Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Immigration

Pinsent Masons LLP provides sponsor license assistance to UK companies. It recently saw senior associate and newly-appointed employee immigration team leader Shara Pledger join from Latitude Law in January 2022.

Immigration in North West

Brabners LLP

Led by legal director Laura Darnley, Brabners LLP advises on business immigration for plcs, SMEs, and technology firms, especially regarding the recruitment of key international talent, as well as right to work issues and unlawful discrimination claims. Brendan McAleese was promoted to legal director in May 2021 and specialises in sporting license applications, EU settlement scheme permits, and skilled worker visas. Specialist business immigration lawyer and senior associate Arshia Hashmi joined in February 2021 from Freeths LLP. She is noted for her advice on immigration compliance requirements for clients operating in the sports and technology sectors.

Practice head(s):

Laura Darnley

Other key lawyers:

Brendan McAleese; Arisha Hashmi


‘I was impressed by the way Brabners go above and beyond to support their clients and the wider community as a whole.’

‘Laura Darnley’s spotlight was excellent, being very informative and helpful in breaking down what options employers have when it comes to employing EU nationals and breaking down the differences between workers with settled/pre-settled status and those without.’

‘I really feel comfortable following Brabner’s advice on any legal matter.

‘Laura Darnley’s professionalism and knowledge on immigration laws shines throughout.’

‘Client-focused, responsive service that provides clarity on the the options to resolve a matter.’

‘Laura Darnley’s tenacity and work ethic is unmatched in my experience- Laura quickly built a very effective working relationship and our respect.’

‘The work they do is tailored and individual, it feels like your situation is treated as unique, which to us it is. My experience with other firms is that you are quickly put in a box and railroaded into generic feedback which isn’t helpful and taints the expertise.’

‘Laura Darnley is the person I would highly recommend. She provides detailed, tailored and personable service on all aspects of work. I have recommended several times who have echoed my sentiments. Personalising service in this sector is difficult and requires real skill in delivery which I really appreciate and recognise in the all our interactions.’

Key clients

Hill & Smith Holdings plc

Veka plc

Cornwall RLFC

Credico Marketing Limited

Basketball clients

Bryter Limited

Nanoplexus Limited

Centred Solutions Limited

Cell Capital Partners LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised Hill & Smith Holdings plc on obtaining a Skilled Worker and Intra Company Transfer sponsor licence enabling them to recruit non-UK nationals into key strategic roles and transfer global talent around their decentralised group.
  • Advised Veka plc on the implications of the immigration changes post-Brexit to its global workforce, particularly in relation to its cross-European workforce.
  • Advised Credico Marketing Limited and the portfolio of companies it supports on all of their immigration law requirements, including sponsor licence applications, visa applications and compliance, as well as advice in relation to immigration law and compliance issues as a result of covid disruption and restrictions/delays with international travel.


The Manchester-based team at DWF advises multinationals, high-skilled migrants, and high-profile corporates on all immigration-related matters, including securing Home Office sponsorship licenses. It also has niche expertise advising senior executives on personal settlement and British citizenship applications. Immigration team leader John Dorney is highly experienced advising on the ‘right to work’ scheme and strategic immigration matters involving high-net-worth migrants. He has seen an increase in mandates on migrant recruitment in the transport, retail, and hospitality sectors.

Practice head(s):

John Dorney


‘John Dorney is an expert.’

‘Highly competent team that is extremely responsive to client’s needs. Immigration is such a minefield and the team at DWF Law LLP is with us every step of the way, but also willing to engage directly with the individual. They provide more than advice, the team walks along side you through the challenge.’

‘Excellent support, communication and commitment demonstrated by John Dorney.’

‘The team is proactive and acts as true business partners. They have key capabilities in all the integral legal fields required.’

‘Excellent response time and practical and authoritative legal advice on a very complex area.’

‘Very quick, responsive and straightforward advice.’

‘They simply get what it’s like to operate within the UK manufacturing context – the pace, the demands and the need for pragmatism. John Dorney was excellent in advising on immigration and sponsorship status.’

Key clients


Brunel International UK Limited

Cheadle Hulme School

DWF Group plc

Fusion Furniture Solutions Limited

Gruppo Campari


Munnelly Group plc

NES Fircroft

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Scott Logic

Seda UK

Vesuvius plc

Work highlights

  • Advised one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets over the government’s extension to the Seasonal Worker Scheme providing it with access to a labour pool of 200 pork butchers shortly before Christmas 2021.
  • Advised one of the UK’s largest food supply chain logistics companies in respect of the impact of Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme, the new UK Points Based System and changes to the Home Office’s ‘right to work checks’ with regard to its present and future employees.
  • Advised a major global client in respect of securing a Home Office sponsorship license and thereafter arranging the work visa for a senior executive to come to the UK to head up a strategic developmental project.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP advises senior executives and corporates active in the financial services, healthcare, and technology sectors on a wide range of matters such as sponsorship under the points-based system, applications for certificates of sponsorship, immigration audits, and reporting and compliance duties. Head of the immigration team Shahjahan Ali covers the full range of immigration matters, including compliance, sponsorship, entrepreneurs. The team has additional expertise in conducting ‘right to work’ checks for EU nationals and advising on immigration matters related to Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme.

Practice head(s):

Shahjahan Ali


‘They are very good at understanding the issue of the point of view of the client and it feels like any advice is personal to you rather than one size fits all.’

