Immigration in West Midlands


VWV has a thriving immigration practice. Throughout 2019 it has been instructed by employers from a broad range of sectors including financial services, healthcare, tech, charities and education. It also has an impressive independent schools client portfolio. In addition the practice has witnessed increased instructions from schools that are faced with suspension or revocation of their licences as a result of the sponsorship of Tier 4 visa applications. The team has also been active in reviewing files and conducting HR systems audits for higher education institutions to ensure compliance with their sponsorship duties. Other key areas for the practice include advising multinational companies on the situation in relation to their tier 2 sponsorship. Tom Brett Young heads the department and is skilled at handling all aspects of business and personal immigration.

Practice head(s):

Tom Brett Young


‘The team has expert knowledge of independent schools, both boarding and day. VWV is very good value for money given the excellence of its professional advice. First-rate knowledge of legal matters. The solicitor dealing with the issue is commonly agreed to be the best in the UK for these matters. His name is Tom Brett Young. I cannot recommend him highly enough. He is knowledgeable, very efficient and effective‘.

Immigration advice has always been very good, the team is quick to respond to queries and applications are completed and submitted in a timely fashion. We have worked closely with Tom Brett Young on visas and immigration for several years and have always found the service he provides to be excellent. He is very knowledgeable and helpful, always available to answer our queries and does so promptly‘.

Tom Brett Young is a great pleasure to work with. He is highly knowledgeable about the constantly-changing intricacies of immigration law and can always be counted on to give practical advice in a timely manner, even in the most complex of matters‘.

Tom Brett Young is always contactable, and provides swift responses in an easy to understand and straightforward manner’.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a leading performing arts boarding school in successfully persuading the Home Office not to revoke the client’s Tier 4 sponsor licence.
  • Conducted a comprehensive audit of a leading university’s Tier 4 sponsor licence systems, process and records.
  • Supported a rapidly growing online games developer’s growth strategy by assisting with the sponsorship and immigration applications for more than a dozen new skilled workers.
  • Successfully represented a national charity that was threatened with the suspension of its Tier 5 sponsor licence following a UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) compliance visit which uncovered suspected breaches of the client’s duties as a sponsor.
  • Continuing to act as legal adviser to a large multi-academy trust on various immigration issues.

Wright Hassall LLP

Matthew Davies at Wright Hassall LLP has a well-established reputation in the market. Davies has a strong client base covering leading names in retail, advertising, food and confectionery and other areas such as financial and professional services. In addition the team also advises some law firms on their internal immigration issues as well as providing these firms' clients with business immigration advice. Davies is particularly known for his skill at advising on cases where there is a cross-over between immigration and employment law, especially relating to illegal working practices and the removal of employees. In addition the group has been working closely with its corporate and employment colleagues during the course of corporate acquisitions or TUPE processes by advising on sponsorship licence applications and on sponsored migrant status.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Davies


I can confidently say that the team is highly professional and has got in-depth knowledge on the immigration rules to support organisations efficiently to bring in migrant workers to the United Kingdom. The team is also well equipped to help organisations to be fully compliant with the immigration rules/processes and the way the team explains / advises clients like us is where the team makes a huge difference‘.

Matthew Davies was always available either on email or phone and provided an excellent service at all times‘.

Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan LLP has an excellent national immigration team. Out of Birmingham the team is led by Ashley Norman and associate Jaspal Basra is another prominent member of the team. It is best known for its work in the NHS and healthcare sector. It routinely advises clients on right to work checks and certificates of sponsorship as well as providing outbound immigration advice on the potential impact of foreign immigration rules. Also, the practice has developed some strong links with Magic Circle and US law firms through which it receives referrals for immigration law advice. Norman is an experienced immigration lawyer who regularly advises on immigration compliance and audits, as well as recently dealing with Brexit-related queries on issues affecting EEA staff working in the UK.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Norman; Jodie Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

Jaspal Basra

Key clients

London School of Economics

University of Swansea

YMCA Birmingham

An organic foods retailer

An international fashion house

Professional Cricketers Association (PCA)

Work highlights

  • Advising a body that represents professional sports players in England and Wales on the proposed approach by the relevant sport’s governing body towards a special category of players who are entitled to work in the UK without being registered as overseas players if they are from countries which have a trade agreement with the EU.
  • Provided advice to an international luxury womenswear fashion label in connection with an application for a certificate of sponsorship which was rejected by the Home Office.
  • Advised an international food retailer in respect of a senior employee who was an EEA national and who required assistance in respect of obtaining settled status.
  • A bespoke training programme was delivered and advice was provided to a  national social housing provider to ensure that the organisation’s existing policies and procedures were compliant with various statutory immigration obligations.
  • Advised a national social care provider on a complex case involving a potential Tier 2 employee nurse who was at risk of being unable to comply with the relevant immigration requirements around successfully undertaking and obtaining her OSCE qualification (which allows continued practice as a registered nurse within the UK) due to reasons of maternity.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Solicitors fields a large immigration team that has significant expertise in immigration, asylum and judicial review claimant matters under the leadership of Ahmed Aydeed. It is known for providing a strong publicly funded immigration service that represents vulnerable clients such as victims of torture or trafficking in asylum and human rights matters. The team has considerable expertise in representing claimants in judicial review immigration cases before the High Court and has a substantial practice in unlawful immigration detention cases. It frequently challenges immigration removal cases and has extensive tribunal and higher courts appeal and advocacy experience. It is well-regarded for its work in the Immigration Asylum Chamber and for its work in First-tier and Upper Tribunal asylum and immigration appeals across the Midlands.

