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Introduction to UK immigration law and becoming an immigration advisor
Introduction to UK immigration law and becoming an immigration advisor

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7 The Home Office

The Home Office publishes Operational Guidance for Immigration Officers on how the Immigration Rules and other provisions should be interpreted and applied both generally and in specific circumstances.

These extremely important policy documents also contain concessions, outlining circumstances in which discretion might be exercised, exceptionally, to grant leave outside the Immigration Rules

The Operational Guidance, previously referred to as ‘staff instructions’, currently includes:

  • asylum policy (Asylum Policy Instructions, APIs)
  • business and commercial caseworker guidance
  • enforcement (formerly Enforcement Instructions and Guidance (EIG))
  • Entry Clearance Guidance (ECG)
  • fees and forms
  • Immigration Rules
  • immigration staff guidance (includes guidance on most visa categories)
  • nationality guidance (formerly Nationality Instructions (NIs))
  • non-compliance with the biometric registration regulations
  • rights and responsibilities
  • stateless guidance
  • visitors
  • Windrush scheme casework guidance.

These large documents, which are regularly updated, are vital tools in the armoury of the immigration adviser. They outline most of the processes undertaken by the Home Office to control migration. They allow the adviser to step into the shoes of the Home Office decision-maker to see, for example, how an application will be assessed against the Immigration Rules. Where the guidance is helpful to a case, it should be quoted in the covering letter or representations, and on appeal or Judicial Review.

Activity 4: Providing advice

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

How would you structure an interview with a potential immigration client? Note down your thoughts in the space below.

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There are many ways to structure an interview with a client, but some key tips from experienced advisers are to:

  • identify their objectives (what they are seeking to achieve)
  • determine their immigration history
  • identify the relevant area of immigration law and associated rules
  • identify and find any Home Office guidance.

Remember that for some applications, the law at the time of the original application is relevant; for others, the current law will be relevant.

As you learn about UK immigration law in detail, you are encouraged to develop your own checklists that will help you in client interviews and ensure that you cover all the relevant topics. Immigration control is exclusive in nature, so gathering sufficient, appropriate and relevant evidence is essential to the success (or otherwise) of your client’s applications.