Immigration in North West


DWF counsels employers and individuals on a range on immigration matters, from handling applications for Home Office Sponsorship Licenses to assisting with Global Talent and Investor Visas. The team was particularly active in 2020 on matters related to Brexit, such as advising on the EU Settlement Scheme and the new points-based immigration system. Practice head John Dorney acts for a client base including major UK businesses and multinationals, and as well as advising on visa issues also provides assistance to employers on compliance with the 'right to work' regime.

Practice head(s):

John Dorney

Other key lawyers:

Emily Snape


‘The team is very capable.’

‘John Dorney is at the top of his game. He knows his stuff and keeps me, the client, always safe.’

‘Knowledgeable, can explain complex legal matters in ‘plan language’, true business partners.’

‘I have been working with John Dorney since 2012 and I have ensured that I continue to use him and the company at every company I work at (so far 3 multinational companies) He is a true gentleman, always ready to help and provide advice, clearly a subject matter expert.’

‘The lawyers you deal with are very knowledgeable in the immigration/visa field, but also give you very strong and sensible support and advice around the wider picture, looking at the wider implications getting it wrong (and right), can have on your business, and not just in terms of financial and reputational. ’

‘John Dorney has an absolute wealth of specialist knowledge, but doesn’t “baffle you with science”, explains everything in a language you can easily understand, and often points out opportunities that you may not have spotted yourself within the business.’

‘Every member of the team I have worked with have been helpful and knowledgeable. They are prompt at getting back to me when I ask them anything. They look at the issue in depth and the advice they have given me has been helpful.’

‘The response is extremely prompt and very precise. They always provide all the available options and also highlight the ones which are most relevant to the individual concerned. Despite the Covid pandemic, the quality of service was at its best.’

Key clients

adidas UK Limited

Doncaster Townsfields Squash Club


Fusion Furniture Solutions Limited

Gruppo Campari


Impellam Group PLC

Liberty Living Group PLC

Majestic Wines PLC

Munnelly Group PLC

NES Global Talent Limited

Vesuvius PLC

Western Thermal Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of corporate clients in respect of Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme, the new UK Points Based System and changes to “right to work checks”.
  • Providing urgent advice to a Home Office sponsor whose sponsorship licence had accidentally lapsed whilst still having visa migrants on the establishment.
  • Advising a professional sports club in respect of obtaining governing body endorsement for securing a Home Office sponsorship licence, and the further separate endorsement for the elite sports coach it was wishing to recruit (Both endorsements obtained).

Latitude Law

Latitude Law acts for individuals, corporations and religious organisations in a range of immigration matters. For institutions, the practice handles the securing of sponsor licenses, applications under the EU Settlement Scheme, and bringing workers into the country using visas such as the Global Talent Visa. On the individual side, the team helps high-net-worth individuals and their families in applications both to relocate to and remain in the UK. Experienced immigration partner Gary McIndoe leads the team, with associate Shara Pledger another key contact, offering experience in handling visa applications for investors and entrepreneurs.

Practice head(s):

Gary McIndoe

Other key lawyers:

Shara Pledger; Gemma Tracey


‘Gary McIndoe and Shara Pledger – both excellent at communicating complex aspects of migration law to a lay audience.’

‘Gary McIndoe started as a representative arguing appeals himself at the Immigration Advisory Service 20 or so years ago and I knew him then when I was based in Manchester. he was always interested in ther policy side and took an active interest in starting a practitioner group in Manchester to strengthen the sector. He is now Mr Immigration in the North. He acts for some very high profile and HNW clients. Shara Pledger is an excellent solicitor who has an unrivalled knowledge of the business sector and gets great results.’

‘I have worked with the team at Latitude for many years, instructed as Counsel to act in different private immigration, business immigration, human rights judicial reviews. The team has a very high success rate on achieving outcomes for its clients. The client and also counsel service is exceptional. Instructions are clear, comprehensive and always sent in good time. Bundles for court are prepared to the highest standard. No stone is left unturned in securing the best result for the client. ’

‘I have particular experience of Gary McIndoe, Shara Pledger and Gemma Tracey. All the team are exceptional. They are hard working, provide an exceptional service to their clients and their clients can feel reassured they are in the best hands. Gary stands out for his experience in immigration law and encyclopaedic knowledge of it. Shara stands out in her attention to detail, her thoroughness and how she makes sure every aspect is covered. Thanks to Shara’s detailed work a very complex business immigration judicial review was settled after a successful hearing which simply would not have happened without her work. Gemma has risen through the ranks is also excellent with clients and highly efficient. I cannot recommend them highly enough!’

