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Laura is a Partner in our Employment department. She has extensive experience in advising clients in relation to all of their "people" related needs . She specialises in advising on business immigration issues to help clients recruit and retain the best talent from across the world

Laura provides advice on all aspects of the UK’s immigration regime, including right to work compliance, sponsor licensing, Skilled Worker visas and Global Business Mobility visas. She also advises on the requirements for international business travellers inbound to the UK and globally mobile workforces so that clients can ensure they have access to key talent when and where they need it. She has a 100% success rate in relation to sponsor licence and visa applications. Her advice is commercial and pragmatic and ensures that her clients are able to achieve their strategic workforce goals.

Laura regularly advises on the immigration law compliance requirements and regularly assists clients with audits and resolving Home Office challenges/inspections. She also advises on the immigration law implications arising from corporate transactions such as share sales, TUPE transfers and intragroup corporate reorganisations.

Laura’s employment law background means she is able to navigate the complicated overlapping employment and immigration law issues that frequently arise, providing a holistic and sensitive approach to these issues. This has included advice on managing migrant workers, dealing with their employment documentation (such as specific clauses in their employment contracts and fee repayment agreements)  and resolving legal disputes such as discrimination, or claims surrounding an employee’s termination.

In relation to Laura’s employment law expertise, she advises employers and senior employees on all aspects of employment law including managing disciplinaries and grievances, defending/bringing employment tribunal disputes, reorganisations and restructures, redundancy exercises (of all sizes), employment contracts and handbooks (including bespoke drafting for senior staff) and the enforceability of post termination restrictions. Laura has a 100% successful track record in defending employment tribunal claims for her employer clients.

Laura’s expertise straddles a number of different sectors but she has particular experience in working with clients in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, technology, manufacturing, recruitment and care sectors.


Laura’s experience includes:

  • Advising a household name food manufacturer on all aspects of immigration law including sponsorship of key staff under the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility routes, sponsorship of graduates under the specific Graduate Trainee route and advising on the legal requirements relating to their globally mobile workforce (including business visitor visas, Schengen visas and Frontier Worker Permits). Laura also reviewed and advised on their policies and compliance and provided bespoke training to key personnel in relation to all of these issues.
  • Advising an international engineering business on the legal requirements under the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility visa rules to enable them to maximise opportunities for growth and to fill key skill gaps from their global workforce. This included advice to the employer as well as preparing and successfully submitting applications for their employees and all of their dependent family members.
  • Successfully advising a care provider on their sponsor licence application and the sponsorship of a large number of care workers.
  • Successfully advising a hospitality business on their sponsor licence application following revocation of their previous licence, including successfully passing a digital compliance audit from UK Visas & Immigration.
  • Successfully advising an international business that designs, produces and maintains industrial equipment on the particular legal issues associated with European national overseas contractors attending the UK to work on their short term projects, particularly in relation to the permitted business visitor activities. Laura also advised this business on the legal options for short term internships, specifically focussing on legal alternatives to employer sponsorship.
  • Advising businesses looking to expand into the UK on the different legal options including the Global Business Mobility Expansion Worker, Start Up/Innovator (under the rules in place at the time), along with Skilled Worker/Global Business Mobility.
  • Acting as the UK Visas & Immigration named Legal Representative and Level 1 user on the sponsor licence for national businesses in the care, food production, engineering and technology sectors.
  • Advising a multinational engineering business on all of their employment issues, including preparing new contracts of employment, post termination restrictions and managing day to day disputes.
  • Advising a recycling business on day to day employment issues and disputes, including dismissals and exits at all levels (including senior management), whistleblowing claims, allegations of discrimination (including disability discrimination, race discrimination and sex discrimination), reorganisations and redundancies and defending employment tribunal claims.
  • Advising recruitment businesses in relation to employee/worker/self-employed status and IR35 and defending employment tribunal claims arising from the same.
  • Laura is a contributor to legal publications in the field of immigration, including Practical Law and Lexis PSL
  • Laura was listed in Legal 500 Next Generation Partner


What people say

  • Laura and Arshia delivered a superb Sponsor Management Training workshop to UK Biobank’s HR team. The session was informative, had an appropriate amount of content to refresh our knowledge and understanding and has helped us to identify and manage risks to ensure our organisation remains compliant with UK legislation. The whole team enjoyed Laura and Arshia’s warm and engaging delivery style, their approach helped the team to learn, ask questions and feel more confident in dealing with complex issues. Their ability to convey complex information to their audience in an easy to understand format was super and I highly recommend their workshops.

    Caroline Munday, Director of People and Organisational Development, UK Biobank
  • Laura Darnley’s spotlight was excellent, being very informative and helpful in breaking down what options employers have when it comes to employing EU nationals and breaking down the differences between workers with settled/pre-settled status and those without.

    Legal 500

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