Tongan immigration advisor has license revoked
A tribunal recently revoked a Tongan immigration advisor’s license to practice after she was found to have cheated clients and pocketed funds.
Alungamonu Tangilanu, summoned to appear before the Immigration Advisors Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal, is accused of pocketing visa fees paid to her by clients and lying to them about the lodging of their New Zealand visa applications. The case against her is based on complaints by two clients.
The first case involved a Tongan man needing a visitor’s visa. He had seen Tangilanu’s advertisement offering residence visa processing for a fee of $600. When he contacted her, he was told the fee was now $2,500 and that the processing would take three months.
After unsuccessfully attempting to contact Tangilanu once the three months had passed, he called Immigration New Zealand and was told his application had not been received. Having traced the advisor, he was told her secretary had taken the money and destroyed his application. The promised refund and visa did not appear.
The second case involved a Tongan mother who had been refused her first residence visa and asked Tangilanu to reapply, including student visas for her two children in the application. Tangilanu told her the three applications had been made, but NZ immigration confirmed they had not arrived. The woman had paid Tangilanu $3,320 in total for her services.
The Tribunal noted that Tangilanu had voluntarily repaid several amounts to the second client, and ordered her to refund in full to the first client. In addition, $8,000 in penalties was imposed and her license was revoked for a two year period. The authority’s registrar, Barry Smedts, described Tangilanu’s behaviour as disgraceful, adding that most immigration advisors were doing a great job.
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