Sessions E - Thursday 29 June, 3.15-4.30pm
E1 Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
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
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.