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By ‘Ulu‘alo Po‘uhila

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (November 10, 1998 Tonga Times)---The costs charged by immigration consultants in New Zealand are too much, says Auckland based lawyer, John Foliaki.

He told Taimi 'o Tonga (Tonga Times) that he was shocked to find out that costs up to NZ$ 3,000 are being charged for assistance given to clients applying for permanent residency or citizenship in New Zealand.

"I know that some consultants charge between NZ$ 2,000 and NZ$ 3,000 for what amounts to filling out forms, and presenting them to Immigration; and that does not take a lot of time," he says.

In recent weeks, Monepatsie Immigration Service, a local immigration consultant service, has come under fire for charging NZ$ 2,000 for applicants whom they allegedly knew would not get approved. Several clients of this company have launched complaints with legal firms, including Foliaki's.

"I have four clients who are filing claims against Monepatsie for services that were not rendered, yet they were charged exorbitant prices."

There are other consultant services, who after assessing a client's chance, charge NZ$ 2,000 for their service but guarantee approval or their money back.

Foliaki says that part of the problem with immigration consultants is that they do not have a society to monitor them like the Law Society with the legal profession.

(NOTE US$ 1 = NZ$ .5370 on November 16, 1998)

For additional reports from the Tonga Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Tonga Times.

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