On 4 February 2019, the Charity Commission announced that the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) had launched a new, more streamlined scheme specifically for charities and not-for-profit organisations who want to advise EU citizens with regards to settlement in the UK.

The scheme serves to open the door for small, community-based charities and other not-for-profit organisations, including faith-based charities and local advice groups, who wish to become registered advisers to EU citizens applying to settle in the UK.

The advice

Immigration advisers are regulated by the OISC and provide advice and services in many areas and at different levels. Advice can be given at one or more of three distinct advice levels of increasing complexity (from level one to three, with level one being the most basic advice).

It is a criminal offence for a person to provide immigration advice or services in the UK unless their organisation is regulated by the OISC or meets certain other specific criteria.

The new scheme allows successful not-for-profit or charitable organisations to offer their EU citizen clients level one advice and services relating only to EU Settlement Scheme registration, for free, or for a modest fee to contribute to the running of the organisation. The scheme does not apply to those organisations who wish to make a profit when providing this type of advice.

The application process

The new scheme is designed to be relatively ‘pain-free’ and will allow successful applicants to provide the advice set out above without the need to complete a written exam (which is usually required in order to provide immigration advice).

It is also said to be more time efficient, and decisions on the outcome of an application can be expected within four to six weeks following submission.

What if we want to do more?

While many EU citizens will have already applied for ‘EU settled status’, there are many more who have not yet done so and may benefit from some immigration advice to assist them.

A link to an application form, further details about becoming an adviser to an EU citizen and frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be found here.

Further information

If you have any other business immigration queries, for example relating to sponsorship licensing or right-to-work concerns, please contact Hazel Findlay.