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Review of OISC published by Home Office


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The latest triennial review of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has been published by the Home Office. The organisation will not be abolished and will continue as a non departmental public body at arms length from Government. There is also a very brief Ministerial statement.

The main finding seems to be that the OISC needs to both cut costs and increase its income from fees paid by advisers, moving towards zero cost to the taxpayer by 2020. The provision by the OISC of free CPD training is criticised (this was in fact abolished last year) as is the free provision of other services such as competence assessments.

The report reveals a few interesting tidbits, such as:

  • The OISC employs 60 full time equivalent staff
  • There is no searchable database on investigations and prosecutions, making it basically impossible to assess internally or externally whether the OISC is an effective organisation.
  • The OISC meets regularly with Immigration Enforcement at the Home Office “to share intelligence and allow for IE to share concerns about individual advisers which have been identified through the caseworking processes.”
  • There is a high degree of “churn” among OISC registered immigration advisers, with 758 new advisers in 2013/14 and 785 leaving the scheme in the same period. The OISC believes this is because many new immigration advisers set up as sole traders and quickly go out of business. The OISC is apparently working to reduce this churn with a stricter competence assessment and pre-registration audit in future.

The report is critical of the old system of CPD monitoring, but that has now been abolished in any event.

It looks like OISC advisers can expect the cost of regulation to increase in the coming years.

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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.