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WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Jane Pilkington is the highest-rated Irish lawyer in our research this year. She earns praise as a “go-to in Ireland” who is “very responsive and knowledgeable and provides an excellent service”.

Questions & Answers

Jane is the managing director of Newland Chase’s Irish office and is an expert on Irish immigration law and policy. As a qualified Irish solicitor, she advises on all aspects of Irish immigration, with a focus on multinationals, SMEs and start-ups employing non-EEA nationals in Ireland. Jane has more than 20 years of experience in the field and is a regular speaker at global immigration conferences. Additionally, she is a member of AILA.

What matters have clients sought your advice on in the past year?

In the past year, clients have predominantly sought advice on covid-19 and how it has affected Irish immigration processes. Recurring covid-19 themes have included travel restrictions, remote work, the consequences of absences from Ireland, delays in taking up immigration permissions and compliance-related issues. Apart from covid-19, there has also been a continuing interest in Irish citizenship by ancestry and by Foreign Birth Registration. In addition, Brexit has remained an ongoing topic in terms of Ireland being considered as an alternative location to the UK from a business perspective. Ireland continues to be an attractive location for companies as Irish immigration policy remains open and competitive for talent.

What is the most memorable case you have worked on?

I was very lucky to have acted for a theatre production company who staged a world-renowned musical in Dublin a number of years ago. We supported the company on Irish immigration requirements for a number of its cast members. Working with them gave me a real insight into this fast-paced world. It was also hugely satisfying to sit in the audience on opening night and to think I played a very small part in the production! Its also really memorable and satisfying when you feel that you have made a difference to someone’s life arising from the outcome of an immigration case and, thankfully, I’ve had many such cases. 

How do you seek to manage client frustrations when there are practical difficulties and delays at the immigration application stages?

We assess all of our cases, at first instance, and this includes setting out the options, timelines and red flags so as to “road map” a case out. In this way, we factor in any potential issues and delays from the outset, ensuring that it’s much easier to manage expectations and to address any such issues. Where there are any unexpected issues or delays, we work with our clients to overcome these. Communication with the client and keeping them updated at each stage of any case is key so that there are no surprises!

How has covid-19 impacted immigration? 

Covid-19 has had a fundamental impact on business immigration where it has affected people’s ability to travel. Many companies have placed travel, global moves and assignments on hold due to the uncertainty that covid-19 has created. Covid-19 has underlined the importance of practitioners being aware of what’s going on in other jurisdictions from an immigration perspective in terms of travel bans and restrictions. It has certainly been a challenging time for immigration practitioners as there has been a marked decrease in work. On the other hand, covid-19 has arguably resulted in a better understanding of the pivotal role of the mobility professional within a company and our function as their advisors.

How has covid-19 fast-forwarded certain processes which are central to your practice?

There have been “silver linings” to covid-19’s vast cloud! The Irish departments that are tasked with immigration reacted quickly and comprehensively to covid-19 challenges thereby making it possible for us to continue to do our work. Most employment permission and related applications can now be filed and issued electronically. In addition, the departments are engaging with practitioners electronically and are discouraging, at least for the present, communications by post. In Dublin, all non-EEA nationals can now re-register for their Irish Residence Permit (IRP) Cards by applying online, albeit they must submit original documents by post. We are hopeful that many of these positive changes which have been accelerated by covid-19 will remain, once the global situation normalises.

What does your role as managing director of Newland Chase entail?

Newland Chase Ireland was established in January 2019 and has been operating for almost two years, which is very exciting. My role as managing director is very diverse and includes being the brand in Ireland, leading our Irish team and also undertaking the actual immigration work on a daily basis. Where Newland Chase is a global company, I also interact with other offices and partake in strategy and business development meetings. It’s safe to say that no day is the same, which makes my role versatile and fulfilling.

How has the competition in the market changed since you first started practising?

I’ve seen many changes since qualifying as a solicitor in 2000. At that time, very few Irish law firms and accountancy practices offered a business immigration service in Ireland. This has certainly changed since then due to an increase in immigration to Ireland and also a higher demand from Irish-based employers for skilled labour from outside the EEA. Corporate immigration was previously considered a niche area, whereas now, there are many more advisers in the Irish market, which means increased competition. 

How would you like to develop your practice in the next five years?

Although I’ve worked in Irish business immigration for the last 20 years, Newland Chase is a relative newcomer to the Irish market. My ambition is to grow the business so we are the premier immigration offering in Ireland. There are many talented lawyers and competitors in Ireland and so to achieve this will be no mean feat but it is always good to have strong goals!

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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