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Immigration adviser (non-government)

Immigration advisers give advice on asylum claims, nationality, citizenship, deportation and employment, and represent clients in court.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need to:

  • specialise in immigration work, if you’re a barrister or solicitor
  • work and train with a firm that deals with immigration and asylum issues, if you’re a legal executive
  • complete training and register with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) if you’re not a barrister, solicitor or legal executive

Paid or unpaid experience in an organisation that works with immigrants and asylum seekers, like Citizens Advice, Refugee Action, or Refugee Support Network, can give you an advantage when you apply for jobs or training.

You’ll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The Law Society and The Bar Council have more information about solicitor and barrister training.

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
 (CILEx) has more information on qualifying as a legal executive.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to persuade others of the merits of your case, including those in senior positions
  • good time management and ability to work to strict timelines
  • record-keeping, IT and organisational skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll give advice on asylum and protection, immigration and nationality issues either in the not-for-profit or for-profit immigration and asylum sector.

If you’re:

  • a barrister – you’ll work on complex cases in court, at tribunals, or on High Court legal reviews
  • a solicitor – you’ll have a lot of personal contact with clients on complex, high-profile or expensive cases
  • a member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives – you’ll specialise in immigration doing very similar work to a solicitor
  • registered with OISC – the cases you work on will depend on your training

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • finding out the facts of a case
  • deciding how urgent a case is
  • making enquiries on behalf of clients
  • helping with application forms and contacting relevant authorities
  • explaining options and next steps to clients
  • drafting grounds for appeal and witness statements
  • representing clients in tribunals

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000

Experienced: £30,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000

If you’re a barrister, you can earn considerably more.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 35 to 40 hours a week.

You may need to work some evenings and weekends. Part-time and voluntary work is often available.

You may need to travel to visit clients in detention centres, prisons, or charity or business premises.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could work on more complex and high-profile cases.

You could specialise in a particular area, like working with children, providing consular services or advising international students at a university.

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Last updated: 13 September 2017