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When seeking Immigration advice services should You use an Adviser or Lawyer?

Updated: May 9

Navigate your visa confidently using professional immigration advice.


Lawyers can be very supportive & helpful in providing guidance and ensuring your visa meets all the necessary requirements.


But it's also important to understand the differences between Immigration advisers, Immigration Lawyers, Solicitors and Barristers when considering your own visa needs in finding the best immigration lawyer to support you.


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If you find the visa process overwhelming or if you have complex circumstances, it is strongly recommended to consider seeking professional assistance from a lawyer or visa consultant, commonly known as an adviser in the UK.


Find us by scrolling down this link: Registered legal representatives are the only ones authorized to submit visa applications on your behalf in the UK. To ensure that your visa application is handled properly, your legal representative must be registered with the OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner), typically at level 1. This applies to lawyers, solicitors, barristers, and advisers from any company registered with the OISC or any other regulatory authority.


Lawyers and advisers can provide valuable guidance and ensure that your visa application meets all the necessary requirements. While using the services of a adviser or lawyer when submitting a visa application is not mandatory, it can be highly beneficial in certain situations. It's important to understand the distinctions between solicitors, barristers, lawyers, and advisers in the United Kingdom, both in terms of qualifications and the range of services they can offer.


Legal professionals have in-depth knowledge of the immigration process and are familiar with the latest rules and policies, and can provide tailored advice based on your specific circumstances. They can help navigate complex situations, address any legal complexities, and increase your chances of a successful outcome.


When considering professional services, it is advisable to conduct research and choose a reputable and experienced lawyer or adviser. You can seek recommendations, review client testimonials, and ensure that they are registered with an appropriate regulatory authority.


Please note that while this information provides general guidance, it is essential to consult with a professional for personalized advice based on your individual circumstances and specific visa requirements. They will be able to provide comprehensive support and guidance throughout the visa application process.


To find out more about our services: click here.


 

Immigration Advice Services:


Barristers, Solicitors, Lawyers & Advisers


Here are the key differences:


Barristers, Solicitors & Lawyers:


Qualifications:


Solicitors & Barristers in the UK are fully qualified lawyers, solicitors or barristers who have completed their legal education, obtained relevant qualifications normally a LLB degree, and hold a practicing certificate after they qualify and start working. They have extensive knowledge of the UK legal system and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Bar Standards Board (BSB).


Legal Representation:


Barristers & Solicitors can give legal representation in complex immigration cases. They are authorized to represent clients in court, including immigration tribunals, and can advocate on their behalf. They both can prepare legal documents, give legal advice, and handle all aspects of the UK legal system process.


Expertise:


Due to their legal training and experience, Barristers & Solicitors are equipped to handle intricate legal matters, such as asylum claims, appeals, and more complex immigration matters . They can give comprehensive immigration advice and services to identify legal solutions, and navigate the intricacies of immigration law and more importantly the UK legal system, if you have a criminal matter relating to immigration you likely will need a Barrister to represent you as not all solicitors are eligible to represent your case in a high court setting.


Ongoing Professional Development:


Barristers & Solicitors are required to engage in continuous professional development to stay updated with changes in immigration law and regulations if practising in this field of law. This ensures they remain knowledgeable and well-informed in their practice.


Immigration Advisers


Qualifications:


Not all Immigration advisers will have acquired the same level of qualification as Barristers or Solicitors. Advisers are still required to meet the same minimum level of accreditation expected of both Barristers & Solicitors. Advisers are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Advisers must obtain accreditation from the OISC to give advice and services. Advisers have to pass an examination accreditation at a specific level which determines the complexity of cases they are allowed to process, submit and represent on.


Advice and Assistance:

Advisers offer advice, assistance, and guidance on immigration matters. They can help with visa applications, provide information on the necessary documentation, and guide individuals through the immigration process. However, they cannot provide legal representation in court or present arguments on behalf of clients in a court setting, only some Solicitors and all Barristers are eligible to do this.


Accreditation Levels:


OISC - Regulate at three different levels for Immigration advisers:


Level 1 - advice and assistance on all application work associated with:

Entry clearance

Leave to enter

Leave to remain

Nationality and citizenship

EU and EEA law

Level 2 – casework

Level 2 advisers can do everything that Level 1 advisers can do, but can also accept more complicated cases such as:

Claims for asylum and human rights applications

Detention

Temporary admission

Chief Immigration Officer Bail

Level 3 - advocacy and representation

Level 3 advisers can do everything that Level 1 and 2 advisers can. They can appear on your behalf at an immigration tribunal.


Code of Standards:


Immigration advisers must adhere to the OISC's Code of Standards, which sets out their professional responsibilities, ethical conduct, and obligations to clients. This code ensures a level of professionalism and quality in the services provided by immigration advisers.


