Immigration services for the higher education sector

Dealing with immigration issues can be a key challenge for the higher education sector. Our immigration experts work with international students, staff and universities. 

Dealing with immigration issues can be a key challenge for the higher education sector. Our specialist education immigration team has considerable expertise and knowledge in this specialist area and can provide strategic project-driven advice, as well as ongoing support.

International students and staff are highly valued and welcomed by UK universities. They also play a pivotal role in their ongoing success. 

However, the sector does not get any special treatment from the Home Office, and is subject to the same strict rules and penalties as commercial organisations. For universities, the consequences of non-compliance with the rules are particularly severe and far-reaching. Universities found in breach of their Sponsorship duties risk losing their licence, which means they are no longer able to employ their international sponsored staff or to recruit any further international hires requiring sponsorship.

Our immigration team is embedded within our employment team. Often, issues concerning an employee’s immigration status will overlap with immigration issues. For example, in relation to right to work checking, correct application of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and ensuring employment contracts contain immigration clauses. Our existing clients frequently comment on the benefits to them of being able to source both services from one provider.

We are experienced in providing the following immigration services to the sector:

  • assisting with preparation for a HEAT (Higher Education Assurance Team) Audit. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has recently announced an intention to audit all universities over the next 12-18 months. Our specialist immigration team has recently been actively involved in a HEAT inspection for a Russell Group university, providing strategic support in the run-up to the audit. This support included ensuring HR policies and procedures were compliant with Sponsor duties and auditing files;
  • helping universities prepare for Brexit - this has included delivering seminars, providing one-to-one consultations and assisting with strategic planning;
  • ongoing Sponsor licence support to allow universities to comply with their Sponsor duties;
  • advising universities on a wide range of issues including the Permitted Paid Engagement category; and
  • advising universities on all issues regarding the recruitment and retention of their international workforce.

Jacqueline Moore, our Head of Immigration, is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland, and the firm is a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association. 

Arrange a consultation today with our immigration solicitors in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Aberdeen. 

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