If you are interested in a career as an immigration lawyer, please read this article.
An immigration solicitor is someone who has received specific training to qualify them to deal with cases under UK immigration law.
Immigration law touches on many different types of cases, but the following are the most common types of cases dealt with by an immigration attorney:
Asylum Applications – Asylum claims are made when somebody enters the UK and requests protection from persecution in their home country.
Family Cases – Many people want to bring family members into the UK, whether it be a wife or husband intending to join his/her spouse already settled in the UK or children applying to join their parents. There are stricter rules nowadays, however, including requiring that both parents must have reached State Pension age before children can come to live with them.
Business People – Both non-European entrepreneurs and EEA nationals who wish to set up a business in the UK need specialist immigration advice. Entry Clearance – This is where somebody who wishes to enter the UK must receive permission from the Home Office before they are allowed entry into the country. Points Based System (PBS) Tier 1 visa applications are for certain skilled workers, Tier 2 visa applications are for people employed by companies based outside of the UK but want to transfer their employees into the UK etc.
Fortunately, if you do not fit these categories, there is no need to worry as there is also an exceptional talent route which will mean you could potentially avoid having to apply under PBS at all! Leave to
Remain/Extensions – Although time spent in the UK with no lawful status is not counted towards the qualification period for either settlement or naturalisation, it will affect whether a person can apply for further leave to remain and how long that application may take. Deportation – When people are considered undesirable under the law of the United Kingdom, they can be deported back to their home country. This aspect of immigration law is becoming stricter by the day, so specialist advice from an immigration solicitor is essential if you have any issues here.
Knowing this information, what types of backgrounds will suit being an immigration lawyer?
To be an immigration lawyer, you need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills because you will have to deal with many different types of clients with a wide range of cultural backgrounds. You must also have a good knowledge of the law, both in terms of UK immigration law itself and European human rights law. A lawyer who specialises in asylum cases will need to be familiar with fast-track claims, while one representing people applying for visas from overseas will have a far greater understanding of the UK’s Points Based System.
The UK Border Agency is becoming an increasingly powerful organisation whose decisions can affect a person’s life in many ways, so it would help if you were naturally inquisitive and able to see issues from different sides.
Finally, being an immigration solicitor requires dedication and determination because this type of work is frequently very challenging. However, if you are passionate about helping others achieve their goals and you have studied law at degree level or beyond, this could be the perfect career for you.
As an immigration solicitor, you will need to complete a course in qualifying as a registered legal executive before being able to practice independently. Some people choose to carry on their studies and qualify as immigration solicitors, while others may find it useful to work for a law firm or go directly into the fast track scheme (FTS), which is designed for candidates without formal qualifications but who have at least two years of experience working in an accredited law firm.
To become a solicitor, you will be expected to complete either the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). If you opt for the latter route – and this is becoming more and more popular with each passing year – then there are fewer options: most courses take place in the evenings and are over two years in duration, while others require you to relocate for a 12-month period.
On top of this, there is fierce competition for spaces on both courses – standard requirements include three A grades at GCSE level, including English Language and Maths. You will also need five good GCSEs overall. Finally, most universities ask for examples of extracurricular activities involving leadership or volunteering.
While completing your degree course, you should spend some time working in an actual law firm, just to gain some understanding of what life as an immigration lawyer may be like once you qualify.
In conclusion, if you want to become an immigration lawyer or solicitor, you will need to take into account concerns that come with working in an immigration law firm. Some people feel that the job is too emotionally draining. This can be due to dealing with traumatic cases, such as those involving people seeking asylum. It’s also common for lawyers to become frustrated at how long it takes for certain applications or appeals to go through (it can sometimes take several months).