There are many potential reasons why a person might instruct an immigration solicitor – from foreign nationals looking to work, study or reside in the UK to British nationals looking to have a non-EU partner or family member join them in the country – whatever the case, the work of the immigration solicitor should be undertaken with a suitable level of knowledge, professionalism and responsibility.
As such, when an immigration solicitor fails to adequately perform his or her job the consequences can be profound and traumatic, not only for the foreign national concerned but also for the individual's friends, family, colleagues and community.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for immigration solicitors to file visa and immigration applications outside of accepted deadlines, to give incorrect advice or to make serious errors within the requisite application forms.
If you believe that your immigration solicitor has been professionally negligent it is vital that you seek the advice of a specialist in this area of the law, particularly given the many time pressures and personal issues at stake. Oratto's member specialists are among the leading experts in their fields, giving you confidence that when you take on your immigration lawyer and his or her insurers, you have the best possible chance of securing a positive outcome.
The work of the immigration solicitor
Business immigration solicitors provide immigration services to corporate and commercial clients who are looking to:
- employ non EU nationals for work in the UK
- transfer workers between jurisdictions
- invest in a UK business, or
- obtain sponsor licences
Additionally, immigration solicitors work on behalf of private individuals to help them negotiate the many laws, rules and regulations that apply to non-EU persons wishing to work, reside or study in the UK.
To these ends, the following types of visas or permissions might be required:
- Family of a settled person
- Exceptional talent visa
- Entrepreneur visa
- Fiancé visa
- General visit visa
- Spouse visa
- Permanent settlement
- Student visa
- Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 visa applications
- EEA residence permit
- Indefinite leave to remain
- Asylum applications
Immigration solicitor negligence
Immigration law is highly technical and challenging; specialist immigration solicitors should be trained to work specifically in this area of the law and clients have every right to expect a reasonable level of competency and skill.
Oratto's professional negligence solicitor membership includes a number of practitioners who specialise in claims for immigration solicitor negligence, whether the alleged negligence has occurred at the level of the solicitor or the level of the relevant immigration agency.
For example, our member specialists can help with all of the following:
- Incorrectly filled out applications and legal documents
- Unacceptable delays in asylum appeals
- Unfair or unreasonable detention
- Human rights breaches
- Incorrect immigration advice
- Visa application errors
- Missed deadlines
- Failure to advise of correct procedure
- Failure to understand the key issues
- Failure to obtain or to correctly use expert evidence
- Advice leading to breach of orders, rules or regulations
- Failure to follow instructions
- Failure to advise of points based system
- Failure to advise of correct fee
If you believe that you have suffered as a result of negligent immigration advice, it is important to first use the relevant firm's complaints procedure in order to voice your grievance. However, this route alone will not always provide satisfactory recourse.
In order to obtain resolution it may be necessary to contact the Legal Ombudsman, which has powers to adjudicate the case. Unfortunately, it is likely that any compensation awarded by the ombudsman will not adequately reflect your loss.
As such, it is probable that a civil claim for immigration claim professional negligence will represent your best chance of achieving a satisfactory level of compensation – you have six years from the date at which the negligence occurred to pursue this process.
The OISC and Professional Indemnity Insurance
All immigration solicitors should be regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and are legally required to have current and adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII).
Organisations without PII are forbidden from being part of the OISC. Furthermore, PII should provide cover for compensation claims arising from loss caused by adviser negligence, error, misrepresentation or incorrect advice.
According to the OISC firms and individual advisors should have PII if they do any of the following:
- Provide advice to clients
- Handle data belonging to a client or business
- Are responsible for a client's intellectual property
- Provide a professional service and could be challenged on their work
Immigration claim professional negligence
Oratto's member lawyers can help you ensure the best possible advice and representation in the event you decide to pursue a professional negligence claim against an immigration solicitor or associated agency.
Our members are based in firms across the country and can help you ensure the strongest possible argument for compensation in the event you have suffered loss as a result of the negligent services of an immigration professional.
Call us today or click through to the lawyer profiles on the right-hand-side of this page to find the specialist who is right for you.
Alternatively, try our Oratto Match tool and we will help find the best solicitor for your personal circumstances.