Lawyer Monthly - September 2023

About Malini Skandachanmugarasan Malini Skandachanmugarasan is a partner at Doyle Clayton and leads the firm’s personal and private client immigration practice. She is recognised as one of the UK’s leading immigration lawyers, advising both organisations and individuals, specialising in UK immigration law, nationality law and European law. Her expertise enables her to service clients ranging from global corporates and innovative tech leaders to families, overstayers and those seeking protection in the UK. She is individually ranked in legal directories and is described by peers as being ‘at the top of her game and one to watch in the market’. About Doyle Clayton Doyle Clayton offers legal and advisory support to clients on issues arising in the workplace and provides realistic and effective solutions on employment, immigration and corporate and commercial law issues. It has experience in dealing with most sectors and industries in the UK and its clients include start-ups, SMEs, family-owned businesses, multinational corporates and private individuals. As a result, it can use its substantial experience and industry expertise to advise businesses and individuals on a range of employment, UK immigration and corporate law issues. Contact Malini Skandachanmugarasan Partner, Doyle Clayton One Crown Court, Cheapside, London, EC2V 6LR, UK Tel: +44 02073 299090 +44 07789 685534 E: mskandachanmugarasan@ technology) and introducing clearer information regarding the eligibility criteria and process for categories, such as the Global Talent and Innovator Founder categories. The UK could also build on its connections with other countries by introducing easier routes to highly skilled individuals or entrepreneurs who have had their talent recognised through the grant of specific immigration permission in other jurisdictions. From a practical perspective, there is an urgent need to introduce quicker processing times and priority services. Current processing times can be months-long, which simply does not align with the pathways of start-ups and new businesses. Consideration should also be given to whether the high visa costs, which can be crippling to start-ups and SMEs, and existing eligibility criteria for settlement and British citizenship align with the purpose of attracting and retaining exceptional individuals. Despite already having higher visa fees than many other economies, the government’s intention to increase visa costs across the board by 15% to 20% will only add to the existing impact of rising immigration costs and limit the ability of enthusiastic, innovative and gifted founders and entrepreneurs to consider the UK. The UK has the fundamental structure of being a country of opportunity and growth to foreign-born talent and entrepreneurs. It needs to engage urgently with practitioners and the business community to ensure that a transparent and positive system is implemented to attract exceptional people from all sectors without bureaucratic hurdles. years of practice, the perception of an immigrant has become increasingly misunderstood and negative. A prime example is the discussions on immigration in the lead-up to Brexit. Recent stances taken by UK governments could deter talent from moving to the UK where they face high visa fees, restrictive immigration conditions and administrative obstacles in establishing businesses. The Immigration Rules also change frequently, causing confusion to individuals who may have entered the UK under one category only for it no longer to exist by the time they qualify for settlement. Nevertheless, the UK is still considered an attractive option for businesspeople. With a high-spending consumer market and multicultural, highly talented individuals in addition to the language, geographical position and funding environment for start-ups and new businesses, it is understandable why the UK is considered a business-friendly country. The interest from the international business community is clear, but the UK immigration requirements can be a major obstacle deterring exciting and creative individuals and business from setting up here. UK immigration policy is constantly evolving. Given the effects of more recent changes for businesspeople and entrepreneurs, we need to consider ways to make the UK an attractive place to incentivise talented individuals to relocate, invest and work here. This could be through making existing categories more wide-reaching to the range of talent covering numerous sectors (without a focus on digital THOUGHT LEADER 73

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