The Immigration Advisory Service (IAS), the charity which provides free or legal aid funded immigration services to migrants and asylum seekers in the UK, has gone bust.
The IAS called in administrators on Friday who told the 300 staff in offices all over the country to clear their offices.
The charity receives millions of pounds of funding was from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) who administer legal aid.
The free service is one of the leading charities giving legal advice and representation to immigrants and asylum seekers in England and Scotland.
From April 2009 until March 2010, the charity handled more than 24,000 cases, 14,462 of which were publicly funded immigration cases.
The LSC recently conducted an audit, and major concerns were raised over financial administration.
What appears to have forced trustees of the IAS to call it a day is that the LSC had demanded repayment of a significant amount of money already paid out in legal aid. This was because the claimants for whom the legal aid funds were claimed for could not either be identified or confirmed to be eligible for legal aid.
A spokesman for the LSC would not go into specific details but did confirm it is a “seven figure sum”, well over £1-M that they were demanding repayment of. The IAS then decided to close up shop.
Although this is a major blow to a lot of people who have immigration claims in the pipeline, the LSC did make a statement saying they were going to be working with the administrators and trustees of IAS to help IAS’ clients.
A Legal Services Commission spokesperson said:
“The Immigration Advisory Service’s decision to go into administration is theirs alone.
“During recent stewardship activities LSC raised concerns around financial management and claims irregularities which prompted IAS trustees’ to conclude that the organisation was no longer financially viable.
“Our priority now is to work closely with IAS and the administrators to ensure clients of IAS continue to get the help they need, whilst safeguarding public money. We are now identifying alternative advice provision in the areas affected and arrangements for case transfer will follow as soon as possible.’
IAS clients are advised to visit IAS’s website where updates on arrangements will be posted – www.iasuk.org. Source: Balita Pinoy.net.
Yesterday the UK’s largest care home operator, Southern Cross, announced that it looks set to shut down after landlords owning all 752 of its care homes said they wanted to leave the group.
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