Immigration in Scotland

Drummond Miller LLP

Drummond Miller LLP is a respected player in the market, providing the full range of immigration services across all areas of personal immigration and nationality law. Founder and overall practice head David  Brown has recently been particularly active providing advice on Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme, but handles all aspects of immigration, nationality, Human Rights and EU law. Janey Armstrong is the main contact in Glasgow and Humphrey Ndubuisi for immigration litigation.

Practice head(s):

David Brown


Everyone that we have encountered at Drummond Miller has been very professional and empathetic towards us. We are allowed to make our own decisions with as much time needed to review them; with any additional information provided quickly. The knowledge on immigration laws in particular is second to none.

Great team, that is extremely knowledgeable and always willing to help. The Court of Session team is highly competent.

What makes them stand out: the courteous but efficient way they respond to cases; the legal and practical knowledge of their solicitors; the broad range of legal expertise within the firm; the way in which they are totally on top of court procedure; their commitment to CSR in their pro-bono work, in particular to support EU citizens facing the uncertainties and challenges of Brexit.

For the many years we have liaised with David Brown; he has always been amenable to our requirements and supported many community-based events within Fife. The vast knowledge they have and the honesty exhibited is very refreshing.

David Brown: up-to-date legal knowledge of his areas of expertise.

David Brown is extremely well respected within the immigration sphere, and a fountain of knowledge for fellow practitioners.

Janey Armstrong has very good legal knowledge and an excellent ability to present.

McGill & Co

McGill & Co is a specialist immigration law firm and, as such, is well placed to guide clients through all aspects of immigration and nationality law, including contentious matters. While the practice predominately acts for individuals, it has also been handling an increasing number of instructions from larger commercial and corporate law firms seeking specialist advice on sponsorship licensing and business migration for workers. Grace McGill, who handles the full spectrum of immigration and refugee law, heads the team, which includes sponsorship licensing expert Darren Stevenson and John Vassiliou, who handles family migration, Tier 1 and Tier 2 migration, EEA residence rights and British citizenship, among other issues. Associate Iain Halliday is recommended; he specialises in EEA rights and the post-Brexit settlement scheme.

Practice head(s):

Grace McGill

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser has business immigration at its core, advising businesses on visa applications, sponsor licences and compliance issues, but the practice also provides immigration services to private clients, which includes assistance with appeal proceedings and child immigration matters. Public sector organisations regularly retain the team to advise on the staffing implications of Brexit. Stuart McWilliams made partner in May 2019 and subsequently took over the team from employment law expert and litigator David Hossack; McWilliams advises on all aspects of UK immigration and nationality law.

Practice head(s):

Stuart McWilliams

Other key lawyers:

David Hossack


Knowledgeable and approachable team.

Give clear, concise and straightforward information and guidance in relation to Brexit and the implications for organisation and staff within the organisation.

The immigration team at Morton Fraser inspires confidence that they are experts in their field. They explain what has to be done in a clear and concise manner, and they give very practical advice. There are often deadlines to be managed, and they respond very well to these.

The outstanding individual is Stuart McWilliams, who is hugely reliable and best characterises the strengths and capabilities which we ascribe to the team as a whole. He has a wonderful command of the very complicated issues involved, and we find that his guidance in dealing with UK visas and immigration is invaluable. Stuart explains the complexities of immigration law in a hugely reassuring way.

Key clients

Atlantic Salmon Trust

GameBench Ltd

The Scottish Government

NHS Lothian

Crover Ltd

Dollar Academy

Skyscanner Ltd

Altair Global

Cambridge Healthcare

Axis Productions Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Skyscanner Ltd on visa applications for existing and new staff, including several senior members of staff; as well as on Tier 2 sponsor compliance issues.
  • Acting as sole immigration advisor to the relocation company Altair Global and its clients, providing advice on visa applications and compliance issues.
  • Advising a religious education college after its Tier 4 sponsor licence was suspended by the Home Office.
  • Assisted Atlantic Salmon Trust with the application for a certificate of sponsorship as part of a recruitment process.
  • Providing Axis Productions with regular immigration law advice on Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas and certificates of sponsorship, among other matters.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern is best known for its public and education sector work, providing advice on employment-related immigration law matters alongside advice on the impact of Brexit on staff from the EU and EEA. Its client portfolio also extends to private companies, who retain the team led by employment specialist Paul Brown to advise on immigration requirements for the employment of overseas employees, and sponsor visas, as well as to private individuals, who seek advice on personal immigration matters, including the application for British citizenship.

Practice head(s):

Paul Brown

Key clients

University of Strathclyde

Petroineos Manufacturing (Scotland) Limited/ Ineos Chemicals Grangemouth Limited

DEM Solutions Limited

Edinburgh Napier University

University of St Andrews

City of Glasgow College

Glasgow Caledonian University

BRC Imagination Arts

Audit Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising the University of Strathclyde on the immigration issues arising under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS).
  • Advising Petroineos Manufacturing (Scotland) Limited/ Ineos Chemicals Grangemouth Limited on the immigration law issues arising from a potential TUPE transfer.
  • Advising DEM Solutions Limited on its duties as a sponsor under Tier 2 of the immigration regime.
  • Advising Edinburgh Napier University on its duties as a sponsor under Tier 2 of the immigration regime.
  • Advising Hawick Knitwear Limited on the surrender of its Tier 2 licence following the winding-up of its business, and on associated immigration issues.

