Based in the City office, Anna is a highly experienced immigration lawyer advising employers, education institutions and private individuals in the areas of personal immigration (including family routes and human rights), Student (including Child Student) and Work (including Creative and Skilled Worker) visa routes and sponsorship.
Ranked as an 'Associate to Watch' by Chambers and Partners and recognised as a 'Key Lawyer' in The Legal 500, Anna’s unique experience working in house at a UKVI licensed student sponsor has helped her assist numerous institutions protect their sponsor licences and minimise compliance risks.
Anna is regarded as a subject matter expert in the field of student visa sponsorship, delivering webinars and training on student sponsor compliance for key stakeholders in the international student sector including UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) and the Independent School Bursar’s Association (ISBA).
Having personally participated and successfully passed UKVI sponsor compliance audits, Anna now draws on this experience to assist with sponsor licence applications and to conduct UKVI mock audits for schools, colleges, universities and employers. Anna also regularly provides bespoke training for clients on sponsor compliance so staff are better equipped to protect their employer’s valuable UKVI sponsor licence status.
Anna also has significant expertise in assisting individuals with applications outside the UK’s points-based immigration system, including asylum, human rights, judicial review and citizenship applications as well as advising EU nationals on their UK immigration status in a post Brexit UK.
What people say about Anna
"My partner and I have worked with Ms. Blackden over the past several months. The care she has taken with us is exceptional. We are impressed with her communication with us at every step of our process. It is our pleasure to recommend her to anyone for her services".
"Anna, thank you for your legal acumen and due diligence in navigating my visa process. It is entirely possibly my livelihood and those of others would have been jeopardised if not for your consistent advice and follow through. I was not the easiest of clients and your bedside manner along with your legal knowledge, patience and sometimes urgency made all the difference in the world".
"We value our relationship with you and your team at Doyle Clayton. If there were Oscars for Immigration Advice……."
Carole Heritage, Admissions Consultant, Bryanston School
"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 being exemplary".
Wendy Archibald, Deputy Head/Administration, Kensington Wade School
"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
Recent Personal Immigration Highlights include:
- Assisted a US national with a UK visa application on human rights and compassionate grounds. Anna’s client needed to remain in the UK beyond his 6 month visitor visa so that he could provide end of life care and support to his British partner who was terminally ill with a brain tumour.
- Assisted a 16 year old Ukranian national with a Child Student visa application, navigating visa restrictions further to the Russian invasion, so he could study A levels at a prestigious UK independent school on a full scholarship. More recently, Anna assisted this client switch to a Ukraine Extension Scheme visa. Anna's immigration advice enabled this student to flee war torn Odessa with lawful UK immigration permission and is now happily studying A levels in the UK and should benefit from home fees status for higher education in due course.
- Instructed by a French national applying to naturalise as a British Citizen with excessive UK absences as a result of overseas research trips for her Masters studies. By submitting substantial evidence and drafting persuasive representations, the citizenship application was successfully granted.
- Assisted an Indian national successfully obtain his first UK spouse visa. Due to their international careers, the married couple had never cohabited since their wedding 8 years previously. Anna helped the couple submit substantial supporting evidence and representations to demonstrate the couple remained in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
Recent Education Work Highlights Include:
- Anna is instructed on an ongoing basis by a number of independent schools to manage their Child Student and Student sponsor licences, including applying for Basic Compliance Assessments and CAS allocation renewal as well as answering day to day queries relating to right to study checks, assigning CAS, advising on Child Student and Student visa applications, care arrangements for u18’s, sponsored student record keeping, attendance monitoring and UKVI reporting.
- Advised a prestigious independent school on its reporting and sponsorship duties following its complete takeover of another independent preparatory school holding a student sponsor licence. On the related topic, Anna also recently delivered a webinar to ISBA (Independent School Bursars Association) members on ‘UKVI Sponsor Licences: Avoiding Pitfalls when Schools Merge'.
- Anna advises a number of independent school on the recruitment of non UK nationals on Skilled Worker Visas to fulfill key roles where they struggle to recruit from the UK resident labour market. Recent successful sponsored work route visas include for a housemistress role at a girls’ independent boarding school and a bilingual Mandarin teacher for an independent day school.
Webinars and Podcasts include:
- Enrolling International Students and Student Visa Sponsorship in Independent Schools
- Sponsoring Under 18's in the Child Student and Student visa routes | Webinar UKCISA & Doyle Clayton
Experience and Qualifications:
- Qualified as a Solicitor in March 2005
- Specialist in Immigration Law since 2006
- The Law Society Immigration and Asylum Accreditation (Senior Caseworker) held since 2006
Areas of expertise
- Personal Immigration advice
- Standard Visitor visa advice
- UK Family Visa advice
- Education Immigration advice
- Student Sponsor licence advice
- Student and Child Student Visas