Providing immigration advice and services
In order to provide legal advice and services relating to a person’s immigration status, you need to be regulated by the OISC or another legal services regulator. The OISC regulates organisations and within regulated organisations we authorise advisers to practice at three different Levels (Levels 1-3). Which Levels advisers are authorised at depends on the nature and complexity of the work they wish to undertake.
Advisers authorised at Level 1 can give basic advice and assistance, for example in relation to naturalising as a British citizen. Those authorised at Level 2 can give advice and assistance in relation to more complex issues, for example asylum applications or where the client is an undocumented migrant, Level 3 is the highest level and amongst other things, allows advisers to assist clients with appeals. Read the Guidance on Competence for full details of work permitted at each Level.
Where organisations only provide advice on a very particular aspect of immigration law, the OISC may authorise advisers to provide immigration advice and services only in this specific area. The OISC may also allow some advisers to practice at a Level in which they are not yet authorised while they are training under agreed supervision arrangements.
Because we recognise that deciding what type of regulation will best suit your organisation is potentially complex and you may be unsure if you need regulation at all, we have set up a team to help non-commercial advice agencies considering registration. You can contact them at VSS@oisc.gov.uk for advice about the regulation process, if you are considering applying or working on your application. The Three Step Guide to Regulation is primarily for such organisations and we hope it will, along with our Key Stages and Frequently Asked Questions documents, help you to understand the OISC application process and address any concerns you might have.