We sometimes encounter people who have used an unregulated immigration advisor to make applications. Like the woman who had paid a ‘friend of a friend’ to make an application that was always going to fail. It was a pointless application. When she came to us with the Home Office refusal, we told her the truth. She was in the UK unlawfully, and no application could put that right. What is more, any appeal would not succeed.
The friendly ‘advisor’ was not qualified to do this work. He was not a solicitor. The Solicitors Regulation Authority regulate solicitors. He as not an advisor regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. He is just a man who thought he would make some money by ripping off members of his own community.
This was not the end of this story. The refusal stated that the woman had given fraudulent documents to the Home Office, which was another reason why the Home Office had refused her application. She discovered that her friendly ‘advisor’ had doctored her bank statements and sent them to the Home Office as evidence. The Home Office checked with her bank, who confirmed that the statements had been altered. The Home Office now sees this woman as dishonest, which will impact any future applications she might make from outside the UK.
It is a criminal offence to give immigration advice without being regulated or qualified. The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) regulates our practice. Our lawyers have passed exams in immigration law and regularly update their knowledge. They must follow the OISC code of conduct, which means they must act ethically. We have a complaints procedure in case a client is unhappy with our services so they can be confident that we will always act in their best interests. We will not charge them money to make pointless applications or lodge desperate appeals.
Fake advisors can come in various guises. They might work inside another organisation, for example an accountancy firm, or they might be well-known in the community. They sometimes pretend they are qualified. Always check if your advisor is regulated.
Contact the OISC on 0345 000 0046 or email at info@OISC.gov.uk.
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