The Student Advice and Support Service is authorised to give immigration advice to Loughborough University students and prospective students.
Immigration advice is very carefully regulated by the Office of the Immigration Commissioner (OISC), and it is a criminal offence to provide immigration advice or services unless authorised to do so. This provision was introduced by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and came into force on 30 April 2001.
The legislation has two main objectives.
1. To tackle the problem of unscrupulous advisers, operating for profit, who give inaccurate, misleading and expensive advice that is damaging to the client in question.
2. To improve the general quality of advice available through legitimate advisers.
It is,therefore, really important that you do not give advice to students about their immigration matters, and refer them to this department instead.
(Information taken from the OISC and UKCISA)
Definition of 'immigration advice and services'
The legislation relates to anyone providing immigration advice and services in the UK. This includes advisers based in the UK who are providing advice (e.g. by telephone or email) to a client who is overseas.
Giving advice, which relates to an individual's particular circumstances in connection with an immigration matter, constitutes immigration advice. This may also include employment advice when there is an immigration element to it, such as Tier 2, Tier 5 or work during studies. Note that basic signposting and the provision of general information that does not address an individual's specific circumstances does not constitute advice and is not covered by the scheme. Examples of this may include directing a student to a regulated immigration adviser, or providing UKCISA's general information to students.
A rule of thumb might be that if you could put something in a leaflet because it is of general application, it is information; if not, it is advice. For example, stating "students may only need to show evidence of maintenance for two months if they are applying for leave to continue a course" is proving information, whereas telling an individual student "your bank statement should show maintenance for two months rather than nine months because you are a continuing student with an established presence" is giving advice.
Making representations on behalf of a particular individual before a court or tribunal, or corresponding with a government department (e.g. the Home Office), or Minister, is providing immigration services. This includes sending a letter to an MP with the intention that it is to be forwarded to the Home Office. Simple statements of fact or opinion on, for example, academic progress, are not representations. However, any opinion on the student's situation in relation to the requirements of the immigration rules is likely to be considered as providing immigration services.
As a Higher Education Institute, we are exempt, by a ministerial order, from having to apply for authorisation to give immigration advice. However, we do still have to comply with the OISC Code of Standards.
Complaints about immigration advice
If students have a complaint about immigration advice we have given to them, there are one of two things they can do.
1. Complain using the Student Advice and Support Service complaints procedure.
2. Complain via the OISC complaints procedure.