Immigration Advisory Service

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The Immigration Advisory Service refers to two separate entities: a British former charity, in existence from 1993 until 2011; and a private equity-backed phoenix company created after the charity's collapse.

Charity[edit]

The former Immigration Advisory Service[1] was a UK organisation registered as a charity,[2] providing direct legal assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and others needing advice and guidance around British immigration law. Founded in 1993, it closed after going into administration on 8 July 2011. It was formed out of the former United Kingdom Immigrants Advisory Service. It was a nationwide charity with many offices throughout the UK. It derived its funding through donations as well as case funding from Legal Aid, which was means tested.

2008 was a particularly good year for the IAS. IAS lawyers succeeded in winning a number of high profile and far-reaching cases before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and higher courts. Kalvir Kaur of the IAS won the 2008 Immigration Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award for her work with unaccompanied minors and victims of trafficking.

As of 8 July 2011 IAS went into administration,[3] blaming government changes to legal aid. The Legal Services Commission said "During recent stewardship activities the LSC raised concerns around financial management and claims irregularities, which prompted IAS trustees to conclude that the organisation was no longer financially viable".[4] Major changes in legal aid for refugees and asylum seekers were made in 2007[5] and 2010.[6]

Trading name[edit]

The Immigration Advisory Service is used as a trading name by a commercial organisation based in London's Canary Wharf and Gibraltar. This TIAS was founded by Alistair Markham and specialises in immigration into Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.[7] While the IAS provides certain pro bono advice on humanitarian grounds, it remains a private enterprise. It is unclear where the organisation is legally constituted.[8]

References[edit]