consulting to provide the appropriate immigration services and documentation associated with their visas."
Under New Zealand law, it is compulsory for anyone giving immigration advice about New Zealand to be licensed, even if they were based offshore, unless they are exempt.
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"Mr Liu never applied for an Immigration Adviser's Licence and was not exempt from being licensed," Connor said.
Liu's company did employ licensed advisers, but their role were only to facilitate submissions of applications to Immigration NZ. Immigration advice, however, were provided by people who were unlicensed or not otherwise exempt.
"This type of offending can cause significant stress to visa applicants, impact their ability to enter or remain in New Zealand, and cause financial loss, it will not be tolerated," Connor said.
He said people should use a licensed immigration adviser or exempt person such as a lawyer with a NZ practising certificate if they needed help with immigration matters regardless of its complexity.
Anyone found breaking the law can face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to