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The truth about Immigration Advisors

Did you know that most organisations advertising Immigration services are not actually Solicitors or Lawyers?  Some even use the word ‘Solicitor’ as part of their business name, description or heading in their ads. If you type in the words ‘Immigration Solicitor’ or ‘Immigration Lawyer’ into a search engine such as Google your results will probably reveal at least three paid ads at the top of the page and a further eight in the column on the right. Try clicking on one of those immaculately dressed websites but this time try to ignore the impressive graphics and eloquent sales pitch and read the small print.  Although you specifically searched for ‘Immigration Solicitors’ or ‘Lawyers’, what you have actually found is an organisation that provides advice and representation under the auspice of The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).  So why do they advertise themselves as Solicitors or Lawyers? Well the answer is obvious; they want you to believe that they are Solicitors or Lawyers in the hope that you will use their services.


So what is the difference between a Solicitor/Lawyer and Immigration Advisor registered with the OISC?  A Lawyer is defined as "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law. Lawyers have to undergo a vigorous training programme which would normally include the academic stage of training, a three year law degree or a degree in another subject followed by a one year conversion course. For a Lawyer to become a Solicitor they would then undergo a one year postgraduate course know as the Legal Practice Course.  A trainee Solicitor would then complete a two year training contract working in a Solicitors firm before they would qualify as a Solicitor.  A Barrister would complete the Bar Professional Training Course after their degree and then pupilage within Barristers’ Chambers which would normally last one year. As you can see, someone would have to undergo at least six years of specialised training before they would be in a position to represent clients as a Solicitor practicing immigration law.  So what does an Immigration Advisor regulated by the OISC have to do?  Well you will be surprised to know very little, in fact in just a few weeks someone could be in a position to offer advice and representation on immigration matters professionally.  So the next time you search for an Immigration Solicitor or Lawyer read the small print to ensure you get what you’re actually looking for.

The details below are taken directly from the OISC website.

How do I become an Immigration Adviser?

  1. Create an account on the OISC website
    • If you do not receive your confirmation email with your login details within 24hrs of registering, please contact with the following details.
      • Your full name
      • Your email address
      • Your password
    • A member of the OISC staff will respond to your email as soon as possible within 2 working days.
  2. You will be given a user name and password
  3. Take the code and rules test. You need to get 100% on this test to pass and proceed with your application
  4. You will be sent your unique code by email
  5. Complete CRB checklink Download the application notes and application forms for regulation (see side panel)
  6. Review OISC model documents (see side panel)
  7. Read the notes and complete the application form.



June 2011 (1)

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