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Sessions E

Sessions E - Thursday 29 June, 3.15-4.30pm

E1 Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Category: Immigration

ATAS is designed to ensure that those applying for postgraduate study in certain sensitive subjects do not acquire knowledge that could potentially be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Students applying for certain postgraduate courses need to obtain an ATAS certificate before applying for a visa. This session will provide an opportunity to hear about the scheme from staff who administer the ATAS scheme. Delegates can bring queries they have based on their own students' experiences. It will be suitable for both new and experienced staff

Presenter:  Kevin Curran, Head of Academic Technology & Approval Scheme, Foreign and Commonwealth Office    

Kevin has worked for the FCO for 28 years. He joined the FCO’s Directorate for Defence and International Security (DDIS) in November 2014 having previously been on a two-year posting to Tripoli, Libya from May 2012 to July 2014.

E2 Ensuring an all staff understanding of compliance

Category: Immigration compliance

Two universities will present the different approaches they have taken to ensuring an all staff understanding of Compliance. This session is most relevant to staff working within Compliance, Visas and Immigration.

The University of Salford identified a need to develop a ‘Culture of Compliance’ in relation to Home Office compliance issues. Throughout this session, they will outline the project from its conception, through to work currently being undertaken to ensure that Home Office Compliance is an all staff responsibility and that individuals have the specific knowledge and skills required for their role.

QMUL will look at their experience of planning and using a wiki to distribute up-to-date guidance to staff on compliance. In this part of the session we’ll look at what a wiki is, the challenges of setting one up and the getting users buy in.

Presenters:  Rowan Hoper, Information Officer: Home Office Compliance, The University of Salford; Scott Mitchell, Information Officer: Home Office Compliance, The University of Salford; Martin Donkin, Points Based Immigration Compliance Officer, Queen Mary University of London  

Rowan Hoper (Information Officer: Home Office Compliance, University of Salford) – Rowan has worked for the University of Salford since December 2014 and joined the Home Office Compliance Team in August 2015.

Scott Mitchell (Information Officer: Home Office Compliance, University of Salford) - Scott has worked for the University of Salford since March 2012 and first began working in the field of Home Office Compliance in October 2012. He officially joined the team in March 2013.

Martin Donkin (Points Based Immigration Compliance Officer, Queen Mary University of London) – Martin recently moved from student advice to immigration compliance. Prior to this he was the university’s International Student Adviser and has over a decade of experience in international student support and administration.

E3 Preventing illegal working: balancing the interests of the institution and the student

Category: Immigration compliance

Supporting international students into employment opportunities both on campus and off campus during their studies either through part time work or placements is a key priority for many institutions. However, with the introduction of a new criminal offence of illegal working in July 2016 there have been increasing concerns as to how to ensure Tier 4 sponsored students do not breach their conditions and in doing so possibly adversely affect the Tier 4 Sponsor Licence. This session will give you a brief overview of the legal requirements and share how Leeds Beckett University have approached this task.

Presenters:  Karen Griffith, Information Advice Manager (International), Leeds Beckett University; Jo Holliday, Senior Immigration Consultant, Parker Rhodes Hickmotts Solicitors   

Jo Holliday has over 25 years experience of advising international students on immigration matters within the HE sector. She is now working as a freelance immigration consultant with Parker Rhodes Hickmotts Solicitors and specialises in relationship and work related immigration cases. She will bring her experience of working within a large institution to support Tier 4 students in their transition to the various work routes under the PBS.

Karen Griffith has worked at Leeds Beckett University in a number of different roles supporting international students for over 26 years. In her current role, she helps deliver training on systems and structures to ensure that cross university staff are aware of and understand UKVI legal requirements regarding the advice and information given to international students.

E4 Educational equality and international students in the UK

Category: Special interest, Students' Union

The issue of educational equality has been a largely neglected topic in discussions about international students in the UK in recent years. This session presents the perspectives of a researcher, practitioner and campaigner on the key questions of how educational equality for international students is being conceptualised and promoted in UK universities today, where key problems lie, and what could and should be done to ensure educational equality for all across the UK higher education sector. The aim of this interactive session is to foster a collective discussion with audience members that can help to identify key principles, issues and campaigning goals that could be actively embraced in the coming years as an ideal model of educational equality for home, European and international students alike.

Presenters:  Lynsey Berrecloth, Head of Student Services, London Metropolitan University; Mostafa Rajaai, International Students' Officer, National Union of Students; Stuart Tannock, Senior Lecturer, UCL Institute Of Education  

Stuart Tannock is a Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Education.

Mostafa Rajaai is the International Students' Officer for the National Union of Students.

Lynsey Berrecloth has provided immigration advice for international students in Higher Education since 2006, with increased focus on compliance activities in recent years. She holds the UKCISA Certificate, graduated in the first cohort of the University of Nottingham PG Cert International Student Advice and Support and is a seasoned UKCISA conference contributor, presenting at nearly every conference since 2009. More recently she has devised, co-written and presented specialist UKCISA training on administrative reviews for credibility refusals. Lynsey has worked at London Metropolitan University since 2014, joining as the Immigration and International Student Advice Team Manager, and was appointed as the Head of Student Services at the end of 2016.

E5 AISA and ICN: when the going gets tough …  Cancelled

E6 The mindful adviser

Category: Staff support

With tightening immigration regulations and an increasingly hostile environment being created for already anxious international students, it is important that Advisers are able to develop skills to help us understand our emotions in order to remain calm and clearheaded in an advice setting, as well as to enhance our general wellbeing. This session aims to examine what mindfulness is and to share Alan's personal experience. You will gain an overview of how you can fit mindfulness practice into your working life and develop some simple techniques that you can use to combat the stressful daily situations that you may experience.

Presenter:  Alan Gelfer, International Student Adviser, City, University Of London   

Alan Gelfer has worked as an International Student Adviser for 7 years. Before then he worked at UKCISA and as an immigration lawyer in practice and also with various immigration NGOS.

E7 Tier 4 compliance - minimising risk from the perspective of students, international advisers and sponsors (repeat session - see D5)

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 Solicitors 

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.

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