‘Gary McIndoe is at the forefront of his field. This is a fast changing landscape and Gary is ahead of the pack in terms of his knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge to the benefit of his clients.’

‘The team at Latitude works closely and collaboratively to ensure that they meet their clients’ needs quickly, efficiently and strategically. Managing director Gary McIndoe and his second in command, Shara Pledger understand the intricacies and technicalities of the UK inbound-immigration system completely and draw upon this knowledge to create strategies that work.’

‘Gary McIndoe has a forensic understanding of the detailed UK in-bound immigration system which he utilises ruthlessly and effectively against the Home Office to outstanding effect. Gary has trained his colleagues to do the same, meaning that the entire team has not only a detailed understanding of the system, but follow this strategic and detailed approach to ensure their clients meet their objectives, time and time again. If I had an immigration challenge, I’d call Gary.’

‘I can only speak with the highest of praise for Gemma Tracey, Associate for Latitude Law. She has been involved in assisting with visa applications/legal advice for my organisation since 2016. Her service is very professional. She is up to date in her knowledge in the area of immigration visas. She always offers excellent advice and is attentive to the needs of the applicants who are communicating with her from outside of the UK. She is a very good ambassador for Latitude Law.’

Key clients




Compagnie Thermique Européenne

Salesians of Don Bosco

FK Group

Work highlights

  • Providing ongoing support to the Salesians of Don Bosco, a religious order, on licensed sponsor duties, securing visas for members across a broad range of visa routes including Tier 2 ministers of religion, Tier 5 religious and charitable workers, and study.
  • Secured a Global Talent Visa via Tech Nation as Endorsing Body for Yao, the head of design at Lenovo.
  • Acted for Compagnie Thermique Européenne in support of its model of locating skilled workers into the UK on short-term contracts in a post-Brexit environment.

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP's immigration practice was substantially bolstered in 2019, when employment lawyer Laura Darnley joined the firm following its acquisition of HRC Law. Since Darnley joined the practice, she and senior associate Brendan McAleese have advised corporate clients from a range of sectors on business-related immigration matters, such as securing sponsor licenses and bringing workers into the country. The practice also provides advice on Brexit-related changes to the immigration system, and aids clients in working with the Home Office on immigration issues.

Practice head(s):

Laura Darnley

Other key lawyers:

Brendan McAleese


‘The team I worked with in Brabners was first of all prompt in response, and personally reassuring and attentive in a completely professional and authentic manner. The team listened carefully to my complex case, and was astute in quickly focusing on the key factors where I could improve my position, gracefully honest in steering me away from unproductive strategies, and sensitive to the relatively compressed income structures of my professional sector (higher education).’

‘The team are very approachable, friendly and knowledgeable in the areas of their expertise. They clearly identify when other sources of expertise / knowledge is required (e.g. when other countries legal knowledge needs to to be utilised) and would be able to collaborate with the correct profession when needed which provides you with reassurance that all avenues are being explored and addressed. I believe that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience within Brabners that provides strong and sound advice and guidance when required.’

‘Brabners have provided sound, practical advice on a range of employment and immigration issues we have been dealing with. Their approach and knowledge provides high confidence and will often steering our approach to a given situation. Billing is all electronic, timely and clear.’

‘The team supported me during an extraordinary time in our social history, and helped me to resolve a conflict that arose from the pandemic. The pandemic caused a complex and conflicted situation that needed to be resolved, a matter involving Tier 2 visa requirements, work from home (from abroad), and international taxation when working from abroad, which my employer did not want to resolve. I needed an efficiency of comprehension as different questions and dynamics emerged alongside an agenda that was entangled with global pandemic, individual venerability due to medical history, ethnic background, and individual bias. Laura Darnley carried forward with confidence and encouragement, despite the high level of uncertainty of the situation and the contexts. ‘

‘I have never before encountered the highly intuitive and efficiently attentive professionalism which I encountered in working with Laura Darnley at Brabners. Her careful listening and agile formulation of first principles and viable issues were essential to developing a core strategy which was highly successful, resulting in significant financial and professional improvement of my position. From my very first phone call to Brabners, which was a complete cold call when I faced an unexpected emergency, I spoke to an associate who immediately was available to make notes as to my case. The immediate attention to details was most reassuring and enabled me to prepare for the challenges I faced.’

