Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law
Gary McIndoe
Firm:
Office:
Reb's Corner
2-4 Loom Street
M4 6AN
City:
Manchester
Country:
England

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Brexit

Gary McIndoe is the founding director of Latitude Law, a boutique immigration law firm headquartered in Manchester and with offices in Liverpool and London. The company celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and has a portfolio of private and corporate clients throughout the UK and internationally. Gary brings more than 20 years’ experience to his role, and is a leading voice on Brexit immigration issues in Manchester and beyond. 

What steps has the firm taken to ensure that it continues to offer the highest expertise in immigration law for clients during the Brexit process?

Latitude Law has adopted different approaches to the Brexit issue. We of course have continued to advise individual clients on their personal needs, but we have also taken to social media to publish updates when details have been released by the government. We recognise that exiting the EU raises enormous challenges for businesses as well as private clients. Our firm has provided workshops and briefing events to a range of employer clients who are concerned about the future of their UK workforce. Through these steps we believe we are offering pragmatic, real-world advice of benefit to industry and individuals navigating the insecurity which Brexit creates.

To what extent is immigration now a more complex issue for clients than it was before the EU referendum?

Latitude Law is committed to providing up-to-date and practical advice to clients. The Brexit referendum result has been unusual because, while representing a shift in the UK’s approach to migration, it has not yet had any real legal effect. In this context, advising a client about their options becomes more complicated; we must consider current status, the uncertainty of 2019 onwards and the best way to prepare for a smooth transition when Brexit bites.

How is Brexit viewed by your regional clients? Does it hold the same weight for smaller businesses as for large ones?

While in theory the ability to sponsor a migrant worker exists for any business, often the steps to achieve that aim are onerous and daunting for an employer. The system operates within a rigid structure, with a relatively high threshold on the skill level for each role and salary level to be paid.  Employers must additionally negotiate a cap on the total number of skilled migrant workers permitted to enter the UK each month. On occasion, these confines do not address the real business needs of UK employers. This is particularly true of regional companies, who may struggle to meet salary thresholds when compared to their London counterparts. Sponsorship of a migrant worker is also a commitment to abide by strict rules and guidelines which may be unfamiliar to an employer. Mistakes in compliance can lead to serious repercussions – for the worker as well as the sponsor – which again can cause an employer to turn away from the traditional sponsorship option. There are alternatives, such as a preferential visa route for those with exceptional talent in their field, but these are limited and not always of assistance to a business which simply needs to recruit.

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