Unregulated immigration advice results in fine



Three directors from two law firms have been fined a total of £16,750 and ordered to pay £28,745 in compensation after being found guilty of providing unqualified immigration advice and/or services. Following a two-year investigation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), the regulatory body that governs immigration advisors, the trio were found to have generated in excess of £2.5 million in fees whilst providing advice that ultimately resulted in victims being variously forced to leave the UK permanently, pay £7000 in expenses to contest a failed court case and, in one case, left a couple who travelled for work trapped in the UK for two years whilst their documentation was processed.

Dan Romulus Dandes of DDR Legal Services LLP, claiming to be qualified as an EU registered lawyer, began a supervisory scheme enabling law firm Burlow & Spencer Ltd to avoid regulation by the OISC. Mr Dandes did not have the necessary UK qualifications for such a role however, and so anyone providing advice under the scheme would be doing so in an unregulated and therefor illegal capacity. Advice provided by Burlow & Spencer Ltd resulted in more than 90 complaints to the OISC regarding the quality of their service, and the business has since ceased trading.

In sentencing Mr Dandes and Mr Jamil of DDR Legal Services LLP and Ms Zia Bi – a director of Burlow & Spencer Ltd, Judge Munro stated that all of the defendants were of previous good character. The mitigation in all cases is a genuine lack of knowledge that the criminal behaviour was in fact criminal. Both Ms Bi and Mr Dandes now accept that they were negligent and innocent people suffered as a result.

“We are pleased with the Judge’s decision today to impose these fines on these individuals, who acted outside the law by providing immigration advice illegally and putting the lives of many vulnerable people at risk.

As the Judge stated, these financial penalties will not be able to fully or properly compensate victims for the ‘severe consequences’ of the defendants’ actions, but we hope it will emphasise the importance of using regulated immigration advisers”.

Immigration Services Commissioner John Tuckett

 
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