The Legal 500


United Kingdom > London > Human resources > Immigration


Index of tables

  1. Immigration: business
  2. Immigration: human rights, appeals and overstay
  3. Leading individuals

Bates Wells Braithwaite displays ‘extremely good knowledge of the area’, and ‘consistently offers good, prudent advice’ on ‘high-profile’ matters. Philip Trott’s team continues to advise international music artists on gaining entry to the UK, while other clients of the ‘excellent’ team include Nike (UK) and the British Red Cross. The ‘committed’ Christopher Randall is ‘clearly very good’, and is recommended for his knowledge of the immigration rules for overseas domestic workers. Trott has ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of immigration law’, and solicitor Tom Ketteley is noted for his ability to ‘anticipate legislative changes and tailor advice to it’.

The ‘excellent’ and ‘very knowledgeable’ team at Kingsley Napley LLP has ‘outstanding technical knowledge in UK immigration and free movement’. It advises entrepreneurs on applications for Tier 1 visas, and has a particular niche advising in relation to surrogacy issues. The ‘incredibly smartNicolas Rollason heads the team, with other recommended individuals including Andrew Tingley, who is a ‘robust advocate for his clients’; the ‘first-rateElspeth Guild; and Ilda de Sousa, who ‘knows the law inside out’ and was promoted to the partnership in May 2013.

Laura Devine Solicitors is ‘superb’, and highly regarded by peers. The firm represents clients in the finance, consultancy, manufacturing and legal sectors, and has recently seen an increase in work from clients in fashion, sport and the arts. Sophie Barrett-Brown and Laura Devine are highly rated.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP is highlighted for its ‘excellent’ service and ‘impressive’ business acumen and industry knowledge. The team is well known for its crisis management work and represents higher education institutions, corporate clients and financial institutions. Head of department Julia Onslow-Cole is recommended for her ‘tenacity and drive to get the job done’. Linda Rowe ‘provides clear strategic and business-conscious advice’, and was promoted to the partnership in 2013 together with Jurga McCluskey.

Baker & McKenzie LLP has an ‘excellent immigration department’ which acts for multinational companies and high-net-worth individuals. Clients are impressed by the team’s ‘depth of knowledge’ and ability to apply it relevantly to clients’ business needs. Tony Haque is ‘knowledgeable on corporate immigration’.

Carter Thomas Solicitors was established in April 2013 by Nichola Carter, who previously headed Penningtons Solicitors LLP’s immigration practice. Carter has ‘an exceptionally strong reputation amongst the education sector’.

Specialist global immigration firm Fragomen LLP advises on business visitor visas, temporary work and residence permits, and student-related matters, among other areas. Highly regarded managing partner Caron Pope is experienced in Tier 1 (investor) applications for clients of private banks and high-net-worth individuals, with a strong focus on Eastern Europe and China. Alex Paterson relocated to the firm’s Perth office.

Boutique firm Gherson demonstrates an ‘outstanding’ degree of professionalism and honesty, and is ‘committed to providing clients with high-quality advice’. Representing FTSE 100 companies, multinationals, start-ups and individuals, the firm takes a ‘solution-based’ approach and employs ‘innovative’ arguments. Roger Gherson is ‘a dynamo’, and solicitor Kathryn Bradbury is ‘an incredibly experienced and conscientious practitioner’. Consultant Lisa Amos heads the business immigration practice.

Magrath LLP is ‘always willing to go the extra mile’, and gives ‘appropriate and individually tailored advice’. Highlights in 2012 included advising on naturalisation applications, and various Tier 1 (general) and Tier 2 (general) applications. Clients praise Chris Magrath for his knowledge of the system and his ability to apply it to clients’ businesses. Sharmila Mehta is ‘exceptional’, and Ben Sheldrick is also a key name.

In line with the broader firm’s focus, Mishcon de Reya’s team acts for a range of high-net-worth individuals. The firm has ‘impeccable standards of work’, and has particular expertise in Tier 1 (investor) applications and naturalisation applications. The ‘extremely professionalKamal Rahman heads the practice and is noted for her ability to ‘think outside the box’. Assistant Steven Bostock is also recommended.

Morgan Lewis LLP has a growing reputation following the arrival of Tracy Evlogidis from Speechly Bircham LLP in May 2012. The firm was retained by LOCOG as its sole UK immigration adviser, entailing advice in relation to employees, consultants, sponsors, visitors and volunteers. Evlogidis is ‘very calm and measured’, and an ‘excellent adviser’.

Bindmans LLP is ‘exceptionally strong in all areas of immigration law’. Head of department Alison Stanleyhas few peers’, is ‘an enormous asset’ to the firm, and is ‘hugely intelligent and knowledgeable about the law’. With ‘excellent advisory and litigation skills’, solicitor Emma Cohen is noted for her Tier 4 sponsorship work, and in 2012 advised the College of Naturopathic Medicine in a judicial review challenge to the UK Border Agency’s refusal to grant the college highly trusted sponsor status. Associate Liz Barratt ‘excels in contentious cases for children and other vulnerable clients’, and solicitor Roberta Haslam is also recommended. The practice includes detention, deportation and extradition matters, and business immigration.

The team at Gulbenkian Andonian is highlighted for its ‘top-class’ knowledge, ‘professional’ advice and impressive client care, and has seen an increase in instructions from Egypt and Syria. The ‘experiencedBernard Andonian advises on business and human rights issues; Dave Vasoodaven is noted for his work on appeals at tribunals and the High Court; and Teni Shahiean focuses on human rights issues.

