The BSB has today published the Immigration Thematic Review Report, which summarises the risks in the immigration advice and services market.
The report identifies three key themes, which affect the experiences of immigration clients:
- There are barriers to accessing justice: demand for immigration services outstrips supply, and cost and geographical location affect clients’ ability to access services;
- Immigration clients may not understand the system, how to access help or how to seek redress if things go wrong; and
- Immigration clients experience varying standards of service across the range of providers in the market.
The BSB will amend existing projects to address the risks identified and has agreed three new activities to improve clients’ experience of immigration legal services. The BSB will:
- Publish case studies alongside existing guidance, outlining what “good” and “poor” service looks like to help clients understand what to expect when they interact with a barrister and their legal rights if they do receive a “poor” service;
- Develop a framework that barristers can use to assess and manage client vulnerability, including questions a barrister can ask clients and information about referral to other services if necessary; and
- Continue working with immigration and legal services regulators to seek to develop joint guidance to ensure consistency for the client across the legal professions.
Commenting on the review, BSB Director of Regulatory Policy Ewen MacLeod said: “This review has given us valuable insights into the experiences of immigration clients – we were pleased to undertake this work collaboratively with consumer organisations, regulators and barristers working in this area. We are keen to continue this collaboration to ensure clients better understand their legal rights and reduce barriers to accessing justice.”