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

EU Citizenship and Passport Guide

  • I'd like to thanks Jacqueline and her team for her immense help during my application process. It's been an uncertain time with the pandemic and I won't be able to deal with the stress coming with the visa applications without the team's professionalism and efficiency. The communication was easy, and the team always keeps me well informed of new developments. They go above and beyond to suggest the most cost effective and least complicated method for my visa extension. I can't be more grateful for their help - especially during the stressful time.

    D Cheuk, March 2020

  • After my successful application for indefinite leave to remain, which was handled by Shepherd and Wedderburn, I decided to do my naturalisation application with the firm as well. The whole experience has been a very positive one; the team are very helpful and professional, and they make sure they address any queries in a timely manner. The process was explained to me clearly, and I was made aware of the timeline of different steps. My naturalisation application was also a successful one, with a short turnaround time, and I am extremely happy and satisfied with the service I have received. 

    Y Sarabi, March 2020

  • Jacqueline Moore has been assisting with my Immigration case since 2014, she has a keen eye for detail, and has gone far beyond ordinary my expectation many times to assure my applications were successful. She gave timely expertise to a difficult aspect of my immigration history in reference to my ILR application. Her input was invaluable and I can’t say what a relief it was to know that my application was in such safe hands. I have now received my stay and will certainly be recommending the team at Shepherd and Wedderburn.

    A Mitchell, March 2020

  • When we needed legal services under the most trying of times, you and your firm came through for us with relief that was much needed. 

    R Partain, February 2021


  • I have received a fantastic service from Shepherd and Wedderburn’s Immigration Department. Jacqueline has been dealing with my immigration matters for the last 20 years ago till now. She and her immigration team help me step-by-step and support me all the way in dealing with the Home Office. Thank you Jacqueline and her Immigration Team!

    J Hui, February 2021


  • Jacqueline is so knowledgeable about her subject, it is very reassuring as a client, that the person dealing with you during the most stressful and anxious times has so much expertise at her fingertips. I have absolutely no hesitation recommending Jacqueline to anyone needing an immigration expert.

    J Gurung, February 2021