‘Laura Darnley took time to fully understand our requirements, and showed genuine enthusiasm and passion for the topic. She was very easy to talk to, and treated us as though we were important life-long clients, even though we were newcomers to the firm and this was a relatively small project. She was not fazed when we suggested opening the session to the whole HR team as a development opportunity, and welcomed questions from everyone – from our apprentice to our HRD – with the same warmth. Laura tailored her session and language, giving practical examples wherever possible to ensure that everyone understood – no mean feat with such mixed expertise in the audience!’

‘Laura Darnley has an excellent attitude, friendly and proactive, always willing to offer solutions.’

‘I work with Laura Darnley at Brabners, I find Laura very friendly, approachable and extremely knowledgeable in her field. Laura feeds responses back in a very understandable way and clearly is always forward thinking as she identifies areas that we may need to explore which may not always be obvious from the start.’

Key clients

Boccard UK Limited

One Heritage Plc

Peel Ports Group

Centred Solutions Limited

Cell Capital Partners LLP

Thomas Swan & Co Limited

Vendor TechnologiesLimited t/a Expert Edge

Work highlights

  • Advised Peel Ports Group on obtaining a sponsorship licence for The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. Advised on securing visas for individuals holding key operational roles.
  • Advising One Heritage Plc on a sponsor licence application and the associated compliance obligations. A successful application is business critical to enable them to achieve their strategic growth objectives, particularlyin light of the end of free movement post-Brexit for EU nationals.
  • Advised boutique digital consulting company Vendor Technologies Limited t/a Expert Edge on their successful application to become a Tier 2 General registered sponsorand sponsorship of a specific skilled individual who was a key strategic hire for the business.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP's immigration practice is led by Shahjahan Ali, who leads the firm's national practice from its Bristol and London offices. Ali advises clients on applications for a range of visas, including the Global Talent and Investor visas; he also provides assistance with applications for sponsor licences. In the North West, the team is particularly active on advising clients in the healthcare sector.

Practice head(s):

Shahjahan Ali


‘Having worked with a number of professional firms in the UK and North America, I valued the individual attention I received from Shahjahan Ali. I am not a large client for his firm, but I still felt like a valued one.’

‘DAC Beachcroft is a large firm, but as a small client I valued the attention I received from Shahjahan Ali, a partner at the firm. Through the course of my legal matter, I developed a strong personal and professional relationship with him. I have previously worked with 4 other well-known immigration firms in the UK and Shahjahan is in a league of his own.’

‘I have only used Shahjahan Ali from the immigration practice. He provides excellent client care service and carefully guides clients through every step of the immigration process. He is particularly good with high-net-worth clients.’

Key clients

The Evewell (Harley Street) Limited

Virgin Care

Bullhorn International


Kimberley Seer

Jonathan Osborn


Children’s Trust

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Caring Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised The Evewell (Harley Street) Limited in connection with an application for a sponsorship licence under Tier 2 Skilled Worker to enable them to sponsor Tier 2 Skilled Worker visas.
  • Advised Virgin Care in connection with sponsorship management.
  • Advised Jonathan Osborn in connection with a Global Talent visa.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Under the leadership of principal associate Simon Kenny, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP advises on employment matters including visa applications and right-to-work checks.

Practice head(s):

Simon Kenny

Shoosmiths LLP

Under the leadership of Emma Morgan, who joined the practice in 2019 from DAC Beachcroft LLP, Shoosmiths LLP has expanded its immigration practice to provide advice to corporate clients on a range of matters. The team provides training on immigration issues and assistance on securing sponsor licences and visa applications. The practice’s clients include companies entering the UK market, and it also offers a retainer service to provide ongoing assistance. Morgan frequently collaborates with the firm’s Nottingham office to service clients.

Practice head(s):

Emma Morgan


‘The team are knowledgeable, approachable and are able to communicate complex matters in a simple way providing help and support where needed. The whole HR team are supported and good relationships have been built quickly by the team offering and delivering training to all the team at varying levels.’

‘I have worked with Emma Morgan previously at another group of solicitors and received fantastic support as did the rest of the company. Since moving businesses, we have followed Emma who provides great support to a very new team.’

Key clients

CityFibre Holdings Limited

South Staffordshire College

VCG (Vodat)

Groupe PSA



Work highlights

  • Advising CityFibre Holdings on day-to-day sponsorship issues and providing training on business immigration law.
  • Advised one of the VCG (Vodat/Axonex) companies on successfully applying for a sponsorship licence.
  • Provided South Staffordshire College with immigration law training and advice on right-to-work issues/compliance.