The difference between Immigration Advisor and a Solicitor?

October 14, 2016
Posted in Immigration
October 14, 2016 Duncan

The difference between Immigration Advisor and a Solicitor?

Difference between OISC Advisors and SRA regulated Solicitors.

We have all heard the tales of unscrupulous conmen posing as ‘immigration advisors’ and disappearing with the money of the victim, often without acting on their promise.

Put simply finding a good advisor can be the difference between an excellent result, a win at the Home Office or Tribunal or having to go through the anxiety, stress and wasted time and cost of repeat applications. This article will allow you to make a well informed choice about your next immigration advisor.


Justin Law Solicitors are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This is the governing body for all solicitors who practice in the UK and are exempt from the regulation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, also known as the ‘OISC’.


OISC Advisors


Advisors who are only accredited by the ‘Office of Immigration Services Commissioner’ usually include those who are non-solicitors, consultants or lay people who have undertaken a course in immigration. Anyone who has completed a degree, whether in law or not, can apply to undertake an OISC examination and practice as an OISC advisor. This OISC scheme has been implemented to ensure that people, at the very minimum, do not commit a criminal offence by providing immigration advice when they are not legally entitled to.


OISC advisors are not entitled to provide advice, assistance or representation to criminals, in matters such as Judicial Review, or to advise in Family law matters; often these matters are intrinsic to your immigration matter, and often determinative of the success of your case.


Qualified Solicitors


Qualified solicitors however must undertake a period of academic study at university, before completing the Legal Practice Course or Graduate Diploma in Law, and undertaking a training contract with a SRA authorised firm of solicitors, usually for two years before qualifying as a solicitor. This is a 6 or 7 year long process.


A solicitor can undertake all the activity an OISC advisor can, with complete exemption. The same cannot be said for an OISC advisor.


At Justin Lawson Solicitors, your case will be handled by a qualified solicitor with considerable experience in Immigration Law, and as an added mark of quality we are accredited by the Law Society as Senior Immigration Practitioners.


The following tips will help you choose your next advisors.


  1. Ask whether the ‘lawyer’ is a solicitor, authorised and regulated by the SRA or an OISC advisor.


  1. Ask for qualifications and experience?


  1. If you are uncertain, you can check if a practicing solicitor is on the roll of solicitors, by using the Law society find a solicitor search


  1. Ask for a landline telephone number, a fax number, do they have premises, an office, can you go there?


  1. Do they have a website and email address that works?


  1. Ask about fees, how will your fees be decided, what work will your fees include, will it be fixed fee or hourly?


  1. Ask for it in writing!


If you require assistance with your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a no obligation consultation to every new client, so get in touch today. 01753 325100.

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