Sophia Barrett – Immigration Adviser
It’s been a busy few months in the immigration team: deportation appeals, protecting the immigration status of non British women of British husbands fleeing domestic violence. Add to the mix the asylum seekers fleeing persecution because of their political beliefs, sexuality, or ethnicity.
Then there is the often complex situation of familes who have a mixture ofmembers with British or settled status as well as undocumented migrants. No day is exactly the same, and there is certainly no typical immigration client.
Immigration law has changed immensley since I started my very first immigration advice role 11 years ago. With every new Home Secretary and Immigration minister comes yet more changes to the way cases are processed and decided. Such constant change can at first be frustrating, but essentially, it makes the work we do even more challenging.
Meeting the demands of people who require advice and assistance is another challenge. This has increased even further due to the cuts in legal aid provision, not just in immigration advice, but also in housing, welfare benefits and debt. The numbers of providers of free immigration advice has decreased in recent years. The numbers of people needing that advice has not.
Despite all the challenges, frustrations and constant changes, one thing does remain consistent. The belief the immigration team has in providing free legal advice and representation on immigration matters to those who need it the most. As one former immigration client wrote, “To you maybe you were just doing your job, but for my kids, you saved my life” makes all the frustration seem worthwhile.