Woman used church status to charge for immigration advice

A woman who charged visa applicants hundreds of dollars to file applications on their behalf has been sentenced to surveillance, community service and ordered to pay her victims.

Photo: 123RF

Sesilia Sua has been convicted by Auckland District Court on charges under the Immigration Consultants Act of providing unlicensed advice and using false documents.

She was sentenced to 12 months of surveillance and 200 hours of community service

She was also ordered to pay her victims $8,000 by Monday.

Sua had been warned in 2017 by the Immigration Advisers Authority, but ignored it and continued to provide immigration advice.

Immigration Advisers Registrar Duncan Connor said those affected mainly met Sua at religious events, where her husband is a pastor, or were referred to her by friends or family.

In one example, a person who had connected to Sua through the church network had sought her advice since 2015. Several visa applications submitted by Sua on their behalf have been rejected over the years, leading to the person to reside illegally in New Zealand.

Sua, from Samoa and holder of a New Zealand permanent resident visa, had sometimes identified herself as a family member in visa applications she submitted on behalf of her victims and had sometimes falsified documents in support of visa applications.

“Providing immigration advice is a licensed and recognized profession in New Zealand. If people need help with immigration, they should only seek help from a licensed adviser or an exempt person to hold a license,” Connor said.

“It is concerning that this individual has used his position in the community to dishonestly provide advice and support which has caused significant harm to migrants who have seen them out of pocket, without a visa and unable to travel to Nova Scotia. Zeeland.”

The Immigration Consultants Authority’s online Register of Certified Counselors is available to the public if they wish to search for a Certified Immigration Counselor.

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