Socialist Worker

Immigration Advice Service closes

Issue No. 2260

The Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) collapsed on Monday, leaving thousands of migrants without legal support.

The organisation’s 300 employees arrived for work to find notices telling clients the service had ended.

Julian Bild, a solicitor with IAS in London, told Socialist Worker, “Our successes upset the government enormously. Recently we’ve got an injunction to stop ‘failed’ asylum seekers being deported back to Iraq.

“We provided evidence of people being beaten up on arrival and of many Kurds being detained.”

The IAS has been accused of collapsing because of taking inappropriate cases. Julian disagrees, 'The system is designed for people to fail. Of course sometimes people make mistakes in filling out bureaucratic forms. But I'm in no doubt that all our clients are entitled to legal aid.

'We just didn't have the resources to cope with both the huge level of casework and the huge bureaucracy.

“The cuts we were already facing led many IAS workers to join the GMB union. But most have been demoralised for a long time.

“People hate what is going on, but know that once the government’s legal aid cuts are imposed IAS would not be ‘viable’.

“They will remove asylum cases from legal aid which would have taken away 60 percent of our funding. We also face 10 percent cuts across the board.”

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