How to choose your immigration consultant
There are so many immigration solicitors, lawyers and consultants in the UK that selecting the best one can be a real challenge. We hope the following information will assist you in this process.
Are you in good hands?
Immigration is one of the most important decisions one makes in life and you would want to ensure that you are in the hands of professional and reliable people who will not leave your application to chance.
Check if the immigration solicitors have a strong record of success, how long have they been known and what clients say about them. Do they offer professional, efficient and reliable service? Are they qualified and registered with the appropriate regulating body? What is their reputation based on? Are you as important to them, as they are to you when your immigration affairs are in their hands?
Professional qualifications: solicitors, barristers, OISC registered advisors- what's the difference?
You may be confused by the variety of legal qualifications in the UK. There are solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulating Authority, Barristers regulated by the Bar Council and there are other immigration professionals regulated by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Solicitor firms usually undertake a wide scope of legal work and it is important to check if your solicitor actually specialises in immigration. Immigration law is extremely complex, and is getting more and more complex by the hour. Solicitors doing a variety of work may not be fully up to date with the ever changing immigration rules and we would advise to instruct someone who is fully devoted to immigration.
Barristers are lawyers who specialise in presenting the case in court. Traditionally, barristers have been instructed by solicitors or OISC advisors. Some barristers now offer direct access to lay clients. However, barristers will not be running routing correspondence with the Home Office, calling the caseworkers, preparing the bundles of documents and putting together evidence. Cutting out a solicitor may often turn out neither cost effective nor expedient.
OISC regulated immigration advisers may be professional solicitors or barristers working under the supervision of the OISC, or they may have no formal qualifications in law but would have passed the OISC examination to be approved and registered at a specific level of competence.
OISC regulated adviser are listed on the OISC website. You can see the number of advisers, their competence level and the date of registration. You can read the year of registration in the registration number of the firm. For example, our registration F200700033 shows that we were accredited in 2007 and 33 is the order number in which the application was approved. F in front of the registration number means that we are a fee charging organisation.
OISC has three levels of competence which allows advisers to undertake work of varying complexity. Top level 3 registration authorises the adviser to represent clients in immigration courts, currently known as First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). OISC firms would usually charge less than big firms of solicitors as their overheads are lower than those of big solicitors firms.
Our advice is to check that the firm is properly regulated and get in touch with them to see if you gel.
Getting in touch: the location of your lawyers office is not of great importance, but how approachable are they?
Whether your lawyers are based in London or not is not massively important. Modern means of communication make it easy to give and take instructions over the telephone, by email or skype. The best way to find out what your immigration adviser will be like to deal with is to get in touch. You should be able to have a brief conversation regarding your case and receive some general advice. This will give you an indication of the advisers level of knowledge and professionalism. They should respond to your emails, return phone calls and book appointments in a timely manner.
Is it worth hiring a lawyer?
You may ask yourself whether it is worth hiring an immigration lawyer to represent you in your immigration matters. There are several factors to consider such as the complexity of your case and the potential consequences of not getting it right.
If you believe that your application should be straightforward but you wish to have the confidence in the outcome, you can book a document checking service which is normally less than half price of full legal representation.
Consultation: be careful about free legal advice
It is understandable that you would want to speak to the lawyers before instructing them. After all, you will be entrusting them with a matter of fundamental importance and you would want to make acquaintance first.
However, beware of free legal advice. Legal advice is covered by professional indemnity insurance and professional lawyers take it seriously. This means they will have to identify you, record your details and keep good notes of the advice they gave you. If the advice turns out to be wrong, there may be very dire consequences for both the client and the lawyer.
When you pay for a consultation, you are paying for professional attention to your specific circumstances. The lawyers may ask you questions that may seem outside the scope of your immediate concern. But this is only because a good lawyer would want to understand the bigger picture and anticipate any issues that may potentially have an impact.
Instructing an immigration lawyer: what you need to know
It is important to agree on terms before instructing an immigration lawyer to represent you. These should be set out in a Client Care Letter which confirms your instructions, the fee structure (as well as clarification on Home Office fees) and the complaints procedure in case you are not satisfied with the service you receive.
Cost: the cheapest may not be the most cost effective
Price will always be an important factor in choosing a solicitor. However, making your selection solely on this basis is not a good idea. It could mean handing your case over to someone who is taking on too many clients and therefore unable to dedicate enough time to each one. Good lawyers’ fees are likely to reflect the amount of time and effort they will put into preparing your case. Selecting the right specialist could save you a lot of time, hassle and money, especially in the long run. However, the overheads your solicitors are likely to bear, such as an address in a posh London location, would involve an extra cost which is inevitably transferred to the client. You might wish to note this as one of the factors in your assessment.
Why choose Kadmos as your immigration lawyers?
Kadmos Consultants have been specialising solely in immigration since 2007 and have an excellent reputation and an impressive track record of success. Our clients’ testimonials speak for themselves. We are professional lawyers and we are accredited by the OISC at the top level. We are very approachable and you can call us at any time or send us an email and we will respond without delay.
We offer a free 10-minute telephone assessment of the merits of your case and will tell you whether there is scope for us to help you. When a more detailed discussion of your affairs is necessary we will offer you a paid consultation.
We will advise you of our fees in advance and you will receive from us an engagement letter which sets out our terms and conditions. We normally work on a set fee basis. This gives you confidence in the overall cost even if your case requires more work than we initially anticipate.
You can check our fees page to have an idea of the fees before getting an accurate quote.