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Immigration regulator: there’s not enough immigration lawyers

The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has published its annual report for the year 2022/23. One of the key points made is that the number of new immigration advisers is said to be rising, but not rapidly enough to meet even-faster rising demand for immigration law advice. This shortfall is said to create a risk of unregulated, illegal, poor quality and sometimes exploitative advice filling the vacuum.

But it actually looks like the total number of immigration advisers is falling when we compare the new figures to last year. Presumably that is because more lawyers are leaving the sector than are joining it. Or, to put it another way, experienced and established lawyers are leaving and being replaced by newbies.

Last year there were 3,626 regulated individual advisers and 1,838 organisations. This year there are 3,326 individual advisers and 1,921 organisations. The number of immigration advisers actually seems to have fallen. So too has the amount the OISC collects in registration fees: £1,120m last year and £1,039m this year. Perhaps that partly explains the consultation on major fee increases.

I can think of a quite a few people who think there are already plenty of immigration lawyers, thank you very much. The Immigration Services Commissioner, John Tuckett, disagrees:

A significant challenge for the future will be how to ensure the availability of immigration advice, through appropriate regulated channels, in ways that can meet the needs of those seeking advice.

A summary with key points is available as is the full report, which includes the OISC accounts.

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Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.


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