Sessions DE - Thursday 29 June, 1.30-4.30pm
BC1 / DE1 Stop Press (repeat of BC1)
Based on our Stop Press course, this session is designed to provide participants with updated
information on international student issues and changes in legislation over the last 12 months. As in
previous years, the breadth and depth of immigration changes are no doubt going to provide the
whole agenda for this session! The course is intended for experienced advisers who already have a
good understanding of existing provisions affecting international students. Participants who
attended one of the UKCISA Stop Press training events earlier in the year are advised not to attend
this session as it will cover the same material.
Presenters: Advice and Training Officers, UKCISA
DE2 EU law: students and their family members
The session aims to give advisers (either new or with some experience) a firm grounding in the
issues of European Union law that are pertinent to students and their family members. We will
consider what requirements EEA students and their family members need to meet in order to be
exercising their right to reside in the UK and why it is necessary to meet the requirements that give
rise to a right to reside while the UK is in the European Union.
The content of this session is subject to change, but will cover the latest law and policy relating to
EEA students and their family members in the UK.
Presenter: Deepa Chadha, Advice and Training Officer, UKCISA
DE3 Communication with our students from China, India and Nigeria: cultural
influences and effective strategies
Category: General interest
This informal and interactive workshop will support staff to communicate more effectively with
their international students.
To make the most of a short session we will focus on communicating with students from three key
areas for UK HE: China, India and Nigeria.
We will explore:
cultural influences on communication styles (our own and others') and our responses to such
differences in style
differences between British, Indian and Nigerian Englishes and the influence of first tongues on the
production of second/third languages
how to make ourselves more clear and how to maximise our understanding of what others' are
Presenter: Jo Bloxham, Partner of thinkingpeople, thinkingpeople
In 2003 Jo and Kathryn set up thinkingpeople with the aim of supporting individuals and
organisations to build their cross-cultural competence. thinkingpeople work with a wide range of
clients from refugee charities to major sporting organisations. thinkingpeople primarily work in the
HE sector, however, working with students, professional services staff and academics on generic and
Before starting thinkingpeople Jo worked for 2.5 years in China in teacher training. She has an MA in
Social Anthropology from SOAS and managed an international volunteer exchange programme for
18-25 year olds for VSO and the British Council.
DE4 Back to the source: the immigration rules for dependents of students
Learn to navigate your way around the Immigration Rules for the partners and children of
students. Who can come? What requirements do they need to meet? What are they allowed to do?
An interactive session that aims to help you find your own way around the Immigration Rules on all
Presenter: Kate Handforth, Advice and Training Officer, UKCISA
DE5 College sector best practice café - solutions to international issues in FE (This is now D8)
Category: Further education, Special interest
This has now changed to a one hour 15 minute session: D8
Sessions D - Thursday 29 June, 1.30-2.45pm
D1 Preparing for a Tier 4 audit by the UK Visas and Immigration Higher Education
Category: Immigration compliance
Experienced immigration compliance practitioners would like to share recommended
preparation plans for a Tier 4 audit and provide best practices. Each panel member has undertaken a
Tier 4 audit(s) by the UK Visas and Immigration Higher Education Assurance (HEAT) Team over the
past two years.
The session will cover the five areas of a HEAT audit:
- Monitoring immigration status
- Maintaining migrant contact details
- Record keeping and recruitment
- Migrant tracking
- Monitoring general sponsor duties
The panel represents higher education institutions with small and large international student
numbers, as well as representation from the private sector. Each member has undertaken a Tier 4
audit(s) with UKVI HEAT.
Presenters: Sara Smith, Assistant Registrar (UKVI Compliance),
University of Portsmouth; Sanjay Parmar, Immigration Compliance Manager,
Regent's University; Kate Monroe, Operation Manager (Immigration Compliance),
University of Edinburgh; Peter Skillen, Immigration Compliance Manager, INTO
University Partnerships; Sophie Ferguson, Assistant Registrar (Immigration
Compliance), Bath Spa University, Ross Porter, Head of International Compliance
and Advice, University of Greenwich
Sara Smith has been involved in the International Education field for over 19 years. Sara has worked
in international teaching, recruitment, study abroad, partnerships, support and compliance, across
the FE, HE and private sector. As a passionate international practitioner, Sara has applied her
knowledge and expertise to implement and drive Tier 4 policy and processes at Southampton Solent
University; since the introduction of Home Office Tier 4 policy in 2009. Since April 2016 Sara leads
the immigration compliance team at the University of Portsmouth and achieved a successful Tier 4
HEAT Audit in early summer 2016. Sara is an active member of the ARC UKVI practitioners group and
the Immigration Compliance Network for London and SE region. Sara presented at the 2016 UKNARIC
Sophie Ferguson has worked in Compliance (in various incarnations) since 2010, in that time she has gone
through multiple UKVI visits, most recently three weeks into her current role as Head of
International Compliance at Bath Spa. Having worked in both private sector and HEI compliance she
has encountered UKVI/HEAT in their many guises and has developed coping mechanisms along with
a uniform plan of action for pre visit preparation which has served her well, certainly in recent
Kate Monroe is the Operation Manager (Immigration Compliance) at University of Edinburgh. The
University successful achieved a Tier 4 Heat audit in 2016. Prior to this role Kate worked at the
University of York.
