Boarding schools group launches ABS to help with overseas students

Hollyer: Taking burden away from schools

A group that includes the Boarding Schools Association has launched an alternative business structure (ABS) to provide advice on UK immigration law to both schools and individuals.

BSA Group Legal Services, licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, is led by Kate Hollyer, the group’s director of legal and public affairs.

It is an addition to a group that already comprises the British Association of Independent Schools with International Students, the Boarding Schools Association, the Health in Education Association, the Safeguarding and Child Protection Association, the Institute of Boarding and the State Boarding Forum.

The BSA Group delivers services for more than 1,500 organisations and individuals in 39 countries worldwide.

Overseas students and their sponsor institutions have to overcome a range of hurdles to obtain and maintain visas and sponsor status respectively, and the law firm is offering BSA members a range of free and discounted services, including mock UK Visas & Immigration audits for schools.

Ms Hollyer, who joined the group last year from East of England firm Buckles, where she was a partner and head of immigration, said: “A focal part of BSA Group’s mission is to support excellence in boarding and, through BSA Group Legal, we seek to ensure our schools holding UKVI sponsor status remain compliant and have access to expert legal guidance.

“Compliance with stringent sponsor duties, ever-changing legal policy and guidance is often burdensome for our member schools. Navigating the complexities of UK immigration laws can be challenging and mistakes are costly; sponsor schools cannot afford to get it wrong.

“We want to take that burden away from our schools and make UKVI compliance as straightforward, stress-free and cost-effective as possible, so that our schools can focus on providing a fantastic international student experience.”

She added that, by being part of the BSA Group, the law firm offered “truly integrated” advice.

The BSA has also recently launched a due diligence service partnership with Verisio to carry out comprehensive financial and background checks on the source of fee revenue for independent schools recruiting international students.

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