Need for UK immigration consultants could follow IAS closure

12 Jul 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Immigrants are having to look elsewhere for a UK immigration consultant following the closure of the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS).

It was revealed this week that the charity has been forced into administration, closing its 14 branches around the country. The free service offered legal advice and representation to immigrants moving to England and Scotland. However, many of these people may now need to find their own UK immigration lawyer to help them navigate the country's visa application services.

A statement from the IAS read: "The government's reforms include the removal of immigration from the scope of legal aid, and a ten per cent cut in legal aid fees for refugees seeking asylum within the UK. Immigration accounts for around 60 per cent of IAS's income.

"There are few organisations that could cope with the compound effect of removal of immigration from the scope of legal aid and a cut in fees for asylum clients."

Funding problems with the Legal Services Commission (LSC) also contributed to the problem, the BBC reported. According to the charity, no agreement could be reached over the repayment to the LSC of money claimed in error. The IAS explained that the commission’s "complex funding rules" are behind this problem, but the charity was also also in the position of needing to repay the funds from a substantially lower income base due to the cut in legal aid.

Due to the combined issues, the trustees of the charity explained that all avenues of support have been exhausted. There is no alternative, they stated, than to put the charity into administration.