I have contacted the authorities. They suggested me to find a "licensed immigration" advisor or an "immigration lawyer".

What is the difference? Are they just two words for the same identity?

1 Answer 1


They are not the same.

In NZ, one may give immigration advice only if licensed by the NZ Immigration Advisors Authority (a NZ government office) to do so, unless exempt from such licensure. You can learn more about the IAA on their About Us page. Briefly, IAA

  • issues licences to people who are fit and competent to give immigration advice
  • maintains competency standards and a code of conduct for immigration advisors
  • investigates people giving immigration advice without a licence or exemption
  • receives complaints from people who have received poor immigration advice.

Lawyers are exempt from IAA license requirements, and may offer immigration advice if they are licensed to practice law in NZ.

  • Hi David, thanks very much for your answer. I am still confused that if lawyers are exempt from license requirements, why they still need to be "licensed to practice law"? Jun 18, 2020 at 7:09
  • 1
    Lawyers can "practice," that is give advice to clients, only if (there are a few tiny exceptions) they graduated from a law school, then passed the Bar examination, and then have paid the yearly fees to remain "active" members of the Bar. Only active members can practice law. For example, I'm a member of the Bar, but an "inactive" one as I no long pay the yearly fees, and cannot advise or represent clients. I expect the situation is the same in NZ. In their vernacular, "licensed to practice law" means person has an active Bar membership and can advise and represent clients. Jun 18, 2020 at 16:22
  • @AGamePlayer Lawyers (who are licensed to practice law) are exempt from the requirement to be licensed to give immigration advice. These are two different licenses. Because they have a law license they don't need an immigration advisor license.
    – Midavalo
    Jun 20, 2020 at 22:32
  • So lawyers can do what all advisors can do. Can I simply understand it as lawyers are somehow more powerful than advisors? Jun 21, 2020 at 3:31
  • Advisors and lawyers give advice regarding immigration matters. Advisors have passed an IAAA test to show knowledge of immigration law; lawyers have attended law school and passed the bar exam, but will not necessarily have taken any classes in immigration, nor will the bar exam necessarily have examined them on this. In litigation between a client and the NZ government, the client may be represented by a lawyer, but not by an advisor. An advisor is apt to be less expensive. Who's "more powerful" will depend upon the lawyer's and advisor's individual personality, competence, and experience. Jun 21, 2020 at 4:17

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