The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published two new guidance documents on immigration and asylum issues.
The guidance was developed in collaboration with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), and was developed following extensive consultation with consumer organisations and consumers themselves. Its publication follows the immigration roundtable that the BSB held in April.
The first guidance document is aimed directly at people seeking legal help. The second is for professionals working with people with immigration and asylum issues, to help them better assist their clients to navigate the legal system.
The guidance for the public explains:
- The different types of people and organisations that can assist with immigration and asylum issues;
- How to choose the best provider;
- What to expect from providers once they are hired; and
- What to do if something goes wrong.
The Guidance for Professionalsis aimed at those working in organisations such as victim support agencies and other charities.
It explains how professionals can appropriately direct immigration and asylum clients to the help they need. It includes information on:
- Who can help and how;
- The differences between providers;
- What a client should expect from their provider;
- Fees, legal aid and how clients can be charged;
- What a client should do if something goes wrong; and
- Where to signpost clients for information, advice and support.
BSB Director of Strategy and Policy Ewen MacLeod said: “As a regulator working to protect the public within the legal and justice system, we have identified those with immigration issues as especially vulnerable. Following the publication of our Immigration Review last year, we decided that consumers would benefit from some more guidance in this area. We hope that by producing these documents, both professionals and clients can be more assured of what is expected from immigration service providers.”