Sanjay Parmar graduated in Media and Cultural Studies with Business from Kingston University.
Following his studies he worked at the University in immigration compliance. Currently Sanjay is
Head of Compliance and Advice at Regents University, London. In 2016 the University had a
successful Tier 4 HEAT audit. Sanjay co-leads on the Immigration Compliance Network (ICN) for
London and SE region.
Ross Porter is the Head of International Compliance & Advice at the University of Greenwich where he has
strategic oversight of Tier 4 compliance & advice activities on behalf of the University. He cut his
teeth in Tier 4 at Middlesex University, where he worked since 2010 in a multitude of compliancefocused
roles, cumulating in Assistant Academic Registrar (Student Visa Compliance). He has
experience in identifying and implementing Tier 4 risk management techniques and has first-hand
experience in leading institutional preparations for an audit. He can also testify first hand just how
sharp the Home Office stick is!
Peter Skillen was appointed INTO Immigration Compliance Manager in July 2012. He is the central
reference point for all Home Office (UKVI) related compliance and guidance within the INTO group,
understanding Home Office guidance and sharing it throughout the organisation, ensuring that we
remain fully compliant and that all policies and procedures are consistent under the Home Office
rules and working closely with our University Joint Ventures. Having formally been the UKBA Policy
and Operations Manager at UEA where he worked for 10 years, Peter has been involved with Tier 4
and the Points Based System since its introduction in November 2008 and has worked with the UKVI,
Home Office and Universities UK in working groups in establishing best practice for compliance in
the sector. Peter has recently presented at the UK-NARIC annual Conference and is the Independent
Higher Education Chair for the Tier 4 compliance network.
D2 The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI)
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) is responsible for
monitoring and reporting on the efficiency and effectiveness of the performance of functions
relating to immigration, asylum, nationality and customs by the Home Office.
This session will provide an opportunity to hear about recently published inspections that examined
international students’ issues. In addition, the ICIBI is keen to use the session to hear delegates’
views on the Home Office’s functions relating to international students. Feedback will be used to
inform its inspection plan.
Presenter: Carol-Anne Sweeney, Lead Inspector, The Independent
Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI)
Carol-Ann Sweeney has been a Lead Inspector at ICIBI since February 2013 and her inspections
have included unaccompanied children claiming asylum, illegal working and sham marriage. Within
her wider career she has worked in immigration, policing and Human Resources. She is a Chartered
Fellow of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).
D3 A new interactive approach to visa season
Each September, the University of Exeter has approximately 400 international students
progressing from INTO Exeter. In 2016 we rolled out a new and improved format to prepare
students to submit their visa extension applications. This included a pre-arrival visa extension
handbook and a series of fast-paced half day workshops checking documents and filling in
application forms which freed up vital staff time in August.
During Freshers Week we staffed a Visa Information Point which triaged these students before visa
submission appointments with advisers. It was also the first point of contact for all visa enquiries
including University of Exeter progressors and switchers from other institutions, queries from new
students and BRP errors to name but a few!
This system resulted in an excellent success rate and huge improvements in efficiency and
Presenters: Minoti Balraj, International Student Adviser, University Of
Exeter; Donna McKie, International Student Adviser, University Of Exeter
Donna McKie and Minoti Balraj are International Student Advisers and have worked at the
University of Exeter since 2014.
Minoti joined the university after a career in teaching while Donna has worked in various roles for
the University of Exeter since 2008 including undergraduate and postgraduate admissions and in the
CAS issuing team. Prior to Exeter Donna worked for the University of Plymouth and the University of
D4 Climbing the ladders and avoiding the snakes: enhancing your career in higher
Category: Staff support
This session is aimed at colleagues starting out on their careers, stuck in a rut or looking for
inspiration about what their next step might be. It will get participants thinking about their own
careers and how they can build on success to open up new opportunities within Higher Education.
Lizzie will give an overview of her career journey and how she has managed the ups and downs of
working in an ever-changing and pressurised sector. The session will also provide advice on how
participants might be able to enhance their careers and broaden their horizons.
