How do I choose an immigration advisor?

It is a criminal offence for a person in the UK to give immigration advice in the course of a business, whether or not they charge money for it, unless they are a solicitor, barrister, member of the Institute of Legal Executives or regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

ILPA is not a regulatory body.  It requires all members giving immigration advice to be regulated by the The Bar Standards Board , The Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Institute of Legal Executives or the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) , or the equivalent professional bodies in the countries in which they work.  All of these bodies can deal with complaints against the people that they regulate and, if you have a complaint, you can also get in touch with the Legal Ombudsman. Full details are set out in Articles 3 and 4 of ILPA's Articles of Association. It is a requirement of membership of ILPA that a member adheres to Guidelines for its members.

In this section of the website you can find ILPA members and find out which areas of immigration, asylum and nationality law they do.

The ILPA Secretariat cannot recommend which ILPA member you should use.  Read ILPA's Guidelines for members to know what to expect.  The following information may be helpful:

  • If you do not have much money, ask if you qualify for free legal advice ('Legal Aid').  A representative who does not do legal aid work should still tell you about the possibility of getting free legal advice from somewhere else.  
  • If your representative does give free legal advice funded by Legal Aid, but says that you do not qualify for free legal advice, then you have a right to appeal against this decison. You should be told about this and, if, having heard why you have been refused, you wish to appeal, your representative should give you the Legal Services Commission's form CW4 on which you can appeal.
  • Make sure you understand what your legal representative is doing for you and, if you are paying, how much this will cost.  You should receive a 'client care' letter when a person agrees to be your legal representative, which explains these things.  Read it carefully and make sure that you understand it.  Your representative should explain what is happening and what they are doing for you.
  • If you are in immigration detention ask your legal representative what they are doing to try to get you out of detention. 

Because ILPA is not a regulatory body, ILPA members are not permitted to use the ILPA logo.  Unauthorised use of the ILPA logo should be reported to the Secretariat who will bring it to the attention of the Executive Committee.   If your representative says that they are a member of ILPA and you cannot find them listed on these pages, please ask them to confirm that they are members of  ILPA. 

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