At the commencement of Regulation for the Immigration Advisory arena in the UK there was interest in the forming of a ‘professional body’ to represent Immigration Advisors. John Scampion, the Immigration Services Commissioner, at that time muted support for such a ‘body’ at the OISC Conference March 2002 where this brought about some discussion at the Conference. In particular it was suggested this may facilitate the representation of the regulated advisers for both the registered and exempt sectors, to enable them to ‘speak as one voice’ to, for example, the Home Office and the OISC. This interest flourished by the desire for many regulated organisations to enhance their professionalism, in the absence of other established Associations at that time, ‘taking us on board’.
This resulted in a number of people, initially in the Registered sector, and followed by the Exempt sector, encouraged by John Scampion, meeting and discussing the feasibility of starting such an Association. It was decided an Association was needed. It was also decided any Association formed would embrace both the Registered and Exempt sectors and subsequently may also welcome others who wished to be associated with such an Association and were operating in the immigration advisory or legal field. The Association would be non-profit making and self-financing. The Association would subsequently seek charitable status. It would be constituted to enable membership participation in its operation. It would be formed with the specific purpose of having the following aims:
To promote the image and professionalism of regulated advisors;
To provide its membership with news, information and a focus of resource facilities;
To provide a focus for discussion with the OISC;
To provide a means of securing recognition and engaging in discussion and consultation with the Home Office, other establishment bodies and other professional bodies;
To represent its member’s interests.
In addition the Association would provide the following services to its members:
Publish a regular (quarterly) Newsletter or Bulletin;
The use of an Association Logo and Acronym for printing onto member’s letter headings;
A Directory of Members to its members and for reference by certain ‘outside’ parties; A facility for the sharing, giving and asking of advice, help and information from other members;
Providing a listing of resources appertaining to immigration and the provision of giving advice to clients and public alike;
An Internet Web Site with a Home Page open to the public, and Secure Pages for use by the membership to disseminate news, information, membership directory, chat room facilities and notice boards etc;
Access to training to be arranged by the Association for the membership;
Negotiate fee reductions in service charges, resource fees, and other areas where payment of fees to suppliers are required;
Access to facilities with a view to encourage good business practice, best practice processes and procedures and quality management systems for audit requirements.
The Association formed at the end of May 2003. This is an Association for Regulated Immigration Advisers as a part of a Regulated Advisory Organisation. The Association will have Corporate Members who are themselves Regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. The Association will have Associate Members who are themselves not Regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner The Association is independent. It needs the support and interest of as many Immigration Advice Organisations as possible to ensure the Association operates to the advantage of the whole membership and fulfils its Aims.
The Association is open to both Registered and Exempt OISC Regulated organisations and those organisations who provide Immigration advice and services under a another legal Regulatory Scheme within the UK as well as those who operate outside the borders of the UK Regulatory Schemes on a ‘best practice’ basis. It is non-profit making. It needs funds for it to operate and these funds may be generated by the Membership fees and from its Sponsors.
There are two grades of membership: CORPORATE MEMBER and ASSOCIATE MEMBER. Membership of Advisers is dependent upon the Regulated Organisation within which they work or operate. Advisers working within the OISC Regulated Organisation will be eligible for membership as CORPORATE MEMBER and those outside of OISC regulation, both within and outside the UK borders will be ASSOCIATE MEMBER.
A scale of fees is needed to provide opportunity for all advisory organisations to join and to enable the services to be provided for the benefit of all members.
The scale of membership fees is based on whether the organisation is ‘registered’ or ‘exempt’ and Corporate or Associate. The fee structure is associated with the Membership Application Form and Adviser Names Lists.
Officers on the Committee of the Association are responsible for the running of the Association and meet at least once every 3 to 4 months. The Association now exists as a Constituted body. As an Immigration Advisory Organisation, we need you to join us and you need to join to get the benefit of a body that will represent your interests and concerns.
The Association itself does not provide immigration advice and services in its own right – only support those organisations who are, in themselves, Registered, or operate under a ‘Best Practice’ scheme to provide immigration services.