My name is Andrew Williams, and I am a qualified solicitor who has specialised in private UK immigration work for more than 20 years. Most recently, I have enjoyed operating my own immigration firm for upwards of 16 years. During this time, I have helped hundreds of clients achieve their UK immigration goals. I had dreamed up the DIY UK Immigration Services (DIY UK) concept as early as 2011 but chose not to take any corresponding action until 2017. Overall, I yearned to launch this new immigration platform because of two reasons: first, to make quality UK immigration services accessible to everyone around the world, and second, to make this venture much more affordable for all interested parties.
Over the past 20 years, I have spent a considerable amount of time challenging adverse immigration decisions. I am often directly involved in the appeal process—from initial appeal submission to presenting appeals before an immigration tribunal. I am an experienced advocate with an excellent appeal success rate. However, in prior years I was often asked to review cases wherein the initial application was so poor that the prospect of appeal success was poor as well. In these circumstances, I faced the difficult task of advising clients to abandon any hope of successfully challenging the refusal decision—advising them to restart the entire process while enlisting the help of an experienced immigration lawyer to prepare the application. Clients would often state that they either mistakenly believed their previous representative was an experienced immigration lawyer or they simply could not afford said services because they were too expensive. I was, in fact, one of these experienced lawyers who charged too much, and as a result, could not help many potential clients achieve their UK immigration goals because my services fell outside their budget. Yet, I began finding it increasingly difficult to keep turning away those in need of quality legal representation. The solution? DIY UK Immigration Services: a DIY platform available for those in need of quality immigration representation who can directly benefit from my 20 years of expertise in the field.
In early 2017, I initiated the process of setting up my DIY UK business. However, I was still tasked with managing my own solicitors firm and trying to provide for my partner and three children. I had no funds to invest in the new business and couldn’t even use my existing law firm to raise capital from mainstream banks. Even my own business bank, which I had partnered with for over 10 years, refused to lend me any money or increase my measly $5K overdraft. Making things even worse, many developers I had approached to build the platform didn’t want to touch it. Others quoted fees in excess of $100K. I was hopeful when one developer agreed to take on the work for a reasonable price and agreed to payment in instalments; however, they later refunded my first payment, stating they had underestimated the work. By September 2017, I had not made any progress on the platform but had started to divert huge amounts of money and human resources away from my law firm business and into the DIY platform behind the scenes. I still could not find anyone to help me with development, so I decided to take on the work myself by learning front and back-end web development skills. Little did I know how long this process would take and the hours upon hours required for testing, designing, re-testing and re-designing. I woke up one day after basically disappearing off the face of the Earth for two years and realised that it was December 2019.
By this point, I had made some real progress and believed that I would be ready to launch after the turn of the New Year. Platform testing began in February 2020, just prior to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic one month later. This process did not go so well, as I quickly discovered that I had designed a platform that even I found too complicated. At the same time, my law firm was experiencing a rapid decline in revenue. We started to take a considerable loss each month and continued to do so for around 12 months. Making things worse, I was forced to make the difficult decision to scrap almost 80% of the DIY platform and subsequently re-build it. By March 2021, I started to regret all the money I had taken out of my law firm to bootstrap platform development—finding myself in a position where in order to survive this difficult period, I would need to take out several large business loans. I also made the difficult decision to temporarily scale down DIY on-site services and just focus on those needing help in their quest to visit the UK. So here we are!