Hall Of Fame

Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Immigration

Glasgow-based senior associate Ashley Fleming is the main point of contact within Harper Macleod LLP's immigration practice, under the leadership of employment head Bruce Caldow.
Thorntons Law LLP has significantly boosted its immigration offering with the hire of Jacqueline Moore (Edinburgh), who joined from Shepherd and Wedderburn in February 2023.

Immigration in Scotland

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's business and personal immigration expertise attracts a broad range of public and private sector players, including energy companies and offshore oil and gas businesses, sport associations and professional bodies alongside space exploration clients, among others. Edinburgh-based team head Grace McGill specialises in commercial immigration, inter-country adoption work and family migration; the last-mentioned segment is an area of particular expertise for senior associate Amna Ashraf. Known for his cross-border capabilities, Jamie Kerr's recent workload includes post-Brexit sponsor licences and skilled worker visas. Director Nikki Weir's expertise extends to child migration.

Practice head(s):

Grace McGill

Other key lawyers:

Jamie Kerr; Nikki Weir; Amna Ashraf


‘They are always willing to consider any issues carefully and tailor their advice accordingly.’

‘Grace McGill is an outstanding solicitor with great client empathy and a focus on practical results.’

‘Grace McGill is the leading immigration solicitor in Scotland. She is an outstanding performer.’

‘In addition to having an in-depth knowledge of immigration law, the team is incredibly personable.’

‘Jamie Kerr’s advice is quickly tailored to every matter and in addition to the legal aspects, he offers rounded and practical tips to make the immigration process smooth.’

‘While no application is easy, I can say with confidence that I would use Burness Paull again without hesitation, given their excellent track record.’

‘Amna Ashraf’s warmth, humour and expertise gave us confidence in the process and comfort in the outcome.’

‘The team is a recognised group of leading immigration lawyers in Scotland. The team is diverse with many members playing a role in organisations outside the legal profession in contributing to societal change and policy development.’

Key clients

Skyrora Ltd

Modulr Technology Ltd

SSE plc

Association of Certified Chartered Accountants

Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh

Noble Drilling UK Ltd

Queen’s Park Football Club

Hibernian FC

Arnold Clark

Work highlights

  • Advised Skyrora on multiple international transfers, including the relocation of skilled space sector engineers from Ukraine into the UK.
  • Advised the Scottish Football Association on sports visa rules and the abolition of the Tier 5 concession that allowed easy entry to the UK for international coaching staff that work in the UK but live abroad.
  • Ongoing immigration support to the in-house team at SSE plc, including visa advice and right-to-work matters.

Drummond Miller LLP

Under the leadership of the Edinburgh-based David Brown, Drummond Miller LLP's practice maintains a significant focus on personal immigration work for private clients; Sarah Jack is a key contact for family migration and domestic abuse cases, while business immigration matters are mainly handled by Glasgow team head Janey Armstrong; Armstrong's recent workload includes advising Scottish hospitality businesses on skilled worker sponsor licensing matters. Elsewhere, the practice stands out for its litigation capabilities; Humphrey Ndubuisi is noted for his deportation and depreciation of citizenship expertise.

Practice head(s):

David Brown

Other key lawyers:

Janey Armstrong; Humphrey Ndubuisi; Sarah Jack


‘Always finds solutions to problems.’

‘Informative, proactive and helpful from start to finish.’

‘Plenty of legal knowledge and excellent in providing detailed instructions for counsel.’

‘David Brown has excellent legal knowledge, is good at presenting in court and has the ability to explain complex issues to non-lawyers.’

‘Drummond Miller has a very strong immigration team. They are the specialists in the Court of Session with a strong pool of go-to counsel, but they can also take on their own tribunal work with or without counsel.’

‘Humphrey Ndubuisi and David Brown are standout partners.’

‘Humphrey Ndubuisi combines a deep knowledge of immigration law with a very easy style and an ability to handle stressful situations comfortably.’

‘The immigration team at Drummond Miller is excellent. They have a wealth of experience in this area and can be trusted to get the best result for their client.’

Morton Fraser MacRoberts

While also being well versed in assisting private clients with personal immigration issues, Morton Fraser MacRoberts stands out for its business immigration work. Clients, most of whom are based in London and the South of England, routinely instruct the group to assist with sponsor licence applications, licence compliance and licence suspensions. Glasgow-based immigration and nationality law specialist Stuart McWilliams leads the team, which is a regular port of call for relocation companies in matters involving staff transfers to the UK. Associate Nadia Watson's expertise extends to EU settlement scheme issues.

Practice head(s):

Stuart McWilliams

Other key lawyers:

Nadia Watson


‘Very strong knowledge of the local rules and capability to adapt to specific and technical requests. My experience with the team has always been positive.’

