migrantvoice
Speaking for Ourselves

Our campaign for #honestadvice takes on rogue migration solicitors

Our campaign for #honestadvice takes on rogue migration solicitors

MV

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Our campaign for #honestadvice takes on rogue migration solicitors

On Thursday 19 October we held a packed meeting in Birmingham with Shabana Mahmood MP, activists, lawyers and migrants from a range of backgrounds on the issue of rogue migration solicitors. You can watch Shabana speaking at the launch of the campaign here. 

We have been made aware of significant numbers of migrants in the West Midlands and beyond who feel as if they have been exploited by immigration solicitors – or even people posing as solicitors.

These include those who feel they have paid well above market rate, have not been given sufficient information, advice and guidance, or been given false hope that their cases were stronger than they were in reality.

Stories we have heard include:

  • People not being told about their immigration refusals until a day before the deadline to appeal, and then told to do it themselves.
  • Judicial reviews encouraged at great cost with no grounds, which then damaged opportunities for settlement.
  • Further applications encouraged at a cost of £2000+, with false information provided to families claiming they may be detained by the Home Office unless they reapplied.

That's why we are launching a campaign for #honestadvice in immigration law.

Most solicitors are highly-trained, conscientious professionals who perform an essential service. But in many of the cases we have encountered, desperate people with very little money have been placed at the mercy of profiteering business practices.

We want to work with the legal profession to increase awareness of the issue, combat poor practice, and campaign for common-sense, practical regulation on the level of clarity provided to clients at the start of a case.

Ways to address the problem could include:

  • The SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) to work with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) on guidelines to ensure merits of cases are clearly outlined in client care letters, case law and rules are explained along with refusal letters, and timely deadlines are met.
  • Campaigning for the restoration of legal aid, and the removal of punitive costs for Home Office services that increase financial pressure.
  • Campaigning for regional public bodies to take the issue seriously; the council to be clear on what public information it has made accessible about how to seek proper legal advice, the police to be clear about what they are doing to address potential breaches of the law in some cases.