As a direct access immigration barrister based in London the vast majority of my cases are from those in the UK, either people who are thinking about making a new application or who have made an application only to see it messed up by other lawyers / friends or referrals from solicitors.
A small percentage of my clients are those from abroad. This is something that troubles me. I say this as I have often had Entry Clearance Appeals where the case has been handled by an “agent” from abroad. When I mean “agent” I mean someone who has set themselves up as an immigration consultant / lawyer. The difficulty that my clients and indeed other clients face is that the protection offered by s.84 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 is not afforded to those abroad. This can often mean that people fall into unscrupulous hands and find otherwise good cases messed up.
This is a relatively short post as it is to raise the potential for anyone to get advice from lawyers in the UK who are covered by s.84 of the IAA 1999, which to those who do not understand it makes it a criminal offence for an individual who is not a lawyer or registered with a relevant body to give immigration advice.
I would therefore urge anyone thinking about making an application from abroad to check the qualification of the person who they propose to use. A little money apparently saved from abroad can cost a lot money come any appeal, and given the restrictions appeals – see next post – can make any appeal futile.
If you are considering making an application from abroad and would like my advice please do not hesitate to contact me or one of my team to arrange an appointment whether it be by Skype, telephone, or internet.