Complaints about accountancy firms and immigration advice

Why is it important to provide lawful immigration advice?

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The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has recently received an increased number of complaints concerning accountancy firms providing unlawful immigration advice and services to clients.

What is the OISC?

The OISC is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Home Office, regulating immigration advisers to ensure that they are fit, competent and act in their clients' best interests. It investigates complaints about immigration advisers and can prosecute them for illegally providing or advertising immigration advice and services.

Immigration advice and services

Within accounting firms, unqualified persons have been delivering unlawful advice and services to clients, and the OISC would like ACCA members to be aware of this issue.

ACCA members act in the public interest and focus on long-term value, and it is vital that you demonstrate ethics in practice and ACCA's purposes and values. Integrity is one of the key values; members must show that they are ethical, honest and accountable, and encourage the same in others. 

The law

By providing unlawful advice, a firm will be impacted negatively through, for example, severe financial penalties. 

The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 provides for sanctions for criminal offences for immigration advice and services. Advice that is deliberately given on matters such as claims for asylum with the intention of receiving any kind of gain, despite the fact the defendant is not qualified, is considered an offence. Also, providing advice on behalf of another individual and in connection with any other matters for business is a criminal offence.

Check eligibility

Qualified advisers must be authorised by the OISC to provide immigration advice and services.

Further information

Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner

OISC complaints scheme