The ‘very professional’ team at Squire Sanders LLP is led Annabel Mace, and acts for clients including WPP. It expanded with the arrival from Laura Devine Solicitors of Shanti Faiia, who provides ‘concise and pragmatic’ advice, and Kate Gamester from Fragomen LLP; and Supinder Sian was promoted to the partnership in May 2013. Rose Carey is now with Speechly Bircham LLP.

Clients of the ‘excellent’ team at Taylor Wessing LLP include Balfour Beatty Rail and Equinox Fitness. Recent work for the latter includes assisting a US executive in applying for a sole representative visa, ahead of his move to the UK to oversee the running of the company’s first operation outside of the US. Charlie Pring, who ‘knows his stuff’ and is ‘hands-on’, leads on US immigration issues, while Vikki Wiberg is the key contact for the team’s Chinese and Asian practice.

Bird & Bird LLP provides a ‘professional service’, and represents clients including Infosys Technologies and Philip Morris. In 2012, the firm assisted ZS Associates in obtaining certificates of sponsorship and associated entry clearance for several senior executives. Senior associate Jonathan Goldsworthy is recommended.

Jonathan Chaimovic heads the three-fee-earner team at Clyde & Co LLP. The firm advises global clients through its network of foreign offices and local correspondents, and advises on compliance/audit manuals for UK Border Agency A-rated sponsors.

Richard Nicolle’s team at Dentons is ‘very knowledgeable and extremely professional’, and is also noted by clients for the strength of its ethical values. It acts for corporate clients on sponsorship licence applications and visa applications under Tiers 2, 4 and 5, and advises high-net-worth individuals on Tier 1 applications. Senior associate Verity Buckingham, in Milton Keynes, is ‘very professional’ and ‘well researched’.

Head of department Matthew Davies is recommended at Fox Williams LLP, which remains focused on compliance and sponsor licence issues. Knight Capital Group is a client.

Lewis Silkin LLP provides a ‘professional service’ of a ‘good standard’. It is particularly strong in acting for law firms and advertising agencies, and also represents sports clubs and sports professionals. Andrew Osborne’s team advised Fulham FC in relation to its pre-season tour to China. Senior associate Ben Maitland joined the firm in July 2012 from Bates Wells Braithwaite, while Anita de Atouguia and George Koureas have left the firm.

Penningtons Solicitors LLP is in a transitional period following the departure of department head Nichola Carter to establish her own practice, and Philip Barth, who joined Withers LLP in January 2013. Pat Saini, ‘a growing force in immigration law’, was promoted to the partnership in April 2012 and was appointed as department head in September 2012. Clients include London Metropolitan University and Glasgow Caledonian University. Associate Hazar El-Chamaa is noted for her expertise in Tier 4 sponsor cases.

Wright Hassall LLP acts for clients in the retail and restaurant sectors, and advises on indefinite leave to remain and Tier 1 (general) extension applications. Marian Dixon heads the team, which is noted for its ‘high-quality work’.

Blake Lapthorn assists with Tier 1 visas and discretionary applications, among other areas, and advises clients ranging from multinationals to independent organisations. Gavin Jones is recommended.

Specialist immigration firm DJ Webb & Co has experience representing clients in appeals before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. The ‘intellectual’ David Webb is ‘very knowledgeable on personal immigration’, and heads the team.

Doyle Clayton Solicitors has gained new clients such as Domino’s Pizza and Morningstar. Owen Jones is ‘clear, concise and efficient’.

The ‘excellentDuncan Lewis Solicitors represents business and individual clients. Standout individuals in the large team include ‘highly competent solicitor’ Vicash Ramkissoon; the ‘calm, industrious and reliable’ Adam Tear; and James Packer, who is ‘exceptionally diligent’.

Senior partner Graeme Kirk heads the team at Gross & Co, which advises entrepreneurs, investors and sole representatives.

Gülay Mehmet at Gülay Mehmet Solicitors is a well-known practitioner.

Russell-Cooke LLP has ‘in-depth knowledge of immigration’, and is particularly strong on contentious immigration matters and Tier 1 (investor and entrepreneur) visas. Edward Wanambwa heads the team.

The ‘excellentKaren Sturtivant at Sturtivant & Co advises a range of corporate clients.

The ‘well-informed’ team at Travers Smith LLP has experience in Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visas and Tier 2 visas. Tim Gilbert heads the team, and Ed Mills is also recommended.

Heavyweight’ firm Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP has an ‘outstanding’ team. The ‘dedicated’ and ‘highly competent’ team is well regarded for its expertise in asylum and refugee status cases. Wesley Gryk and Barry O’Leary are ‘top-class lawyers’.

Wilson Solicitors LLP is particularly strong on personal immigration matters. Michael Hanley and Matthew Davies are key names at the firm.

Fisher Meredith LLPdemonstrates longstanding and profound experience’ in immigration. Robert Sparks is recommended, and solicitor Gulcin Kashano has ‘detailed knowledge, and an outstanding mastery’ of the field.

Also noted for their immigration law capabilities are Bircham Dyson Bell; Bonheur Legal; Dundas & Wilson LLP; Hudson McKenzie; Mills & Reeve LLP; Morgan Cole LLP; Nicholas Moore; Pinsent Masons LLP; Speechly Bircham LLP; Stephens Scown LLP; and Watson, Farley & Williams LLP.

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Legal Developments in London for Immigration

  • Personal accounts and auto-enrolment: looking ahead

    The government plans to introduce a new national ‘personal accounts’ pension system in 2012. From October of that year, all employers will be required to auto-enrol eligible employees into either the government’s new personal accounts scheme or, if it meets certain ‘qualifying’ criteria, the employer’s own pension arrangement.
    - Eversheds LLP

Legal Developments in the UK

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  • Home Office announces extension of support service for SMEs

    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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