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Immigration in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP delivers the full spectrum of immigration advice to domestic and international companies from a broad range of industries. The team's work includes assisting clients with obtaining and maintaining sponsor licences, and ensuring compliance with UKVI requirements. Practice head Adrian Martin supervises the firm's business immigration team, which is led by senior associate Huw Cooke. The team also specialises in advising high-net-worth individuals on all aspects of immigration, from visa applications to naturalisation; this process benefits from the team's close integration with the firm's tax department.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Martin

Other key lawyers:

Huw Cooke

Key clients

Smartstream Technologies Limited

Computershare Investor Services

Insure & Go/Mapfre

Bank of Ireland

Avon Rubber

Clarivate Analytics

Babcock International Group


University of Bristol

Work highlights

  • Assisting global financial software and managed services firm, SmartStream, with all of its business immigration matters, including Tier 2 visas, applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain, sponsor duties, management of the Sponsor Management System and sponsor licence renewal.
  • Advising Clarivate Analytics, a US-owned group, on all business immigration issues. This includes strategic advice on employing overseas nationals, sponsors’ compliance, Tier 2 applications, indefinite leave to remain applications and day-to-day advice.
  • Assisting SciSys plc with its preparations for Brexit, including advising on the potential impact of Brexit on British employees living and working in other European countries.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP delivers specialist advice to UK companies that employ workers from within and outside the EU.  Its recent work included advising clients on obtaining Tier 2 sponsorship rights, employment-related immigration issues in corporate transactions and longer-term strategic advice, particularly in relation to the impact of Brexit. The department is notably active in supporting a  corporate client base of largely domestic businesses. In addition, it is also adept at advising high-net-worth individuals on matters such as Tier 1 and 2 visa applications and extensions, among others. Senior associate Kirsty Cooke leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Kirsty Cooke


The team overall was excellent with communication and in letting us know what we needed to provide and what format/template to use for each step of the way. Communication was always swift even with a large time difference.

Kirsty was incredibly helpful in providing detailed instructions on the documents we would need for my visa. Without her help and guidance, it would have been a much harder process to navigate.

The immigration team at Ashfords has been absolutely brilliant in designing a tailor-made training package for our staff on the EU Settlement Scheme. It has been instrumental in following up on queries raised during training sessions and excellent at corresponding with us whenever we have any questions. We are incredibly impressed with its professionalism.

Key clients

Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited

Penhaligon’s Limited

St Mungo Community Housing Association

Moortec Semiconductor Limited

WhiteHat Group Limited

Contracta Construction UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting Rathlin Energy (UK) following an investment round and changes within the wider group structure, to apply for a sponsor licence under Tier 2 General; subsequently advising on the transfer and sponsorship under the new licence of the Country Manager, who holds the most senior position in the UK.
  • Providing urgent and complex advice following the discovery that a company’s HR system did not alert them as to when follow-up right-to-work checks were required, which led to the company employing up to 90 individuals who potentially did not have the right to work in the UK.
  • Successfully applying for an extension to a high-net-worth private individual’s Tier 1 Investor visa; the application involved an assessment of a complex and extensive investment portfolio showing the investment of £2m in stocks and shares.


The immigration team at VWV works closely with the employment, regulatory compliance and private client practices to provide full-service support to its clients. The group undertakes a particularly significant amount of work for higher education institutions and independent schools, as well as technology sector companies. The practice is led by Tom Brett Young in Birmingham, who was promoted to partner in May 2019. Bristol-based associate Judith Hockin often advises individuals and corporate clients. In addition, she also regularly provides training and auditing services to independent schools in relation to Tier 4 sponsor licences for international students.

Practice head(s):

Tom Brett Young

Other key lawyers:

Judith Hockin


Judith’s immigration team works for the client, each other and together! It is very reassuring and important for a client to know that their case will be managed professionally, and deadlines met whatever the circumstances.

Judith Hockin is very skilled and knowledgeable in her area. She engenders trust that one is in capable hands! She is very professional. She is very thorough in her work. She will go through all the forms and supporting documentation and only approve them for submission once she is satisfied. Again, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for a client to know that their solicitor has done all that can and should be done. She is also honest. It is very valuable to me as a client that I am not promised what cannot be delivered and consequently lose critical time and resources.

Work highlights

  • Advising a leading university on a series of Tier 1 visa applications by academics appointed by the university.
  • Providing specialist training to support a leading co-educational boarding school with its duties as a Tier 4 sponsor of international students.
  • Secured an extension of stay for a key member of staff at a boutique Bristol law firm whose immigration status was at risk due to convictions.