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Why is the quality of Immigration Lawyers so poor?

Westkin’s blog has long argued that although there are great immigration solicitors, lawyers and barristers, they are the exception rather than the rule. Immigration Law is blighted by poor providers, more so than any other area of law.

Why is this? Although we are not economists, we imagine that an economist might note the following issues:

(a)    High Churn Rate of Immigration Clients

The incentives for immigration lawyer are slightly perverse. Most immigration clients need a one off service, a visa to be obtained and then the relationship is over. This is different from most other services where the customer might need continual or at least yearly services, which requires the service provider to provide a consistent level of service. Immigration lawyers should ensure that they provide a good service as an ethical consideration, but the incentives might be skewed against it.

(b)   Lack of knowledge on part of immigration law firm clients

For markets to work, they must be transparent and both sides should have knowledge of what they are buying. Immigration clients tend to be at a disadvantage, more so than other legal clients. They are operating in a country that they are not used to, are unaware of immigration law, and might not have a wide support network advising them. They simply might not be able to identify poor service.

(c)    Role of the UKBA

Controversially, the UKBA might bear some responsibility here. The UKBA has two public faces in many ways. In attempting to placate the host community, the UKBA presents a tough almost intentionally irrational face – showing that they are uncompromising to migrants who step out of line. Of course, the UKBA, as a public body is required to follow Immigration Law which requires a more balanced approach. Of course, migrants take a greater interest in television broadcasts like UK Border Force. The reaction of the migrant is to look for a lawyer who can get round the rules that are set by an irrational body. This drives migrants into less than honest immigration lawyers, which of course keeps them in business, driving down standards.

All of these factors are reversible, but not solely by top down regulation. Education of clients and signposters will always achieve the same results.

Contact us if you want more advice about the work done by our immigration lawyers.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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