The Legal 500


United Kingdom > London > Human resources > Immigration

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Index of tables

  1. Immigration: business
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Immigration: human rights, appeals and overstay
  4. Other recommended firms
  5. Leading individuals

The ‘excellentBates Wells Braithwaite provides a ‘faultless service’, and handles high-profile and critical matters for its corporate and individual client base. Department head Philip Trottknows his stuff’, and has ‘an extraordinary grasp of the subject matter and all the subtleties of policy that are so difficult in this area’. Trott and solicitor Chetal Patel act for clients including Nike UK, Endemol UK and GDF Suez LNG (UK). Christopher Randall, who is ‘highly responsive’, leads on personal immigration, and is able to draw on his experience as a part-time immigration judge. On the personal immigration side, the firm has a strong focus on nationality matters and issues relating to domestic workers. Ashley Fleming recently returned to Bindmans LLP.

Kingsley Napley LLP wins plaudits for its ‘superior expertise and client service’, and is recommended for its ‘strong’ relationship with immigration authorities. Highlights include assisting with immigration issues following a TUPE transfer; advising on a visa application for an overstayer; and handling a discretionary application outside of the immigration rules. Practice head Nicolas Rollason has a ‘fantastic reputation as one of the most knowledgeable and creative immigration solicitors in the UK’. Individuals singled out for praise include the ‘excellentIlda de Sousa; Marcia Longdon, who is ‘extremely diligent’; ‘effective and consistent communicator’ senior associate Gillian Brownlee; and Elspeth Guild.



YDVISAS is an award winning UK immigration service provider based in central London. In addition to receiving ‘Best Immigration Law Firm 2016 – UK’ in the 2016 Global Mobility, Immigration and Logistics Awards, YDVISAS is consistently rated top by its clients on independent review platforms. It has received 200+ five star ratings from satisfied clients.

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Immigration specialist Laura Devine Solicitors, which is ‘outstanding’ and provides an ‘exemplary and meticulous’ service, handles inbound immigration issues for its global client base. The firm assists with applications across all visa categories. Department head Sophie Barrett-Brown is ‘extremely good and offers creative and thoughtful solutions’. Malini Skandachanmugarasan is the key contact for human rights, appeals and overstay, and US-qualified Joseph Elias heads the US practice following his September 2014 arrival from Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza. Founding partner Laura Devine and Natasha Chell are also recommended. Paul Samartin and Vanessa Ganguin left to establish Ganguin Samartin in December 2014.

Magrath LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is led by Ben Sheldrick, who is lauded for his ‘technical expertise’. The firm focuses on business immigration, and is a popular choice for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and corporate clients alike. Highlights include handling a Tier 1 (investor) extension, and assisting with an application for a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa. Founding partner Chris Magrath is also recommended. Sharmila Mehta retired in July 2014.

Julia Onslow-Cole leads the team at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP, and continues to be heavily involved in advising governments globally; Onslow-Cole was an adviser to the Home Office on business, investment and growth. Senior managers Andrea Als, Sapna Patel and Lyudmyla Davies, and solicitor Kelly Whiter, are the key contacts in Onslow-Cole’s team, following the departures of Jurga McCluskey and Anjali Greenwell in February and May 2015 respectively.

Name partner Nichola Carter at Carter Thomas Solicitors is a ‘major player in immigration law’, and ‘outstanding in knitting together law, policy and strategy’. An expert in the area of Tier 4 visas, Carter also has ‘huge experience representing foreign investors’, and secured Tier 1 (investor) visas for members of a Russian family.

Gherson’s highly regarded practice is a major presence in immigration. The firm handles naturalisation applications, investor and asylum applications, and applications under the Points Based System (PBS), and acts for clients facing extradition requests. Roger Gherson heads the team, and Lisa Amos leads on business immigration. Kathryn Bradbury joined Payne Hicks Beach in 2015.

