It’s not as if the average visa applicant has the kind of knowledge required to put the skills and experience of an immigration lawyer to the test. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for asking such professionals to justify themselves as the best possible choice for the job. After all, the importance of any given visa application may be significant to say the least, so it’s crucial to ensure you don’t find yourself doing business with a lawyer that’s incapable or unhelpful in any way.
How can you be sure of this? It’s technically quite easy – simply ask the following six questions and make sure the answers you’re given are appropriate:
What’s Your Area of Specialism?
First of all, it’s a good idea to establish whether the immigration lawyer you’re considering is in fact an immigration specialist, or just a general lawyer that happens to occasionally dabble in immigration law. It’s surprising how often it turns out to be the latter – despite the fact that immigration law is so complex and intricate that dedicated professionals really are the only way to go. And what’s more, if it’s Tier 2 visas in London you’re interested in, make sure that it’s Tier 2 visas that the lawyer has plenty of experience in dealing with.
What Qualifications Do You Have?
In terms of qualifications, what you’re looking for here is not necessarily evidence of the most spectacular education imaginable, but rather that which points to them in fact being a genuine, bona fide lawyer. The reason being that there are many immigration agencies up and running today that claim to offer all the same services as lawyers, though are not in fact lawyers by definition. They may have certain qualifications and have trained in various areas, but if it’s an immigration lawyer you want, you need to ensure they’re qualified enough to call themselves as such.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
Experience is extremely important in the world of most legal matters as it’s only with practice and exposure to various scenarios that you can ever become the best that you can be. If your lawyer is experienced enough, chances are there isn’t a single imaginable outcome or challenge that can come along that they won’t have encountered before. By contrast, those with less experience may still be learning the ropes and indeed learning from their mistakes.
What Are Your Success Rates?
This is the kind of question most immigration lawyers will not in any way shy away from – chances are they’ll be more than delighted to sing their own praises to you. That being said, it’s important to ask not only about their success rates, but for actual evidence of their success rates by way of case studies. It’s not as if any immigration lawyer can ever claim to be successful 100% of the time, but at the same time there’s much to be said for avoiding those who seem to fail more often than not.
What Exactly Will You Do For Me?
Be sure to ask the prospective legal representative exactly what it is that they will do for you. While some will happily be on hand to answer questions and give advice when needed, others are far more proactive and play a very active role in the application process. Ask them outright as to exactly what they will do, what they will not do and what role both of you will play in the application process.
What if My Application is Unsuccessful?
It’s more than common for applications to be turned down even if the applicant in question ticks all the right boxes in terms of criteria, background and full completion of the application form. As such, there’s generally always room for both applying once again and in some cases filing an appeal if you believe the application was not considered fairly. These are both very complex processes and it’s inevitable that a second application will be more likely to fail due to the first failed attempt. As such, you need to side with a lawyer that will not give up on your application or leave you struggling following a rejection.
Can You Explain Your Fee Structure in Full?
Last but not least, one of the most important golden rules of all is that of never working with a legal party that doesn’t disclose their fee structure in full and guarantee there will be no hidden extras. Whether it’s by the day, by the hour or for the whole deal from start to finish, the price they quote should be the price you pay and not a penny more.