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School Immigration Advice

School Immigration Advice

Immigration Law Advice for Independent Schools

Around 650 independent schools are registered with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) under Tier 4, sponsoring approximately 14,500 overseas pupils each year. Those pupils are not only an important source of income for schools but also help broaden their international reach and add to the vibrancy of school life.

However, as 'beneficiaries' of the immigration system, independent schools are held to high standard when UKVI assess their immigration compliance, taking an uncompromising line when breaches are uncovered. This brings pressure to bear on schools, pupils and staff – particularly those who have a front line role in dealing with UKVI.

A working knowledge of immigration law and practice has therefore never been so important to independent schools as today.

Our experienced team of specialist immigration lawyers have extensive knowledge of the independent school sector. We provide advice, guidance and support on all aspects of immigration law tailored to the specific needs of your school.

Quick Enquiry

Tier 4 Immigration Specialists

Tom Brett Young, Head of our Immigration team, advises schools and other education providers on every aspect of UK immigration law, particularly in relation to sponsorship compliance. He also advises on immigration applications made by individuals in all categories, be they students, high-net worth individuals or strategically important new hires.

Tom co-chairs the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association's Economic Migration Working Group, and is regularly invited to speak on UK immigration and deliver training for fellow immigration practitioners, lawyers of other disciplines, and clients.

Matthew Burgess provides unique insight and expertise in all aspects of Tier 4 immigration, ranging from sponsor compliance, applications and renewals, pupil visa applications and dealing with UKVI and the Home Office. Formerly General Secretary of the Independent Schools Council, and now a Consultant to the firm, Matthew led the independent sector’s engagement with the Home Office on the introduction of Tier 4 of the points based immigration system

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Tier 4 Sponsorship Experts

Our experienced immigration lawyers assist independent schools with all aspects of their activities as Tier 4 sponsors, including:

  • pupil eligibility for Tier 4 sponsorship
  • completing and assigning the 'CAS'
  • Tier 4 pupils transferring from other schools
  • Tier 4 visa application process and requirements
  • failsafe record keeping
  • teaching partnership arrangements – how to document your relationship with pre-sessional providers
  • annual sponsorship activities: CAS allocation requests and the Basic Compliance Assessment
  • complying with your reporting duties
  • agent reporting
  • preparing for UKVI compliance visits
  • what to do when things go wrong

We can also assist you with immigration issues outside of Tier 4, such as:

  • preparing EEA-national staff and students for Brexit
  • employing voluntary workers under Tier 5
  • sponsorship of non-EEA nationals under Tier 2
  • employment of non-EEA nationals outside of Tiers 2 and 5
  • dependants and visitors – routes outside Tier 4
  • support with visa and further leave to remain applications.
  • conducting Right to Work checks
  • challenging threats to suspend or revoke a Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor licence (which may also have an impact on a school's Tier 4 licence)

Proactive Legal Support

We have developed a range of services to assist independent schools with Tier 4 compliance, including:

  • Compliance Packs
    Guidance packs, checklists and policy documents to help schools conduct self-assessment audits, ensure Tier 4 eligibility and assist pupils/parents with their visa applications.

  • Compliance Assessment Visits
    We visit schools to assess and report on their compliance with their sponsor duties.

  • Outsourced Tier 4 Administration
    We offer a bespoke outsourcing service designed to fit in with schools' existing pupil recruitment and admissions processes and support schools and pupils/parents with the sponsorship and visa application process.

  • Tier 4 Helpline
    We support schools with Tier 4 issues as and when they arise both over the phone and by email/in writing.

  • Crisis Management
    From time-to-time schools run into problems with Tier 4 compliance. Our team of specialists can assist with any difficult issues which might arise, such as:
    - visits from UKVI
    - failed inspection reports
    - visa refusals threatening the annual Basic Compliance Assessment
    - threats from UKVI to revoke the licence
    - issues arising from a change of ownership

Subscribe to our Schools Law Brief or sign up to OnStream, our free compliance portal, to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in immigration law. 

We also run practical immigration training seminars every term, and can deliver bespoke, on-site training to help you comply with your reporting and compliance duties.

For specialist immigration advice or training from leading independent schools lawyers, please contact Tom Brett Young on 0121 227 3759.

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Meet the Team

Our independent schools lawyers have a broad variety of legal expertise and offer a full legal service to the independent schools sector

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Barney Northover - Partner & Education Lawyer in Bristol - VWV Solicitors

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Simon Bevan - Partner & Education Employment Lawyer in Bristol - VWV Solicitors

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Tabitha Cave - Partner & Dispute Resolution Solicitor in Bristol - VWV Solicitors

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