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2.2 Staff/Volunteer Journey from Level 0-3
Traditionally advice giving had mostly been in the context of training to be a qualified lawyer, solicitor, barrister or perhaps a legal executive. Those that are training to be Solicitors can now use the experience gained either volunteering or working in a regulated environment towards qualification as a Solicitor.
It is possible to provide immigration advice in the not-for-profit sector without degree level or formal qualifications. Life skills and experience can be an asset when moving into this area of work. However, even then the OISC expects a certain level of standards and requirements before you can move to the next stage of registration.
- Develop the prescribed competencies for OISC Registered Advisor
- You must be able to communicate clearly and accurately in English; without this you will not be able to represent your clients effectively
- You will need to provide details of their previous advice-giving experience, and the jobs or voluntary roles in which that experience was gained
- At level 1, experience in areas such as Welfare, Debt, Housing, Legal or Employment is helpful in the absence of immigration advice-giving experience
- You must provide details of your Training and Qualifications - this should include any external immigration training you have undertaken within the last 5 years
- You must declare whether you have been bankrupt, subject to previous disciplinary proceedings by a regulatory body, whether you have been sued by a client in the last 5 years, involved in any conduct which may call into question your honesty, integrity or respect for the law
- If you are a British or a European Union citizen, you must provide a legible copy of your passport or European Union identity card as proof of right to work
- If you are not British, you should demonstrate that you have valid leave to remain and the right to work in the United Kingdom for a minimum of 18 months at the point of application (however, if your leave is going to expire sooner, you can reassure OISC that it may be renewed and/or your clients will not be adversely affected if it expires)
- You must provide a DBS Disclosure Certificate - this must be less than 6 months old, unless you are on the update service. If you have no DBS certificate, you can apply for one through the OISC.
- More generally you need to know and have an interest in immigration law for you to effectively engage in the process of giving advice.
- Once registered, you must keep that knowledge up-to-date. Immigration law is intensely political and therefore subject to constant tinkering on a massive scale. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. If you do not keep abreast of these changes, you may cause considerable harm to your clients.
Preparing and Planning to give advice -ensure that prior to meeting the client you start researching some aspects of initial instructions that have been taken by the receptionist or a volunteer.