Traversing the UK’s immigration laws can be disorientating for those wishing to relocate. Understanding the nuances of their application process is often too complicated and daunting, leading many people to seek professional help to guarantee that all paperwork is accurately documented and submitted.
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Aspiring immigrants need to be aware of the differences between immigration consultants and solicitors when weighing their options for assistance in the immigration process. This article will examine what both professionals do, how they differ, and the steps to select the right specialist based on your specific requirements.
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Who is an Immigration Consultant?
An immigration consultant is an advisor who assists individuals and businesses with the process of immigrating to a new country. They can provide guidance and support throughout the immigration process, including helping clients gather and prepare the necessary documentation, communicating with immigration authorities, and navigating the legal requirements and regulations of the target country.
They are knowledgeable about various immigration programs in a country, and they can help clients determine which one is best suited to their situation. Immigration consultants also assist clients in understanding the requirements of the immigration process, such as background checks, police clearance, language proficiency, and more.
It’s important to note that immigration consultants usually don’t have any academic qualifications in immigration law and are not licensed to practice in court. In the UK, anyone can become an immigration consultant by taking a short and straightforward online test that takes only thirty minutes. The process of becoming an immigration consultant is regulated by a body called OISC (Office of Immigration Services Commissioner).
Who is an Immigration Solicitor?
Unlike immigration consultants, immigration solicitors are qualified legal professionals who have studied and obtained a degree in law. They are licensed to practice law by the respective law society or organisation. Immigration solicitors are knowledgeable about the immigration laws of their target country, and they can offer more comprehensive support throughout the entire process.
To become an immigration solicitor, one must complete a university degree which takes 3 to 4 years. They usually also require going through Legal Practice Course (LPC), a post-graduate course that takes 1 year. Along with a training contract, it takes 4 to 6 years of study and training to become a qualified immigration solicitor.
Immigration solicitors can offer full legal advice and representation in court should a client’s application be denied or challenged. They are also authorised to appear in front of the Home Office and represent their clients when applying for visas or other immigration documents. That means they can provide more comprehensive and expert assistance than immigration consultants.
Choosing the Right Professional For Your Needs
Whether you should go to an immigration consultant or a solicitor depends on your individual needs and your situation. If the legalities of your application are relatively straightforward, an immigration consultant could be sufficient. However, if you require more comprehensive support throughout the process, then it is usually recommended to consult an immigration solicitor.
Additionally, if your situation is complicated and the legalities are more difficult for you to understand, then it is best to seek the advice of a qualified immigration solicitor who can guide you more thoroughly through the process. Especially for cases like appeals and other legal disputes, it is best to get the help of an immigration solicitor.
Immigration solicitors also offer better long-term support, such as answering questions that may arise during the process or providing advice about other legal matters related to your application. Ultimately, the choice of which professional to go for is up to you – do your research and select one who best fits your needs.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be sure that you have the most suitable professional for your needs, who can guide and advise you throughout the process. This will give you peace of mind and ensure your application is as successful as possible.
The Fees of the Immigration Consultant and Solicitor
The fees of an immigration consultant and solicitor usually depend on the complexity of your application. Depending on the complexity of your application and how much time is required to complete it, fees can vary from a few hundred to several thousand pounds.
Immigration solicitors tend to be more expensive than immigration consultants as they have professional qualifications and can represent clients in court, should that be necessary. They can also provide bespoke and expert advice and representation more suited to your needs.
The fees may also vary depending on the individual professional’s expertise, experience, and location. In any case, it is vital to get an upfront quote from the professional you are considering working with so that you can make an informed decision. This will ensure clarity on what services they deliver and the associated expenditures.
It is also important to remember that the fees you pay may be worth it in the end if you receive the desired outcome. Therefore, it is not always wise to go for the cheapest option. Instead, weigh all the factors before making your choice.
Immigration solicitors and consultants both offer invaluable services to those who want to apply for a visa, residency or citizenship in the UK. The choice of which professional to go for depends on your individual needs and situation, as well as the complexity of your application.
At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we are committed to offering an unrivalled level of service in all aspects of UK immigration law. Our team consists of highly skilled solicitors who can deliver specialised advice and guidance with virtually any kind of visa, residency or citizenship application you require.
We understand that this is a demanding process for you, and our team will be here to support your success at every stage of the journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today and discover how we can best support you with your immigration needs!
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below. We usually reply within a few hours.
Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.