We help employers in the education sector ensure their HR function and immigration practices are both fully compliant with legal requirements and effective in supporting academic operations.

Education sector expertise

As employer solutions lawyers, we can help your organisation optimise HR performance throughout the employee lifecycle.

We have extensive experience within the education sector and are fully immersed in the organisational, talent, human resource and mobility challenges facing institutional leaders and HR in this industry. 

Our specialist team of employment and immigration lawyers and HR and global mobility consultants work with education employers of all sizes, delivering strategic consultancy and managed services in support of their workforce planning, management and development efforts. 

Employer solutions for the education sector

We help education institutions:

  • Achieve compliant recruitment and onboarding of international academic staff
  • Streamline people processes across the employee lifecycle
  • Improve organisational diversity and inclusiveness
  • Meet employment, immigration compliance and Right to Work obligations
  • Enhance internal support functions through learning and professional development programmes

Talent challenges for the education sector

The UK education sector, boasting a rich history and international renown, faces a growing concern: staff shortages. While funding pressures and changing demographics play a role, an increasingly restrictive and complex immigration system is contributing to the threat towards the sector’s global status. 

Across the education landscape, vacancies soar, exceeding 40,000 in roles ranging from teachers and lecturers to support staff and language assistants. This shortage manifests in larger class sizes, limited subject offerings, and even school closures, directly impacting students’ learning experiences and teachers’ workloads.

The education sector has long relied on international talent to fill crucial gaps and enrich the learning environment.

This reliance stems from several factors. Some subjects, like modern languages or niche STEM fields, often face domestic teacher shortages, necessitating qualified professionals from abroad.

International teachers bring diverse perspectives and cultural understanding, fostering global awareness and enriching classroom experiences.

As the UK strives to increase foreign language learning, teachers with native speaker fluency are crucial, and often sourced internationally.

However, UK immigration changes present significant hurdles for education employers.

The points-based system for visas makes sponsoring foreign teachers expensive and cumbersome, especially for lower-paid support staff roles.

The SOL, which lists professions facing skills shortages, excludes several critical education roles, limiting the pool of eligible candidates, while post-Brexit uncertainty has seen EU nationals, a significant part of the education workforce, face visa uncertainties, discouraging long-term commitments and creating staffing instability.

These immigration challenges contribute to the education sector’s staffing crisis, with detrimental consequences. Larger class sizes and teacher shortages compromise personalised attention and limit innovation, impacting student learning outcomes.

Institutions may struggle to offer diverse subjects due to a lack of qualified teachers, restricting student opportunities and aspirations.

And a perception of being closed to international talent can deter skilled educators and international students, potentially harming the UK’s educational standing.

A thriving education sector relies not only on innovative teaching methods and adequate resources but also on a diverse and accessible workforce that can be nurtured by embracing international talent.


UK Immigration for the education sector

Home Office applications and immigration compliance are now everyday concerns for education sector HR professionals. From securing visas for visiting academics to compliance auditing and sponsoring researchers and student visa switchers, our team of leading UK immigration lawyers help education organisations with all aspects of their UK immigration needs.

Through our strategic advice and managed migration services, we operate in support of in-house HR teams or on a fully outsourced basis to ensure you operate competitively and in full compliance when employing overseas academics and support staff. Clients benefit from access to our immigration lawyers via a dedicated telephone support line, available weekdays from 8.30am – 6.00pm.


Employment law for the education sector

Our team of employment lawyers works with employers of all sizes to provide ongoing employment law advice, representation and strategic risk management guidance. We offer specialist, fixed fee employment law services, including access to unlimited telephone advice.


HR for the education sector

Organisational infrastructures, stakeholder engagement and learning and teaching methods are undergoing digital transformation across the sector, creating a growing demand for digital talent to enable the change. Education institutions are competing with employers in other sectors to recruit individuals with technical expertise, putting employee experience and reward under the spotlight.

Our team of highly experienced HR consultants can support education employers to improve the performance of their HR function and enhance the overall impact of HR projects.


Global mobility for the education sector

As education operations become more global in nature, with growing numbers of international partnerships and exchange programmes, we help ensure our education clients’ global mobility activities are both fully compliant with immigration requirements and effective in supporting core programme objectives.

We provide expert guidance to help reduce risk while deriving maximum value and return from mobility initiatives. 

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