How to become an immigration adviser (non-government)
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
- specialist courses run by professional bodies
You could train to be a legal executive through a chartered legal executive degree apprenticeship, or train to be a solicitor through a solicitor degree apprenticeship.
You could specialise in immigration cases after completing your apprenticeship.
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
To specialise in immigration as a legal executive, it'll help if you can find a job with a firm that deals with immigration and asylum issues, whilst training. You can find more information about qualifying from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
To specialise in immigration as a barrister or solicitor, it would be useful if you could do some of your training in this area of work. You can find more information about solicitor and barrister training from The Law Society and The Bar Council.
You do not have to have a law degree, or any degree, to give immigration advice regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
This may be a quicker route and you can decide which areas of immigration, asylum and nationality law you want to do. The 3 levels of regulation are:
- level 1 - basic immigration advice within the Immigration Rules - a minimum of 3 months' or 40 hours' experience gained in the last 2 years
- level 2 - more complex work, including applications outside the Immigration Rules - a minimum of 12 months' or 120 hours' experience
- level 3 - includes appeals work and a minimum of 24 months' or 240 hours' experience
To register with the OISC, you'll need to attend training, pass an exam and meet their standards.
- you'll need to register with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
It may be an advantage if you can speak another language.
Immigration advisers are employed by a range of organisations like legal companies, charities and community organisations.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
You can find out more about how to get into immigration advice work from the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association.