‘Responsive and proactive. Always using the right tone and manners.’

‘They understand the need to respond promptly as immigration queries are often stressful and time-banded.

Key clients

Statkraft UK Ltd

Purelifi Ltd

Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd

Bioascent Discovery

Dukosi Limited

Pryor Cashman LLP

Skyscanner Ltd

Altair Global Services LLC

Clearwater Analytics

Axis Productions Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted Skyscanner with the preparation of visa applications for staff, while also providing advice on ongoing compliance duties.
  • Assisted a research and development organisation with sponsor licence issues following an inadvertent breach of their sponsor licence conditions.
  • Advised Statkraft (UK) Ltd on visa applications.

Anderson Strathern

Glasgow-based director Mark Templeton is the main point of contact at Anderson Strathern; he advises employers on all areas of immigration compliance, with recent instructions including right to work issues, sponsor licenses and skilled worker visas, among others. Templeton, who joined the firm from Quinn Martin & Langan in June 2022, also handles personal immigration matters for private clients, such as EU settlement scheme issues.

Practice head(s):

Mark Templeton

Key clients

Royal College of Nursing

APEX Hotels

Cranswick PLC

Wylie & Bisset LLP

Lynedoch Care Ltd

Qair Scotland Ltd

Transiris Scotland Ltd

University of Strathclyde

Work highlights

  • Advised Lynedoch Care Ltd on obtaining a sponsor licence for care workers.
  • Advised the Royal College of Nursing on issues relating to the rights and status of members who were sponsored under the “Health and Care Worker” visa route.
  • Advised a private client in respect of their entitlement to apply for settlement under the long residence route.

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP's immigration group sits within the firm’s wider employment practice leading to particular strength in business immigration. Regular employer clients include large corporates, universities and other public sector organisations. The main point of contact is the Glasgow-based Elaine McIlroy, whose expertise spans sponsor licence applications, skilled worker and spousal visas, and compliance advice. Much of her recent work stems from the financial services, technology, education, transport and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Elaine McIlroy

Other key lawyers:

Tony Hadden; Lynne Marr; Erin McLafferty


‘The team worked very well together and helped with all our questions and concerns in a very timely manner and went above and beyond to help us through a difficult time.’

‘Brodies is an excellent and reputable practice with a lot of knowledge regarding immigration laws and regulations.’

‘The expertise of Erin McLafferty and Elaine McIlroy in this field is very valuable.’

‘Elaine McIlroy is extremely knowledgeable, professional and pragmatic.’

‘The immigration team is composed of sufficient lawyers, who always provide accurate answers in a timely manner.’

‘All individuals we have dealt with are professional and reactive, demonstrating a very good knowledge of immigration laws.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable about all immigration matters. I have found their advice very comprehensive and timely.’

Key clients

Queen Margaret University

University of Edinburgh

Teleperformance Ltd


Scotrail Trains Ltd

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn handles the full spectrum of business immigration with recent instructions encompassing the construction, education and tech sectors, in addition to regular corporate support work. Edinburgh-based senior associate John Vassiliou, who now heads up the practice following the departure of Jacqueline Moore to Thorntons Law LLP in February 2023, has particular expertise in sponsor licenses and skilled worker visas but has also become increasingly active in the private client immigration sphere, advising on historical nationality claims and entitlements.

Practice head(s):

John Vassiliou

Other key lawyers:

Jack Freeland


‘The team is superb in their ability to strategically advise clients on all business immigration matters as well as wider immigration concerns.’

‘John Vassiliou is an incredibly adept immigration solicitor with extensive knowledge and an understanding of the law and the ability to apply it to further his clients’ interests.’

‘They have a deep understanding of immigration law.’

Key clients

Mangata Networks

Ukraine Advice Project


TLT handles the full remit of business immigration. Glasgow-based team head Joanne Hennessy joined the firm from Pinsent Masons LLP in March 2022 and is the main point of contact; much of her recent work encompasses right to work issues, sponsor licences and skilled worker visas. Clients often instruct her to assist with immigration matters in the renewable energy space, such as the rules applicable to seamen and offshore wind farm workers.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Hennessy

Key clients

Oberon Solutions


Savills plc

WHSmith Plc

Freeway Insurance Services Ltd

Southern Water

Landcatch Natural Selection

ShipServ Ltd

Coveo Solutions Inc

Procentia Ltd

TJ Morris Ltd

Aviagen UK Ltd

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice and compliance training to Coveo Solutions.
  • Assisted Procentia with obtaining a UK sponsor licence for their sponsorship and employment of migrant workers.
  • Ongoing advice to Boohoo on a range of immigration matters.