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Immigration and Asylum Law Accreditation (IALA) for employed paralegals

Immigration and Asylum Law Accreditation (IALA) is open to paralegals employed at a practice or an organisation that is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The accreditation covers all immigration work that can be done under a Legal Aid Agency (LAA) contract and used as a quality mark for privately funded work.

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Why this work is more important now than ever

According to recent research by Oxford University, by the end of 2021, the UK had the second-largest asylum case backlog in Europe after Germany. There are many complex causes such as Brexit, the long-term impact of the pandemic, lack of adequate resources, and much slower processing times by the Home Office. This backlog is also driven in part by the lack of accredited immigration practitioners exacerbated by the prolonged impact suffered by already traumatised asylum seekers.

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What is the Immigration and Asylum Law Accreditation?

A recognised quality standard for practitioners providing advice under a legal aid contract through an SRA or OISC-regulated entity.

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How do you become accredited?

To be eligible to become accredited candidates must be employed as a caseworker or paralegal by an organisation that provides regulated immigration advice. The accreditation process is managed by the Law Society and once you are accredited, they provide you with the necessary branding to enable you to promote your accreditation.

There are three main stages to the accreditation: - trainee casework assistant - casework assistant - senior caseworker
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Have you signed up yet?

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Stage 1: Trainee casework assistant

Accreditation members can practice at this probationary stage for nine months before becoming accredited as casework assistants. So for example, if you are currently a paralegal working in immigration and asylum, you could opt to do this under the supervision of your employers.

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Trainee caseworker exam

This exam tests the required competencies of a Trainee Casework Assistant under the LAA contract. The exam is available on-demand, which means that you can sit the exam at a date and time that is convenient to you. Once you start the exam, you will have 90 minutes to complete it and you must complete it in one sitting.

Find out more here

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Stage 2: Casework assistant

This is an interim accreditation for applicants who may not be ready to take the senior caseworker exam. So you can remain at this level if you feel you do not want to deal with more complex matters for up to a year but you will not be paid by the LAA for this work until you attain senior casework status.

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Casework assistant exam

This examination tests the required competencies of a Casework Assistant under the LAA contract. The 3-hour and 30-minute examination will take place on Monday 19 June 2023 at 13:00-16:30Bookings close at 13:00 on 9 June 2023.

Find out more here

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Stage 3: Senior caseworker

This is full accreditation and members can be paid by the LAA for work under the Standard Civil Contract 2018. The LAA will not pay you for this work until you are a fully accredited senior caseworker.

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Senior Caseworker Exam 

This examination tests the required competencies of a Senior Caseworker under the LAA contract. The 3 hour and 30 minute examination. 

For more information on accreditation, check out the Law Society's IAL Accreditation page

For help, advice, and support on accreditation, ILPA is the one-stop shop for immigration practioners