Ongoing Professional Development:


Immigration advisers are required to engage in continuous professional development to stay updated with changes in immigration law and regulations. This ensures they remain knowledgeable and well-informed in their area practice.


Cost and Affordability:


Immigration advisers often offer their services at a more affordable rate compared to immigration lawyers. This can be beneficial for individuals who require guidance and assistance but may not need legal representation in court.



Key factors to consider when appointing an Immigration adviser, Solicitor or Barrister:


Complexity of your application needs:


If your case is straightforward, and you are confident in understanding the application process and meeting the requirements, you may choose to handle the application on your own. When taking this approach I would recommend consider having your application professionally checked first before you submit as it would give you the peace of mind nothing is missing and maximise your chances of success.


For more information about our Application Checking Service click here.


However, if you find the visa application process overwhelming or your case is complex, involves circumstantial complexities, or you have concerns about meeting the eligibility criteria, hiring an our own immigration adviser can provide guidance and ensure your application is prepared correctly.


Peace of mind:


Engaging an Immigration adviser can provide peace of mind, knowing that a legal professional is reviewing your application and advising you on the best course of action. They can help you navigate the intricacies of immigration rules, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have.


Legal expertise:


Immigration lawyers such as solicitors & barristers can specialize in immigration law and stay updated on the latest regulations and policy changes just as an Immigration adviser would. However, Solicitors & Barristers can provide legal expertise on other specific areas outside the scope of an immigration adviser. For example if your visa application was chosen along side other applicants who received unfair application refusals and a solicitor wanted to use your visa application within a judicial review case to demonstrate flaws within the eligibility requirements and UKVI procedures used to decide the outcome of your visa application. In these circumstances only solicitors or even a Barrister could represent such a case.


Maximizing chances of success:


Immigration advisers & lawyers can help maximize your chances of a successful application. They can review your supporting documents, identify any weaknesses or gaps, and advise on how to strengthen your application. Their experience and knowledge can contribute to submitting a more relevant application, potentially transforming an application that would otherwise be refused due to a lack of documentation into an application that would be approved because they helped you demonstrate correctly how you meet the visa application criteria correctly.


Complex situations:


If you have a complex immigration history, previous visa refusals, or a criminal record, it is advisable to seek legal assistance. Immigration advisers as well as solicitors, barristers can navigate these complexities, helping you understand the potential impact on your application, and advise on the best approach to address any issues.


Representation and advocacy:


In cases where an interview or an appeal is required, having a immigration adviser or lawyer represent you can be valuable. They both can present your case effectively, argue on your behalf, and handle any legal procedures or negotiations on your behalf. When considering an immigration adviser they would need to be a level 3 registered adviser.


Changing circumstances:

If your circumstances have changed since your initial application, such as a change in marital status or employment, immigration lawyers and immigration advisers can advise on how to update your application or apply for a different visa category.


It is important to note that hiring an immigration lawyer or adviser is a personal decision and would involve additional costs to your overall application needs. Assess your specific situation, the complexity of your application needs, and your own comfort level in trying to navigate the immigration process. Consulting with an immigration adviser they can give you tailored advice based on your personal circumstances and help you make an informed decision.


In summary:


Solicitors & Barristers in the UK are fully qualified legal professional lawyers who can give legal representation and handle the most complex applications including criminal cases relating to Immigration matters.


Immigration advisers, regulated by the OISC, offer services and assistance and can also give legal representation on complex immigration cases at tribunal, but not necessarily at County or High Court level. The choice between a Solicitor, Barrister and an immigration adviser really depends on the complexity of the case, the level of legal representation needed, and the clients own personal preferences.


Visa application appeals are represented at Tier 1 or Upper tier 2 tribunal hearings which can be represented by both Immigration advisers, Solicitors and Barristers. Visa Application Appeals are civil matters not criminal matters heard at County or High court level.



Marc Gibson our immigration adviser specialises in assisting foreign nationals with there visa application needs. Marc has supported hundreds of UK and other nationals support there partners to prepare and submit successful Visa applications. Whether you require a consultation to understand the Immigration Rules, or have your own visa application professional checked by him before submitting or use his representation service to prepare and submit your own visa application for you, Marc can help.


Appendix FM financial requirements associated to all family settlement visa applications are particularly complex and include mandatory requirements in terms of the documentary evidence needed to demonstrate you can meet the requirements of a UK visa application. Our immigration adviser specialises in assisting family applicants with complex financial circumstances complete and submit successful applications.


Marc prides himself on being friendly, approachable and professional in meeting his clients’ needs, he is dedicated to providing clear and reliable services to his clients.







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