Life as a Trainee Immigration Lawyer: Nisan Yesildaglar

Nisan Yesildaglar discusses her role as a trainee in immigration law. 

Life as a Trainee Immigration Lawyer

How did you get into immigration law?

I had always wanted a career in law. I studied Law with French Law at the University of Exeter and did my LLM in European Law at the University of Rennes I. I completed my MSc LPC with Business Management at the University of Law Bloomsbury and I’m now a trainee solicitor at UK immigration law firm, DavidsonMorris.

Describe a typical day for you.

I’m focused on immigration compliance, advising employers on how to employ migrant workers lawfully in the UK and how to avoid Home Office fines for failing to meet immigration compliance duties. Lots of contact with HR teams, business owners and foreign workers.

I also carry out mock immigration audits. I assess employers’ HR and immigration compliance processes and records, and produce an audit report with action plans. Audits are good risk management practice, as it prepares employers for Home Office inspections – which are hugely stressful for businesses!

A typical day in the office could include reviewing company compliance documents, updating our client compliance records, calls with clients to give guidance on their compliance duties and Right to Work obligations and booking visa appointments for visa applicants.

For example, I’ve just taken a call from a client and provided an assessment of a Tier 2 application against Home Office guidelines – looking at the genuineness of the role, salary, hours of work and identifying suitable Standard Occupational Classification Codes. I have to be able to assess a number of critical factors against the guidelines to identity potential issues and support with the application documentation.

I also spend time off-site at clients’ premises acting as an official representative during Home Office site inspections. Immigration inspections are a big deal – any allegations of breaches can result in fines and deportation of workers. Added to that, immigration officials don’t always follow the process correctly, so I attend to support with the requests for documents and information, to ensure the client has a record of what happens and generally provide legal and moral support.

What are the challenges in your role?

Home Office immigration enforcement can attend employers’ sites with little to no notice, and we are on hand to support our clients if they are facing a ‘raid’. This means I have to drop everything to assist, which obviously affects workload and other priorities, so I have to be flexible and work efficiently to meet deadlines without compromising quality of work. But it’s rewarding that you can make a difference, and being on the ground when the inspection is taking place means we can ensure our clients’ interests are protected from the outset in the event of further action.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy that I have a wide range of responsibilities and that I’m involved in different parts of the business. The diversity of my workload and the type of clients we advise (anything from fintech start ups, leisure businesses, universities through to global high net worth entrepreneurs), means no day is like any other and I really enjoy working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.

Why choose a career in business immigration?

If you enjoy working with people, immigration is a great place to be. It’s also constantly changing, rules are amended, new ones are introduced and old ones are withdrawn. You have to keep up, adapt your advice and help your clients ensure they stay compliant – which makes it interesting and pushes you to continually expand your knowledge.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in business immigration?

You need to be diligent and keep up to date with the latest legislation, with an interest in current affairs and immigration policy. The wider environment – legal, economic, political – is a factor when advising on immigration options and strategies for immigration compliance.

Jemima Johnstone: My path to immigration law > 

DavidsonMorris is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).


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About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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