Anna Blackden

Associate | London (Mayfair)

Anna Blackden Photo

Based in the Mayfair office, Anna works exclusively in immigration and specialises in the education sector.

Anna is a highly experienced immigration lawyer and advises employers, education institutions and individuals in the fields of immigration, human rights and Tier 2 and Tier 4 sponsor licensing.

Recommend by The Legal 500 for her education sector work, Anna previously worked at a UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor where her role included advising her employer on protecting its Tier 4 Sponsor licence and minimising compliance risks.

Having managed and successfully passed UK Home Office audits, Anna now draws on this experience to conduct mock audits for schools, colleges and universities. Her Tier 4 work also involves providing bespoke sponsor compliance training for clients. Most recently she was invited by UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) and the Association of Colleges to talk to their members on Tier 4 sponsor compliance.

Anna also has expertise in assisting individuals with applications outside the Points Based system, including asylum, human rights, judicial review and citizenship applications as well as advising EU nationals on the implications of Brexit and applying under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Examples of recent education sector work include -

  • Assisting an independent boarding school successfully sponsor a South African national as their new housemistress, a key role that the school had struggled to recruit for.   
  • Conducting Mock Home Office Compliance Audits for an independent school holding a Tier 4 (Child) licence as well as a University holding a Tier 4 (General) licence. 
  • Being instructed by a French national with excessive UK absences as a result of overseas research trips for her Masters studies applying to naturalise as a British Citizen. By submitting substantial evidence and drafting persuasive representations, the application was successfully granted.

Feedback received from education sector clients includes -

“It was a pleasure to have you on Friday [Anna] and I think everyone found the [Tier 4 compliance] session very helpful. I'm sure we will be in touch should we require any of your services in the future.” 

 Suzanna Liu, Admissions and Visa Officer, Ashbourne College

“Anna ensured we remained compliant with our Tier 4 Sponsor responsibilities and therefore protect our Tier 4 Sponsor licence. Her personal immigration experience added a huge amount of value.”

Sarah Gore, International Business Manager, Edinburgh College 

“We have already started to address your detailed recommendations [from the Tier 4 Mock Audit]. It was a sharp reminder to the rigors of Tier 4 compliance and a huge help to us.” 

Sam Swann, International Business Development Manager, Exeter College

Anna Blackden, from Doyle Clayton, was extremely helpful with her advice and assistance in applying for our Tier 4 Visa Licence. The mock audit that she went through with us was particularly useful in preparing for the visit that we subsequently had from the Home Office. I have found Anna to be professional but friendly in her approach, and she left no stone unturned; her attention to detail was exemplary.”  

Wendy Archibald, Deputy Head/Administration, Kensington Wade School

“On behalf of the School I wanted to thank you so much for all your support in obtaining the visa for our new staff member. It turned out to be such a complicated process and we really could not have done it without you! Your patience, attention to detail and persistence managed to get us there in the end - and you really did help us every step of the way.”

Kate Tuttle, HR Director, Downe House School

Examples of recent business immigration work include -

  • Successfully assisting a prestigious hotel group to apply for a sponsor licence and thereafter hire a Filipino national as their Asian Specialist chef. This involved satisfying the strict Shortage Occupation criteria for chefs and submitting substantial supporting evidence to the UK Home Office. 
  • Acting for a well known digital/casino gaming company, Anna assisted a senior US employee transfer to the UK under the Tier 2 route, with his unmarried partner with whom he had not cohabited. Despite the PBS dependant rules providing that unmarried partners must have cohabited for two years, her argument highlighting human rights grounds and the couple’s extenuating circumstances resulted in a successful visa application.

Feedback received from business immigration clients includes -

“The Grove is a 5 star resort hotel located in Hertfordshire… we commenced an international recruitment campaign to appoint a specialist chef for the Asian section. Novices in the field of international recruitment, we worked closely with Liz Timmins and Anna Blackden who expertly guided us through unchartered territory, successfully taking us through the process of applying for a sponsor licence and assigning that licence to the successful candidate who started in September on a 3 year Tier 2 visa. I am truly grateful for their specialist knowledge of immigration law, their patience in explaining complex details with such simplicity and, above all, inspiring us with the confidence that our challenge was indeed possible (although there were no guarantees).“ 

Danielle Michaels, Human Resources Manager, Ralph Trustees Limited (The Grove Hotel)

Examples of recent work for individuals include -

  • Advising a Turkish national currently in the UK on a Tier 2 sponsored work visa regarding political asylum and switching from her current sponsored work route. 
  • Advising a Canadian national who had inadvertently overstayed her UK ancestry visa as a result of extenuating circumstances and successfully achieving a grant of leave to remain under the 5 year Family route.
    Assisting an Indian national successfully obtain his first UK spouse visa. Due to their international careers, the married couple had not cohabited since their marriage eight years previously. Substantial supporting evidence was submitted demonstrating the couple had and remained in a genuine and subsisting relationship.

Feedback received from individuals includes -

“Doyle Clayton has represented me in applications for Permanent Residence, citizenship, and other immigration issues over the past two years. I have been perpetually awed by the quality of service. Responsiveness, specialist knowledge, and billing transparency were just a few of the virtues demonstrated by my solicitor, Anna Blackden over the course of our professional relationship.“  

Nathalie Demirdjian

“Anna Blackden assisted us with two applications - for indefinite leave to remain for myself and for spouse of a settled person for my husband. We had an excellent experience working with Anna and Doyle Clayton. She was knowledgeable and very supportive which made both application processes much easier for us. She was also very patient and made a huge effort to explain what was happening simply making things pretty much hassle-free.”

Neha Batura and Prithviraj Banerjee

To meet some of Anna's Education team colleagues please click here and to meet some of her Immigration team colleagues here.

Experience and qualifications 

  • Qualified in March 2005 
  • Specialist in Immigration Law since 2006
  • Immigration and Asylum Accreditation since 2006, Law Society of England and Wales

Some of our immigration services you may be interested in -

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