24 Dec 2012

NZ immigration advisor stripped of licence over Fiji migrant complaint

3:20 pm on 24 December 2012

A New Zealand immigration adviser is to be stripped of his licence after withholding the passport of a migrant wanting to leave for Fiji.

A tribunal has found Auckland based Richard Uday Prakash was not entitled to the fees he claimed he was owed from the migrant.

It also found he should not have withheld the migrant's passport under any circumstances.

Prakash of Vital Consulting 2007 Limited had had no success in getting a visa for the man, and withheld his passport to force him to pay fees.

The migrant had already booked a flight to Fiji as his visa was about to expire.

The tribunal said licensed immigration advisers must return migrants' personal documents when they ask and they should have a written agreement with their clients.

New Zealand authorities say no one has the right to withhold personal documents and it is advising people to fully understand agreements before signing or handing over money.