Immigration expert appointed to tackle growing workload

Law firm Howes Percival has appointed specialist corporate immigration lawyer Bilal Ehsan as a Director, to help meet the growing demand from clients faced with significant recruitment pressures and an increasing need to look for talent outside the UK.

Bilal, who joins Howes Percival from Deloitte where he was an Associate Director (Solicitor), is an experienced lawyer with expertise in supporting start-ups, SME’s and major multi-national organisations on all aspects of business immigration. He is also skilled in developing and managing immigration programs for a diverse range of clients and his previous work at some of the world’s largest professional services firms further solidifies his expertise.

He routinely supports businesses with sponsor licence applications, work related visa sponsorship, permanent residence and right to work considerations. He takes a particular interest in providing operational and strategic advice to companies on the multifaceted immigration landscape, immigration policy design and implementation, sponsorship compliance and considerations arising from a corporate restructure.

Bilal’s background aligns with the firm’s ambition to develop a specialism in this area, enabling the firm to better serve clients with diverse immigration needs. The firm is looking to develop a wide range of services including transactional services such as assessing eligibility of work permits, visas and permanent residence applications, right to work, and monitoring compliance and managing critical expiration dates, through to more advisory services such as delivering training, immigration audits and co-ordinating immigration requirements for domestic and cross border projects.

The team will also take care of document procurement, business travel issues and immigration considerations arising from corporate restructure, as well as advising overseas businesses looking to set up a presence in the UK.

Bilal Ehsan comments, “Immigration is both highly political and a rapidly changing area of law. Since Brexit, the UK has seen a significant increase in businesses applying for sponsor licences and a large increase in visa sponsorship for migrant workers across the board. This is largely due to skills shortages and consequently, a relaxation of the immigration rules, making it somewhat easier for sponsors to employ the talent they need from around the world.

“The Home Office has also recently ramped up efforts to crack down on organisations that are non-compliant with their sponsorship obligations or those who may be hiring workers illegally. It is strongly recommended that organisations revisit their sponsorship and right to work processes, if not done so recently, to ensure they do not get caught out.”

Howes Percival Partner and Head of Employment & HR Law, Paula Bailey, added, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Bilal to Howes Percival and to be able to add corporate immigration expertise to our list of services. Bilal brings extensive experience and a strong track record in advising clients on all aspects of business immigration. With his expertise, Bilal adds significant value to the firm by providing operational and strategic advice on the complex immigration landscape, catering to the needs of start-ups, small owner-managed businesses, and major multi-national organisations.

“We want to be seen as one of the best UK immigration service providers in the country and an extension of our clients’ HR/global mobility teams. We know from talking to our clients that employers are keen to ensure their new hires have a seamless onboarding process and our aim is to help employers transform their immigration programs, so that they can provide a best-in-class service.”

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