The ‘outstandingMishcon de Reya continues to be synonymous with acting for high-net-worth individuals. The firm has noted expertise assisting with naturalisation and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications where there are exceptional considerations, and is developing its work for clients in obtaining second citizenships and residency. Kamal Rahman is ‘excellent in her advice, her management of the team, and her interchange with clients’. Maria Patsalos, who is ‘skilled, calm, effective and knowledgeable’, Sarah Gogan, Steven Bostock and Helen Manis are all recommended.

Morgan Lewis’ ‘very good’ team is a popular choice for media and entertainment clients, and works with its network offices to assist with global mobility programmes. Practice head Tracy Evlogidisinspires confidence’, and senior associate Nicholas Hobson is ‘a star in the making’.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s team is part of the firm’s international immigration practice, and frequently works with its network offices on global mobility matters. Senior associates Tony Haque and Richard Mills, and senior paralegal Shizuko Fujimoto, are the key contacts.

Bindmans LLP was instructed to assist with the high-profile fraud allegations pertaining to UK language tests that have rocked the education sector. The firm has notable human rights expertise, and advises trafficking victims on residence permit applications, as well as acting for clients challenging deportation. Alison Stanley is ‘able to tackle the most complex asylum and human rights cases’. Stanley’s ‘skilled team’ includes ‘exceptional practitioners’ Alice Davis, Roberta Haslam and Abigail Evans. Liz Barratt has notable expertise acting for Turkish nationals, and Emma Cohen is also recommended. Ashley Fleming recently re-joined the firm after a short period at Bates Wells Braithwaite.

Fragomen LLP specialises in immigration services globally, and works with its 40 offices internationally. Caron Pope advises on all categories of applications under the PBS.

Lewis Silkin LLP, led by Andrew Osborne, has a well-established presence in the sports sector, acting for UK and international clubs and individuals. The team’s increased focus on the Asia Pacific market saw Antonia Grant relocate to Hong Kong to head the firm’s first international office. The department has taken significant strides to strengthen its practice with a sizeable number of new recruits; most notable among these are senior associates Diana Okoeva (who focuses on US immigration and nationality) and Olga Nechita (who acts for high-net-worth individuals), joining from Laura Devine Solicitors and PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP respectively.

Penningtons Manches LLP, which provides ‘clear and concise advice’, has strong credentials in the education sector, and is frequently instructed to handle crisis management issues. Individuals singled out in Pat Saini’s team include senior associates Penny Evans, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable’, and Hazar El-Chamaa.

The ‘excellentSquire Patton Boggs has an established practice, and a strong track record advising on Tier 2 visas. The firm secured the re-sponsorship of an employee who was removed from the UK following the lapse of the client’s sponsor licence, and is well versed in securing sole representative visas and Tier 2 sponsorship for clients. The group continued to advise WPP on the immigration issues arising from the client’s fellowship programme. Annabel Mace provides ‘meticulous’ advice, and is praised for her understanding of clients’ businesses. Supinder Sian is also recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP, which provides a ‘professional service’, focuses on inbound immigration for clients including Balfour Beatty Rail and TeleTracking Technologies. The firm assisted Cemex UK with the intracompany transfer of two Croatian staff to the UK on a short-term basis. Senior counsels Vikki Wiberg and Charlie Pring are key names in Sean Nesbitt’s team.

Bird & Bird receives a flow of referrals from longstanding client Nuance Communications, and assisted with terminating a secondment and advising on the requirements of the Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) visa. Senior associate Jonathan Goldsworthy, an employment and immigration lawyer, is recommended.

Highly regarded boutique Bonheur Legal has a mixed inbound and outbound caseload, and works with a New York-based attorney to assist US clients through its representative office. The team is the exclusive UK immigration law provider to Deutsche Börse Group. Thierry Hervet is ‘extremely good’, and Charlotte Hervet is also recommended.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is experienced in handling Tier 1 (investor) visa applications, and works with the firm’s private client department to assist with investment structures. Rose Carey is ‘persistent’ and ‘conscientious’.