Presenter: Lizzie Huckle, Head Of International Student Support,
Imperial College London
Lizzie Huckle is currently Head of International Student Support at Imperial College London. She
has worked in a number of different institutions and has over 15 years experience working within
international student advice.
D5 Tier 4 compliance - minimising risk from the perspective of students, international
advisers and sponsors (repeat session - see E7)
Category: Immigration compliance
Making the wrong decision in relation to Tier 4 sponsorship can have severe consequences.
Institutions, compliance teams, international student advisers and international students all have a
key role to play. In this session we will analyse the main areas of risk in relation to Tier 4 sponsorship
and consider steps that can be taken to reduce risk in a manner that is proportionate and fair. We
will focus on risk not only from the perspective of the institution, but also from the perspective of
the international student adviser and international students.
Presenter: Nichola Carter, Principal Solicitor, Carter Thomas
Nichola Carter is an immigration law solicitor with a strong reputation amongst universities
seeking advice on how to protect their sponsor licences (Tiers 2, 4 & 5). After leading the
immigration and education teams at Penningtons Manches LLP, Nichola established boutique
immigration practice Carter Thomas Solicitors. London Metropolitan University turned to Nichola
when their sponsor licence was suspended in 2012 and since then she has assisted numerous other
HEIs. Nichola, who has been working in the field of immigration law for almost two decades, is a
member of The Law Society's immigration law committee and is ranked in The Legal 500, Chambers
& Partners and Who's Who of Immigration Lawyers.
D6 Voice confidence and bad news delivery
Category: Further education, Staff support, Students' Union
Aiming to equip advisers with their own Bad News Tool Kit for use in their day to day work and
look at how they can have difficult conversations with students in a new way. This session is a mix of
practical and theory work ranging from voice development and confidence through to how to deliver
bad news in the best way possible. whilst also ensuring self-care.
The session will start with a series of practical exercises on voice development, confidence and voice
care and move onto how to build your adviser toolkit. The session will deal with the adviser’s day to
day work and how a toolkit can assist the adviser with difficult conversations. Finally, how to ensure
self-care when having difficult conversations as well as how cultural and communication "lollypops"
can be used to assist advisers in their work will end the session.
Presenter: Timothy Goss, International Student Adviser, University Of
Tim has worked in international advice since 2010 and currently leads on complex and difficult
casework at the University of South Wales. He is passionate about student experience and ensuring
that student and adviser self care feature in his daily work.
Tim is also an accomplished choir and voice motivator working with 2 choirs regularly, running his
own business focusing on client experience, staff motivation and confidence and voice
D7 Demonstration of the new SMS with UK Home Office
Category: Immigration, Immigration compliance
An opportunity for delegates to see the in-development replacement for the Sponsorship Management System.
The session will cover:
- The new ways the Home Office are working to deliver software through user centred design
- A demonstration of working software developed so far.
- A demonstration and discussion of Prototype software in design.
- An opportunity to influence the design of the system by helping the Home Office identify pain points and areas for improvement
Presenters: David Ramsbotham, and Emily Marriott, Home Office; Alan Addison, British Council IELTS
David Ramsbotham is leading on the design of Sponsorship Management System replacement. David has previously undertaken a number of roles relating to the Points Based System including running the Tier 4 casework operation, Head of Sponsor Compliance and Head of PBS Communications over a 16 year career in the Home Office.
Emily Marriott has been leading on Business Change for the Sponsor Management System replacement since the work began, alongside other sponsorship transformation initiatives. Emily joined the Home Office 10 years ago, working in Passport operations and private office before moving into operations development, project and change management.
D8 Best Practice and Sharing of International Issues Faced in FE (This was DE5)
Category: Further education, Special interest
** This session has changed from a three hour session to a 1 hour 15 minute session **
This session is targeted session for international practitioners in FE. It will encourage conversations around innovations, best practice ideas and issues we are finding within the FE Sector, chaired by FE staff to help facilitate relevant and interesting discussions that are proving talking points for the sector. The proposed 1.5 hour slot will finish with feedback for us to share with the whole group. Potential themes for the session could include supporting international students with mental health issues; Brexit/EU programmes; Tier 4 operational issues (e.g. police registration); getting involved in international projects; international networks for support and advice, however we will encourage staff to bring their own ideas to the table.
Presenter: Rachel Iles, Head Of Advice, Recruitment And International, Exeter College
Exeter College is jointly proposing this conference session with the Association of Colleges (AoC) International Team. The session will include between 6 to 8 presenters who will each chair or host a table at the Best Practice Café. The presenters will be appointed once confirmation is received that the session proposal has been approved by UKCISA. The presenters are expected to be drawn in the main from international teams at UK FE colleges alongside a representative from the AoC.