Immigration Advice – How to Choose?
UK immigration law stipulates that only authorised individuals can provide immigration advice. You should always check with the OISC if your legal advisor is regulated before instructing them.
OISC regulated advisors can be accredited at 3 different levels by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner – from conducting casework to advocating at court (Tribunal). They have passed OISC exams and possess the relevant work experience.
The OISC holds its members to a strict code of professional conduct and training.
When choosing your legal representative, you may wish to consider both professional and personal reasons:
- Reasonable Fees
This is undoubtedly the most important factor. Immigration practitioners with a proven track record are often in a better position to provide advice due to the great deal of experience that has been amassed over the years. A Level 3 OISC advisor is likely to have experienced a wider variety of cases compared to a Level 1 OISC advisor.
Recently, the OISC has expanded the services to Level 3 regulated advisors to offer Judicial Review Case Management (JRCM) – this allows advisors to instruct barristers who have permission to litigate in higher courts, thus widening the scope an OISC regulated advisor.
An ethical lawyer should not make empty promises or offer guarantees. An honest lawyer should always provide you with the pros and cons of the proposed actions. Ultimately, the Home Office or immigration judge is the decision-maker in your case. Their decisions will be influenced by how well your lawyer presents your application.
Referral is often a reliable source in finding an immigration lawyer. Check for reviews and ratings of the firm you come across.
You should expect to pay a reasonable amount of fee that reflects the effort being put into your case. A responsible lawyer will need to invest a good amount of time and resources into your case. The fees should be made clear and agreed from the start, so that all parties can focus on the work without any financial disputes in future.
When dealing with a stressful immigration matter, your lawyer is potentially the person you will spend most of your time communicating with. Therefore, it is important that you feel comfortable sharing information with your lawyer. After all, the better your lawyer understands your circumstances, the more able we are in building a strong case for you.
You should always have the peace of mind that your lawyer is handling your case in a professional yet empathetic manner.