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Foundations of UK immigration law (OISC Level 1)

The course explores the skills and knowledge expected of an Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 1 Immigration Adviser. It is suitable for those seeking to work as an OISC Level 1 Adviser and those seeking to expand their knowledge of the UK’s immigration system.

You'll consider immigration routes, asylum, nationality and appeals. In addition, you'll learn about the sources of immigration law and the structure and operation of the UK’s immigration rules. Integral to the knowledge gained are the skills required to interview clients, to make applications, to consider relevant immigration routes and to work in an ethical and professional manner.

This course has been designed by The Open University and HJT Training professionals, who specialise in immigration law.

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Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code



This is a non-credit bearing course.

Study method

Short course cost

Entry requirements

What you will study

This course is designed for individuals seeking to learn more about the UK’s Immigration Rules and practice and for individuals seeking to practice as a qualified immigration adviser at Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 1. Developing both relevant knowledge and skills the course also provides an opportunity for examination preparation and the development of highly sought-after legal skills.

Divided into 15 units of study, the course is supported by an online Immigration Law Manual developed by our partner institution. The units explore key aspects of the OISC Level 1 syllabus and competencies. All teaching materials are delivered online through a course website and each unit contains several self-assessed activities designed to build knowledge and skills, to provide points for reflection on progress and to enable you to assess your own progress.

The units cover an introduction to the UK’s Immigration Rules, applications to leave to enter or remain in the UK, visitors to the UK, Appendix FM, Long Residence, Private Life, Students, Workers and Business, EU and EEA Migrants, Nationality Law, Protection and Human Rights Applications, Administrative Review and Appeals. Immigration law is a complex and fast changing area and emphasis is placed on developing the skills required to work with the Immigration Rules.

In addition to knowledge, you gain several important skills essential to those working with immigration law. These include the application of suitability and eligibility criteria, gathering evidence, choosing the appropriate rules and immigration route, working with the immigration rules, client interviewing, time management, letter drafting, identifying resources, and managing applications appropriately and efficiently. Also considered are the features of ethical practice.

For individual’s seeking to qualify as an OISC Level 1 adviser the course also provides a unique opportunity to explore and practice the knowledge and skills required of the OISC Level 1 examination.

Immigration law is a complex and fast changing area and throughout the course emphasis is placed upon developing skills which enable you to keep up to date and which equip you to work with the Immigration Rules as they change and develop. The course is updated annually and those seeking to take the OISC Level 1 examination are guided through the examination process with reference being made to the OISC Level 1 online examination resources provided by OISC.

You will learn

On successful completion of this course, you will have gained knowledge of:

  • key areas of UK immigration law
  • the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 1 syllabus and required competencies
  • the permitted work of an OISC Level 1 Immigration Adviser
  • personnel and terminology relating to immigration law
  • the role of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)
  • OISC examination resources.

You will also have developed several legal, practical, and professional skills including those relevant to:

  • practice as a Level 1 Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Immigration Adviser
  • working with the Immigration Rules
  • working with clients
  • the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 1 examination.

Vocational relevance

This course explores the knowledge and skills required for those seeking to become an Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 1 Immigration Adviser in accordance with the requirements to practice that are set by OISC.

Professional recognition

The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) sets entry requirements, examination dates and is the assessor of the examination papers. Information on entry requirements, examination registration and examination dates can be found on the OISC website.  

Learner support

This course is designed for independent study. Other support is available via StudentHome, the computing helpdesk and by contacting OU-immigration-courses@open.ac.uk.

Work-based activity

The course has a number of activities designed to provide you with opportunities to develop your knowledge and skills, to assesses your own progress and to reflect on your studies. Activities generally have feedback sections. There are no formal assessments set in the course. However. the course does explore examination skills and examination practice and provides an opportunity for you to self-assess whether you meet the Level 1 knowledge and competency requirements set by OISC. If you are intending to apply to practice as an OISC Level 1 Adviser, please read the paragraph that follows carefully.

For those studying as part of their preparation for becoming an OISC Level 1 Adviser

The syllabus, competencies, and examination for OISC Level 1 practice are set by OISC. OISC sets the examination dates, examination entry requirements and registration requirements. OISC provides an examination resources booklet. You need be familiar with all of these before applying to sit and then sitting the examination. OISC also sets the application criteria which applicants for OISC Level 1 must meet (in addition to passing the OISC Level 1 examination).

You should contact the Home Office directly to ensure your understanding of their requirements is correct before making your application to become an OISC Level 1 Immigrant Adviser and sitting the examination.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

This course assumes a basic knowledge of the UK’s legal system and law-making processes. If you are new to the study of law and immigration law, or want to refresh your knowledge, An introduction to UK immigration law and becoming an immigration advisor is a free 15 hour course designed to prepare you for the Foundations of UK immigration law (OISC Level 1)

Course length

This course should take approximately 60 hours of study time depending on your familiarity with immigration law and practice. It has been carefully designed to allow you to work at your own pace and with the flexibility to study at the times that suit you. Completing the course in a more intensive period is possible but you will benefit more if you take your time to complete all the activities, the course reading in the associated online Immigration Law Manual (prepared by our partner institution) and the unit consolidation exercises.

You can register and begin your studies at any time during the life of this course. The course is designed for flexible independent study and you study at your own pace. However, in order to gain a certificate of completion you must complete the activities before the course presentation ends. You can have access to a read only version of the course for up to three years after the course presentation ends.

Please note that depending on the date you register, you have a maximum of 18 months and a minimum of six months to complete your studies (this includes the unit activities). If you feel six months may be insufficient time for you to complete then you can delay registration until the next presentation which begins in January of each year.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime before registration end date Jun 2025 - see Entry requirements for more detail £249.00

Registration closes 31/12/2024


Ways to pay

Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2024/25 academic year. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

The course is delivered entirely online through a website specifically designed to support you as you study. As part of the course, you have access to an online Immigration Law Manual. This is an important resource provided as an integral part of your learning. The Immigration Law Manual (referred to as the Course Reader) is updated annually by leading specialists in UK immigration law (some of whom you will hear from in course videos).

Each of the 15 units is designed for interactive study with activities and links to other relevant materials. There are opportunities for self-reflection, assessment of your own progress and the Learning Outcomes are things you should be able to do on completion of the unit. A number of units have audio and video resources. 

On completion of your studies you can obtain a certificate of completion as evidence of your studies. To gain this certificate you must attempt the unit consolidation activities.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying WG001 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.