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP made two significant additions to its immigration offering in August 2019 with the hires of experienced partner Elaine McIlroy and senior solicitor Erin McLafferty from Weightmans LLP. McIlroy, who now leads the practice, has a track record of work for clients across sectors including education, financial services, oil and gas and healthcare. The team has also recently been advising clients on the impact of Brexit, drawing on the knowledge of employment specialist Lynne Marr.

Practice head(s):

Elaine McIlroy

Other key lawyers:

Erin McLafferty


‘We used the team on a complicated immigration query; they were very reactive to our endless questions and hugely pragmatic in their approach. In addition the fees were very reasonable.’

‘They always understand the business perspective and are able to apply that to the advice they provide.’

Elaine McIlroy was very clear about the approach we needed to take. Erin McLafferty managed the day-to-day case and she was excellent. She was very responsive, offered up pragmatic solutions and was just great to work with.’

Key clients

Queen Margaret University


Sykes Global Services Ltd

University of Edinburgh

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP regularly advises companies on immigration law aspects associated with their expansion into Scotland, but the practice is equally well versed in providing assistance with sponsor licences and Brexit-related instructions. Individuals also retain the team led by immigration, asylum and nationality law specialist Jamie Kerr to advise on various personal immigration matters.

Practice head(s):

Jamie Kerr


Exceptional advice. Very trustworthy, knowledgeable and credible. As an applicant it can be very stressful to navigate the process, but when the team gives you clear, unbiased, easy-to-understand instructions of what is required, what are the expectations, and how they can help; a big part of the stress goes away. Very important aspect in my books.

Great communication with clear and concise recommendations (nothing is hidden behind legal jargon). Very cost-competitive, with clear and accurate estimates.

Honestly, all members of the team have provided excellent service. They are a great team!

Jamie Kerr is clearly very well versed in immigration law and any advice he gives us is detailed and put forward with excellent clarity. There is an immediate element of trust with Jamie.

Key clients

Maersk Drilling UK Limited

Scottish Enterprise

User Testing Limited

Visual Knowledge Share Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Maersk Drilling UK Limited on various Tier 2, offshore and immigration compliance matters.
  • Currently acting as Scottish Enterprise’s TalentScotland Project’s immigration partner; this is aimed at inward investors setting up or expanding companies into Scotland.
  • Advised User Testing Limited on the immigration issues of its expansion into Scotland.
  • Advised Visual Knowledge Share Ltd on the immigration implications of setting up a UK subsidiary.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Working in close conjunction with its employment and tax teams, Pinsent Masons LLP provides the full spectrum of corporate immigration support services, such as sponsorship licence applications, compliance matters to prevent illegal working and Brexit-related issues. Edinburgh-based Euan Smith handles a wide range of immigration issues, principally under the points-based immigration system, and co-heads the practice with Glasgow-based legal director Joanne Hennessy, who has particular experience in the energy and construction sectors.

Practice head(s):

Euan Smith; Joanne Hennessy


The team is extremely professional and always provides information, advice and solutions suited for our business, they are extremely helpful. It is important to us that a great relationship is built and I am very pleased to have this with the individual team members, they understand our sector and our needs.

Extremely knowledgeable on employment questions and visa sponsorship.

Pinsent Masons takes a pragmatic, well-informed approach to complex immigration issues.’

What makes them stand-out is their ability to relate and understand our business and our people’s needs, they challenge us in an appropriate manner with the best interest in mind and together explore the risk and suitable solution in a collaborative way.

Their strength: their clear communication and timely responses.

The firm acted very promptly and diligently to our enquiries and guided us through a completely unknown area to the company.

Pinsents feels like a family firm, where nothing appears too much trouble, and as a client you feel respected and responded to in a timely manner.

Extremely knowledgeable and always available to assist. They provide one-to-one service with people one has come to know and to work with and therefore there has been a huge amount of trust built over time.

I find that the team is really pragmatic and knowledgeable. Really enjoy working with them. They proactively keep us updated with changes and make sure we know what we need to do.

Pinsent Masons works with us to provide pragmatic solutions to issues impacting our immigration sponsor licence and has taken the time to understand our complex and ever-changing group structure.

I have absolute confidence in the advice and support provided, particularly by Joanne Hennessy, in this complex and ever changing area of the law.

Joanne Hennessy is responsive and knowledgeable with the unique ability to explain how to perform certain tasks without being condescending. She is always available to speak or to email and I enjoy working with her.

Joanne Hennessy is very proactive in keeping us up-to-date and very quick at coming back on requests for advice.

Been really impressed with Joanne Hennessy. Great attitude and good communication skills.

Key clients



MOL Energy


Celtic FC

Balfour Beatty



Gray & Adams

Vattenfall Wind Power

Work highlights

  • Continues to provide day-to-day immigration support to the SSE Group, including sponsorship compliance and the prevention of illegal working.
  • Advised Gray & Adams on post-Brexit immigration rules.
  • Providing day-to-day advice to Vattenfall Wind Power on its UK corporate immigration needs, including obtaining Tie 2 (General) visas, sponsorship matters, and Brexit-related issues.
  • Providing ongoing day-to-day immigration support to Celtic FC.