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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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3 The responsibilities of an immigration adviser

All UK based immigration advisers have a number of responsibilities, including a duty to:

  • remain fit and competent (this includes keeping up-to-date with the law and procedure)
  • comply with the OISC Code of Standards
  • act in the best interests of their clients.

These responsibilities are both to their clients and to the Immigration Services Commissioner, who also has responsibilities and a general duty to promote good practice by immigration advisers, and to ensure that they are fit and competent to provide it.

The requirement of fitness and competence is rigorously applied throughout the OISC levels, and in ongoing requirements for continuing professional development (CPD) and record-keeping. There are additional rules for any organisation that seeks to provide immigration advice or to employ immigration advisers. Further details [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] can be found on the OISC website.

Fitness and competence

An immigration adviser’s fitness and competence is measured by their requirement to demonstrate:

  • knowledge by successfully completing the relevant OISC examination
  • a record of honesty and compliance with the law
  • financial probity.

Criminal record checks can be made; financial probity involves a search of publicly available registers. There is a centrally held register of people who have been declared bankrupt and have not been discharged from bankruptcy; there is also a list of County Court Judgements related to unpaid debts. If an applicant for a Level 1 examination has a criminal record or unpaid debts, or is bankrupt, they will not be able to provide immigration advice.


It is a criminal offence to provide immigration advice or services in the UK unless the organisation you work for is regulated by the OISC or is otherwise covered by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Members of certain professional bodies, such as solicitors, legal executives, barristers and advocates, may give immigration advice without registering with OISC.