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Consultation on OISC’s guidance on competence for immigration advisors | Immigration Matters

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The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has launched a consultation on revising its guidance on competence.

The OISC has a duty to ensure that people providing immigration advice or immigration services are competent to do so. Its guidance on competence sets out the standards that advisers should meet.

Following the introduction of the points-based system and other important developments in immigration, the OISC is considering whether the guidance needs to be fundamentally changed. This consultation is an opportunity for advisers and other stakeholders to be involved in the OISC’s decision-making process, so that the future regulation of immigration advisers remains efficient and relevant to the changes happening in the wider immigration sector.

The consultation is open for 12 weeks, until 29 January 2010.

For further information on the consultation and details on how to respond, please see the OISC website.

How to choose an immigration adviser 

A simple way to verify an adviser’s status is to check that the adviser and firm are legally registered (as they must be) to give immigration advice on the OISC or the Law Society website. This does not of course verify that the person you are talking to is the adviser listed, but it is a good starting point. 

The OISC publish a useful guide: ‘How to choose an immigration adviser’ on it website. 

Before you put your trust in any professional you must do your own ‘common sense’ checks. For instance, does the person have an office you can visit or are they asking you to meet at a McDonalds or in a pub? I have met more than one candidate who handed over £2000 in cash to a person calling themselves a Solicitor in the East Ham branch of McDonalds. Both cash and ‘Solicitor’ were never to be seen again. 

Warning bells should also be sounding loud and clear in your head if the adviser is insisting you pay in cash or to a personal bank account. 

Be cautious of sending money to a person you have never met or cannot verify. There are of course many legitimate advisers which operate a telephone or internet based service, but do your own checks. 

Anyone can be impressed by a fancy website, but there’s nothing like checking out someone in person, face to face, at their premises.

Advisers should be giving you their business cards and terms of business outlining their fee structure. They should also be knowledgeable, professional and know what they are talking about. If in any doubt, walk away.

Finally, if the advice and solution being offered sounds ‘too good to be true’, it probably is. 

Just as most financial frauds are perpetuated by investor’s greed to obtain unrealistic returns, immigration victims pay money to illegal advisers because they promise something honest advisers have told them cannot be done. 

If you would like to share your ‘immigration advice’ experience with our readers, write your comments below.

Related articles: 

Home Office announce tough new regulations for immigration advisers

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