How to get good asylum advice
When you first arrive in the UK, perhaps tired and frightened, probably your biggest worry is being allowed to stay. But if you don't get good advice about your asylum application you risk being refused, even if you have a good case.
'I needed advice quickly. I saw his card in a shop window. He had a nice office and seemed friendly. I gave him my travel documents and most of the money I'd managed to bring with me. He was very reassuring and seemed confident he could sort everything out for me.
I realise now I was too trusting but at the time I didn't know where else to go for advice. It became harder and harder to speak to him, he was always busy and never returned my calls. I had no idea what was going on.
Joseph complained about the first adviser to the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. See If you're not happy with your solicitor for more details.
Eventually I found out that although he'd put in my application he did nothing else after that. One day I went to his office only to find it empty. I never saw him or my money again and I ended up being detained. Luckily I found a good adviser who managed to sort everything out for me.'
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Updated November 2011
Advicenow would like to acknowledge and thank Miriam Carrion Benitez, Barrister of 36 Bedford Row for her help in updating this guide.