Practice head(s):

Ahmed Aydeed


A talented and dedicated team that is led by Ahmed Aydeed‘.

A committed and motivated team that is passionate about its work‘.

Duncan Lewis is now the market leader in asylum law and offers a coverage and range of services without comparison. The team is also staffed at levels that allow it to deal quickly with cases. Solicitors work under the supervision of team leaders, which ensures higher quality. The firm is highly efficient’.

‘It is one of the very few firms in this region that is good at undertaking complex and cutting edge immigration work. In particular, the firm’s immigration detention expertise is head and shoulders above the rest‘.

Highly committed to clients many of whom are highly vulnerable‘.

Ahmed Aydeed knows how to build strong teams and to get the best out of his staff’.

The team is fast and effective with high standards of client care‘.

Work highlights

  • Advising on judicial review claims that were issued on the basis that the Home Office has a duty under Article 12 of the European Convention Against Trafficking to provide victims of trafficking with assistance and support for as long as the victims want and need this support and are in the jurisdiction of the UK.
  • Advising on test cases to determine whether, in light of the judgment in Detention Action v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] 1 WLR 5341 (DA6), the Asylum and Immigration (Fast-Track Procedure) Rules 2005 were unfair and unjust and therefore ultra vires.
  • Advising on a case that deals with a gap in support for victims of trafficking who also have refugee status in accordance with section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 – this case established that where an individual receives a positive conclusive grounds decision, support will continue on a needs-led basis that is not determined by time alone.
  • Advising a foreign national who spent three years being forced into working as a prostitute in various countries and who was trafficked into the UK.
  • Successfully advised an EEA national who has been recognised as a potential victim of trafficking.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

The immigration team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP acts for businesses across a wide range of sectors with particular expertise in the education sector. It represents numerous UK universities and further education colleges on sponsor licence management issues so that these institutions can recruit people from abroad and prevent illegal work practices in the UK. Head of team Tijen Ahmet, who divides her time between Birmingham and London, has extensive experience of the UK’s points-based system and acts for a range of clients from multinational companies to high-net-worth individuals and their families under the investor route. Other strengths include advising clients in the healthcare and technology sectors.

Practice head(s):

Tijen Ahmet


Tijen Ahmet – we have always found her straightforward and clear approach welcome. She is excellent at responding quickly to queries we may have and provides the required information and advice without delay‘.

‘The team is able to offer legal advice and support that fits with our business culture and needs. Friendly and creative approach to all our business needs’.

Key clients

A Russell Group university

A post-1992 university client

A further education college

Work highlights

  • Advised a Russell Group university on the implications of Brexit on staff retention and supported EU staff with residency rights.
  • Advised a post-1992 university on immigration compliance for sponsored staff and on the prevention of illegal working in addition to work rights for postgraduate students.
  • Advised a further education college on a Tier 2 sponsor licence application.

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP has established a new immigration department with the recruitment of Andre Minnaar and Melissa Southall. They joined the firm in May 2019 from Cartwright King. The first-rate team specialises in private fee-paying personal and human-rights related immigration advice. Minnaar has substantial experience of resolving complicated UK immigration, asylum and nationality problems and is also an experienced tribunal advocate. Southall provides extensive immigration advice to clients on visas for spouses, applications for children, asylum as well as European applications for citizenship.

Practice head(s):

Andre Minnaar

Other key lawyers:

Melissa Southall


Melissa Southall and Andre Minnaar work exceptionally well together as a team. They provide an excellent service to their clients and are extremely dedicated to achieving the best outcome possible. They both have excellent knowledge of the law. They are committed to providing an excellent service to clients‘.

The immigration team is outstanding, professional, knowledgeable and exceptional in its client care‘.

Andre Minnaar is an exceptional practitioner. He answered every question I had clearly, swiftly and correctly‘.

‘Andre Minnaar provides such a spectacular service, what makes him different from competitors is that he is very straightforward and he explains everything so smoothly and politely, I value his service so much that I can comfortably say he’s part of our family, and he would be a diamond to any company’.

Andre Minnaar is an incredible guy – his attitude and attention to detail in every aspect is amazing‘.

‘The service was excellent from start to finish. The company’s prices are reasonable and yet this does not compromise the quality of advice. Melissa Southall was excellent, responding quickly to enquiries and very organised and supportive. At all times we found her to be efficient and professional‘.

Melissa Southall put our minds at ease, dealt with everything superbly and professionally and I would recommend her to anyone. She handled everything and you can’t imagine the burden she lifted from our shoulders‘.

Andre Minnaar and Melissa Southall both work extremely hard for their clients. They anticipate difficulties in cases and seek to resolve them‘.