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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/risks-of-receiving-immigration-advice-from-an-unregulated-person/risks-of-unregulated-immigration-advice
1. Legal immigration advice
In the UK only OISC registered immigration advisers (or solicitors, barristers and members of approved professional bodies) are legally able to provide immigration and asylum advice and services to the public.
2. Risks of unregulated immigration advice
A person who is not registered with the OISC or a member of an approved professional body has not been assessed as being fit and competent to provide you with immigration advice or services.
Such advisers may have little or no knowledge of immigration law and practice. They cannot be held to account by the OISC or any other regulator for their actions, or any money you have paid to them.
A registered immigration adviser should not claim to be able to influence or predetermine the outcome of your application, or arrange for your application to receive priority processing.
3. Benefits of using an OISC registered immigration adviser
An OISC registered adviser must act professionally and comply with the Commissioner’s code of standards.
Advisers must be open and honest with you about your prospects of success and should only advise you to proceed with an application if you have a realistic chance of being granted leave to enter or remain in the UK.
An OISC registered immigration adviser:
- will have a 10 digit registration number and be listed on the OISC register
- must have a good and up-to-date knowledge of the UK’s immigration law and practice
- is bound to act in your best interests and give you accurate advice
- must keep any advanced payment made to them in a separate client account until services are provided, and have proper accounting records
- must keep proper client records for 6 years
- is authorised to represent you and must tell you about your visa or other outcome in a timely manner
- undertakes continuing professional development in order to maintain knowledge of immigration law and policy
- can charge fees only that are appropriate for the complexity of the work undertaken
- can only give advice appropriate to the level they are authorised to by the OISC
- must have an established complaint scheme should things go wrong
- must carry insurance against giving poor advice
Unregulated advisers do not give you these benefits and are acting illegally
4. Report a person who is not regulated
If you know a person who is giving immigration assistance but:
- is not registered by the OISC
- is not a regulated solicitor or barrister
- is not regulated by an approved professional body
Then you should immediately report them to the OISC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.