‘Personalised approach to each case, extremely thorough and detailed win-all responses. It is evident that they adopt a collaborative approach internally as they always provide coverage when one member isn’t around.’

‘Shahjahan Ali is extremely knowledgeable, dedicated and committed. He relays key themes and legal terms in easy to understand terms for us as client. He is personable and down-to-earth, making it very easy to join internal meetings with the business.’

Key clients

Austrian Embassy

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Kate Ward

Work highlights

  • Advised the Austrian Embassy – Commercial Section and its contacts in connection with post-Brexit business activities in the UK.
  • Advised the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in connection with the Global Talent visa.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides immigration advice to corporate clients, especially in regards to Brexit, as well as representing clients in strategic employment litigation. The team is active in education, aerospace and defence, nuclear, utilities, and healthcare sectors. Principal associate Simon Kenny is a key contact regarding immigration assistance to universities and corporations in light of Brexit and Covid-19.

Practice head(s):

Simon Kenny

Work highlights

    Latitude Law

    The niche employment immigration practice at Latitude Law frequently acts for UK service companies and multi-nationals active in the media and publishing, automotive, and medicine sectors. The practice’s experience covers sponsored skilled worker visas and short-term sponsorships. Managing partner Gary McIndoe covers deportation appeals, work and study visas, and immigration services for employers and educational institutions. Gemma Tracey (née Wylie) is a key contact regarding sponsor licenses. Shara Pledger departed in December 2021, while solicitor Mohammed Hafejee joined from Cartwright King in November 2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Gary McIndoe

    Other key lawyers:

    Gemma Tracey; Mohammed Hafejee


    ‘Latitude Law is a firm I regularly recommend for its exceptional service. I have worked closely with many of their lawyers over many years. Together we have achieved the most brilliant results. I cannot recommend them highly enough for their client care, their hard work on cases, their attention to detail, their expertise in immigration and their tenacity in fighting for their clients.’

    ‘I have worked with Gary McIndoe on many cases – on which we have achieved excellent results. Gary is a star of the immigration world. He has encyclopedic knowledge that he is always generous in sharing with others. Gemma Tracey is also excellent. I would recommend all of them without hesitation for the excellent service they provide.’

    ‘A very responsive and knowledgeable immigration law boutique.’

    ‘Gary McIndoe is our go-to lawyer for immigration advice for our clients. He is knowledgeable, user-friendly and very accessible.’

    ‘Experts in immigration law.’

    ‘They provide a high-quality service.’

    ‘Reliable and professional.’

    ‘Gemma Tracey is very professional, has a very sound knowledge of immigration law, is very attentive to answering emails.’

    Key clients

    Egger (UK) Ltd

    Five Mile Films

    Kong (China)

    Sonico Productions (EU & others)

    Uchimoto (Japan / Hong Kong)

    Work highlights

    • Advised Egger (UK), an Austrian-headquartered multinational business, on complex issues over the relocation of staff and sub-contractors on short-term contracts in the UK.
    • Instructed by Five Mile Films to manage the short-term relocation of an Amish family from the US to the UK to play an integral part in the filming and production of a Channel 4 reality television The Simple Life series due to air 2022.
    • Advised Sonico Productions on making use of the permitted paid engagement option under UK visit visa rules to facilitate the smooth entry of an international music group based in the EU.

    Shoosmiths LLP

    The immigration employment specialist team at Shoosmiths LLP covers the full spectrum of immigration employment law, including immigration advice to corporate clients, sponsorship license applications, skilled worker visas, frontier worker permits, and Tier 5 visas. Practice head Emma Morgan advises on strategic immigration employment matters, eligibility requirements, and general immigration compliance. Legal director Rachel Harvey is a key contact for obtaining sponsor licenses and Tier 1 entrepreneur and investor visas.

    Practice head(s):

    Emma Morgan; Rachel Harvey

    Key clients

    South Staffordshire College

    Groupe PSA


    John Hall

    Haithem Barkaoui

    Intralogistics Company

    Kuehne + Nagel Ltd.

    Veterinary Organisation

    Techtronic Industries (UK) Ltd.

    Crocky Trail

    Work highlights

    • Advised a client on several complex urgent intra-company transfer applications and on permitted allowances.
    • Advised client on sponsor licence management and individual visa applications as well as providing advice to the CEO and other senior members of the organisation.
    • Advised client on options for bringing skilled workers to work in the UK on a strategic and complex project.

    Ward Hadaway LLP

    Ward Hadaway LLP advises on the full spectrum of immigration matters, often helping on recruiting or retaining employees with a visa about to expire. Its main focus is business immigration and advising on sponsor license processes for skilled workers, ICT, and temporary visas. Flora Mewies leads the immigration team nationally.

    Practice head(s):

    Flora Mewies


    ‘Flora Mewies is an exceptional immigration advisor, always at hand to give excellent advice at a moments notice, if she is unable to reply immediately then she will set expectations on timing of replies or ask one of her colleagues to assist.’

    ‘What I like about Ward Hadaway is their straightforward quality advice and approach. They are not a ‘stuffy’ firm and work with clients to build relationships and understand their business. They also have good sector knowledge without our industry.’

    Key clients

    Opencast Software Ltd

    LeoVegas UK Ltd

    BJSS Ltd

    We Are Indigo Limited

    Maira Mallaban Care Group Ltd

    TGRC Ltd trading as The Green Recruitment Company

    Frank Recruitment Group Ltd

    Work highlights