Jonathan Chaimovic’s team at Clyde & Co LLP noted a surge in instructions to advise start-ups, both new ventures and subsidiaries, on applications for sponsor licences and audits. The practice is also experienced in handling applications for Tier 1 visas.

Practice head Matthew Davies at Fox Williams LLP led advice to the National Instruments Corporation on pre-application due diligence, and the subsequent renewal of the client’s sponsor licence.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s ‘very good’ team receives a flow of referrals from international law firms, and is adept at handling business visitor visas. Edward Wanambwabrings the highest standards of professionalism and skill’, and associate Tom Bradfordknows his law inside-out’.

Angharad Harris at Watson Farley & Williams LLP advised Longleat Enterprises on a Tier 5 creative and sporting sponsorship licence application, and assisted the client with obtaining Tier 5 visas for Chinese acrobats to perform in a Chinese lantern festival. Harris is ‘well versed in immigration law’.

Wright Hassall LLP is experienced in advising on the transfer of employees under Tier 2 visas. Marian Dixon, who is ‘professional’ and ‘very knowledgeable’, and Peter Dixon are recommended.

Bircham Dyson Bell has a multi-disciplinary approach, and maintains strong ties with the firm’s private client and charities departments. Representative matters include advising on citizenship applications, business visitor visas, private medical applications and applications for Tier 1 and 2 visas. Private wealth specialist Alastair Collett and solicitor Tim Hayes, who is ‘responsive and knowledgeable’, are key names.

Consummate professionalAnne Morris leads the team at Davidson Morris. The firm, which is commended for its knowledge of Home Office regulations, undertook an immigration compliance review for the University of Oxford.

Doyle Clayton is lauded for its ‘expert knowledge’. Practice head Owen Jones led advice to Advent Capital Holdings on obtaining three Tier 5 (government authorised exchange) visas, and continued to handle Tier 2 visa issues for the client. Senior associate Anita de Atouguia is ‘very knowledgeable’.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ ‘very good’ team has a strong track record representing SME clients on business immigration, and a stellar reputation for handling test cases. Adam Tear represented an individual in a judicial review case challenging the decision of the Legal Aid Agency not to grant funding to an immigration case. Vicash Ramkissoon has an ‘excellent knowledge’ of immigration, and James Packer is singled out for his ability to ‘lead cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal’. Seher Toguz, who has notable expertise handling unlawful detention cases, and Toufique Hossain are also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP’s department services the firm’s employment clients, and has notable expertise advising on sponsor licences. Practice head Tim Gilbert led advice to Monarch Alternative Capital (Europe) on the immigration aspects of a restructure, which included the application for a new sponsor license and the transfer of sponsored visa holders.

Gulbenkian Andonian noted an upturn in instructions to advise on applications for Tier 1 (entrepreneur) and (investor) visas, and also provided ongoing assistance to a restaurant franchise on compliance and work permit issues. Dave Vasoodaven heads the immigration litigation practice, and obtained an injunction preventing deportation for an Iranian civil rights protestor, who feared for her life if returned to Iran. Vasoodaven and Bernard Andonian are ‘thorough and effective’.

Fisher Meredith LLP wins praise for its ‘knowledge of the law and understanding of issues’. The practice is highly regarded for its judicial review work, and acts for clients in Article 8 appeals and appeals against deportation, as well as handling naturalisation applications. Robert Sparks, Karma Hickman (‘incredibly bright’) and Mariam Khaliq are all ‘excellent’.

Lawrence Lupin Solicitors provides ‘high-quality representation to the most vulnerable clients’, and is experienced in challenging deportation. Individuals singled out in the ‘excellent’ Lawrence Lupin’s team include Stefan Vnuk, who leads the public law practice and is ‘experienced and committed’; and private law specialist Tamana Aziz, who is ‘very professional’. Former team head Gabriella Bettiga left for Gherson Solicitors.

Also noted for their immigration law capabilities are Blake Morgan LLP, Edwin Coe LLP, Ganguin Samartin and Mills & Reeve LLP.

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