4.1 Qualified individuals
Any individual or organisation that wants to provide immigration advice must register with the OISC.
The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 s.84(1) states that only a qualified person can provide immigration advice or services. It also defines a qualified person as someone who is (legislation.gov.uk, 1999):
- registered with the OISC
- authorised by a designated professional body to practise as a member of the profession whose members that body regulates
- acting on behalf of, and under the supervision of, anyone registered or authorised (whether under a contract of employment).
Most voluntary and community organisations and most businesses that offer immigration advice or services in the UK need to apply to the OISC for registration. These requirements are beyond the scope of this course, but you should always check that anyone employing you to provide immigration advice is registered to do so.
It is important to understand that anyone providing immigration advice who is not qualified and regulated by the OISC is committing a criminal offence. ‘Providing advice’ occurs when a person gives specific advice on an area of immigration law that relates to another’s circumstances, whether the provider is paid to do so.
Now listen to Audio 1, which explores this topic further.