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Immigration Advice for Higher Education Institutions

We have a specialist team of qualified solicitors who can assist and advise you on all aspects of immigration law.

We frequently assist with general immigration matters such as Sponsor Licence applications, preparing for a compliance visit from UK Visas and Immigration, ongoing compliance with your sponsorship duties and forming partnerships with other education providers.

Quick Enquiry

How Can We Help You?

Immigration law is forever changing and you need to ensure that you are up to date with the rules and regulations in order to meet the numerous requirements with which you need to comply.

We can advise you on the requirements for immigration matters which affect students, including the Tier 4 (General) student and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) categories, as well as immigration issues affecting members of staff, including Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsorship, visiting academics, and advice for EEA national employees on the proactive steps they can take in advance of the UK's exit from the EU.

International Students and Tier 4 (General) Students

Our expertise includes:

  • Assistance with the requirements for sponsoring students under Tier 4
  • Basic Compliance Assessments
  • Support with sponsorship of individual students
  • Support for students with their entry clearance (visa) and further leave to remain applications and appeals/administrative reviews against refusals of those applications
  • Challenges and threats to suspend or revoke Sponsor Licences
  • Advice on the challenges facing HEIs in the face of Brexit
  • Advice on options for students after completing their studies to remain in the U
  • Advice for you on complying with the requirements of the Doctorate Extension SchemeCarrying out an audit of your international student files to ensure you are complying with your record keeping and reporting duties. We can tailor an audit to your specific requirements.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Applications

This immigration category allows graduates with world-class ideas and entrepreneurial skills to remain in the UK to develop their business ideas. Universities who have an established process for identifying, nurturing and developing entrepreneurs amongst their graduates and postgraduates are eligible to participate in the scheme, each being allocated a share of 1,000 places, using their discretion to decide which of its graduates to support. We can support universities with applications to join the scheme and advise on compliance with the ongoing requirements.

Tier 2 (General), Tier 5 and Employing Non-EEA Nationals Workers

We can advise on:

  • Applying for a Tier 2 and/or Tier 5 Sponsor Licence or applying to add those categories to an existing Tier 4 licence
  • Requesting and assigning restricted and unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship,
  • Eligibility of migrants already in the UK to switch immigration categorie
  • Support with entry clearance (visa) and further leave to remain applications
  • Advice on complying with the UK's laws on preventing illegal working, including employing undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students who are subject to restrictions on their hours of work


We can provide comprehensive and bespoke immigration law training to ensure that HEIs are fully aware of the sponsorship obligations and are up to date with any changes to the Immigration Rules which will impact on the sector.

Immigration Audits

We offer our HEI clients an immigration audit service where we review your procedures and processes to ensure you are compliant and ready for a visit from the UKVI's compliance teams.

We know only too well how easy it is for sponsors to get into difficulty complying with their sponsor duties and we have a wealth of experience in advising clients on how to proactively manage those duties so that problems do not arise. For those sponsors who are already having problems we are happy to assist and discuss your options with you.

Next Steps

If you have an immigration related query, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

We are able to help with specific queries, general queries and strategic advice. We also have many template policies available.

VWV provide free regular updates on immigration developments which we feel are of direct relevance to HEIs. If you wish to be added to our mailing list please subscribe.

For more information, please contact Judith Hockin on 0117 314 5302.

Higher Education Enquiry Form

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VWV have a well-deserved strong reputation within HE sector. They are subject matter experts on equality and diversity and are quick to update on latest reviews and case law. But their real strength is their ability to correlate likely implications and actions needed by HEIs by their developed understanding and knowledge of Higher Education institutions.

  • Jacqui Marshall - Deputy Registrar and Director of HR
  • University of Exeter

Meet the Team

Our Education team is ranked in the top tier of Chambers & Partners UK wide category and Legal 500.

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Bettina Rigg - Partner at VWV
Jane Byford - Partner at VWV

Employment Law

Higher Education

Further Education

Michelle Bendall - Property Litigation Partner at VWV

Property Litigation

Landlord & Tenant Matters

Public Sector


News & Events

Highest Number of Partners Promoted at VWV
2019 is starting on a high for six of our lawyers, who have been promoted to Partners.
4 Jan 2019