Thousands of people pursuing asylum and immigration cases were left without support after the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) charity went into unannounced administration on 8 July 2011. This means in effect that at least for the time being IAS is closed. If you are a client of the Immigration Advisory Service you should contact the Immigration Advisory Service for details on what to do next. You should not visit Immigration Advisory Service offices.
The Immigration Advisory service is very dependent on Government funding. There have already been significant cuts in legal aid for immigration cases. The UK Government intends to pass legislation which will completely axe funding for legal aid for immigration cases. It is not surprising that given the circumstances that IAS has decided to close.
In an article in the Guardian, Peter Lodder, QC, chairman of the Bar Council said:
"The mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Look beyond the high profile sentencing reforms and you will find the government's legal aid proposals will leave many children, vulnerable people and hard-working families without any meaningful access to justice. This would be a development that none of us can take any pride in."
The IAS is the second immigration advice charity within a year to go under. Refugee Migrant Justice closed last summer; They blamed delays in Government legal aid payments. Most of its clients were transferred to IAS.
"We have about 10,000 live cases [many involving more than one person] at any one moment," an anonymous senior IAS official told the Guardian.
"We are very worried about the impact on our clients. Not only had legal aid payments been delayed, but all immigration cases will be put out of the scope of legal aid [in the government's bill] and those left were subject to a 10 percent cut in cash terms."