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Finding the Right Immigration Solicitor In Kent
By Helen Smith, UK Immigration Expert (updated 1 December 2023).
As someone who has worked for many years studying immigration matters here in the UK, I’m often asked how to go about finding the right legal advice and representation in Kent. From my experience, there’s a lot more to it than simply searching on Google – taking time to find an expert, accredited solicitor can make all the difference for your application or appeal.
Why it Matters
- Immigration cases are complex; laws and protocols change frequently. Utilising these efficiently can make or break your application. An expert solicitor understands the intricacies to best position your unique situation.
- There are many unqualified providers offering “support” in Kent. The area has no shortage of operators without solicitor credentials or Law Society memberships. Avoid the risk – verify qualifications.
- Appeals and hearings require robust legal arguments and documentation. DIY attempts often fail. A seasoned migration lawyer can compellingly evidence and challenge refusal decisions.
Key Credentials to Look For
- Law Society Immigration Accreditation – ensures extensive training and expertise in immigration/asylum law
- UK Immigration Law Specialism – with specific focus on your visa category (work, family, EU settlement etc)
- Right to Practice Certificate – issued by Solicitors Regulation Authority to licensed, regulated immigration lawyers
- Membership in Law Societies – demonstrates continuing professional development
Assessing Options in Kent
The range of providers in Kent is vast – from new “pop-up” services to long established firms. I advise searching the Law Society registrar, checking Google reviews across multiple sites and requesting testimonials. Meet for initial consultations – assessing responsiveness, understanding of specifics and communication style is invaluable for this long term partnership.
I’m happy to offer further guidance from my decade navigating this landscape in the UK and wish you the very best securing the right representation in Kent. Do reach out with more questions!
Navigating Common UK Visa Routes
As an independent expert sudying visa applicants here in the UK for over a decade, I want to provide some guidance on the major categories that many in Kent often require support with. The visa system can be complex, but taking the appropriate legal route for your situation is critical.
Coming Here For Family
- Spouse visas – For those looking to marry or partner with a British citizen and settle in the UK. Requirements involve income thresholds, English tests and evidence you have met in person.
- Family reunion visas – For existing UK residents wanting to bring over non-EU family members. Rules differ depending on your own visa status.
- Ancestry visas – For Commonwealth applicants with a UK-born grandparent. Gives 5 years to work before an ongoing residency application.
Opportunities To Work or Study
- Skilled worker visas – For professionals with a confirmed UK job offer in an approved occupation. English, financial maintenance and a sponsorship licence are required.
- Student visas – For international students accepted onto university or college courses in the UK. Strict attendance rules with restrictions on right to work.
Achieving Long Term Residency
- Indefinite leave to remain – A permanent right to live in the UK through either 10 years continuous lawful residency under other visas, or accelerated routes exist in some circumstances. Requires extensive evidence gathering and preparation.
- British citizenship – The final progression in fully settling making the UK your permanent home. Usually accessible after 5+ years residency here and meeting good character requirements.
As always, those in Kent should reach out with queries to trusted representation guiding you through whatever immigration matter you may be facing.
Fighting Visa Refusals & Immigration Decisions
In my years observing visa applicants here in the UK, I have seen countless individuals facing the denial of their entry clearance or leave to remain. Receiving that refusal letter elicits panic – but with an expert immigration solicitor, positive outcomes can often be achieved even in what seem the bleakest of cases.
- Appeal strategies require nuance – navigating complex legal arguments while passionately evidencing your unique situation. “Cookie cutter” appeals gain little traction. Specialist solicitors excel at identifying winnable points of contention.
- Judicial reviews of poor Home Office decisions have strong grounds when protocol breaches or human rights infringements are uncovered. An expert immigration lawyer can compel reconsideration.
- With each week in detention exacerbating mental strain for those facing deportation, solicitors act swiftly utilising international protections and human rights laws to secure release. I’ve seen years in the UK saved via emergency injunctions.
My message – never assume a visa denial spells the end, or that deportation orders cannot be overturned. In Kent, there are always appeal and review options, and with the right representation, almost no case is ever truly lost. If faced with an immigration decision, seek expert legal advice.
Claiming Asylum & Refugee Status
Part of my role for over 10 years has involved working with asylum seekers and refugees here in the UK. Securing protection when you fear persecution in your home country takes compassion and meticulous case building to UK Home Office standards.
The backdrop of world conflicts and political instability means the community in Kent requires some needing such assistance.
Navigating the system alone faces hurdles, but our law firm has seen high approval rates by:
- Preparing detailed personal statements evidencing individual risk and country conditions fully meeting the refugee criteria
- Formally lodging extensive documentation of past harms with translations
- Attending substantive interviews to accentuate credibility
I’ve seen individuals who had applications initially rejected, that secured successful appeals by presenting watertight materials and legal arguments on issuing refugee status.
Earning British Citizenship
Becoming a British citizen represents a profound life achievement for immigrants who have built lives and families here in the UK. For many across Kent, acquiring this status cements your identity and future in your adopted homeland.
Once indefinite leave to remain is obtained after meeting residency requirements, preparing a watertight naturalisation application should follow:
- Verifying you have spent no longer than 450 days abroad in the last 5 years
- Obtaining extensive character and employer references
- Passing the Life in the UK test demonstrating sufficient national knowledge
- Proving stable legal income or undertaking the citizenship ceremony pledge
While studying this process over the years here, I can proudly share the pride and security achieving British citizenship confers on so many immigrants to this country. Please reach out to an independent legal expert to explore your options.