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Yuichi Sekine

Head of Business Immigration UK

About Me

I am head of our Business Immigration team in the UK, a member of Bird & Bird's International HR Services Group and a native speaker, reader and writer of Japanese.

I specialise in helping employers attract, retain and move their key talent across the world.

My extensive experience as a dual-qualified UK/US lawyer allows me to offer a unique blend of immigration strategy, compliance advice and bespoke solutions for clients hiring EU and non-EU nationals. My clients include FTSE 100 companies, SMEs and start-ups in the aerospace, pharma, finance, energy, retail, TMT and creative industries.

I specialise in all areas of business immigration, including Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility work visas, business visitors, indefinite leave to remain, European applications, legal right to work checks, audits, company reorganisations, and sponsor licence/compliance. Most of my work involves advising clients on cross-border projects.

Offering practical advice in the face of complex Home Office Rules, I help our clients to manage the risks associated with the inconsistent application of Home Office rules by case workers. With the prospect of changes for employers following Brexit, it is anticipated that clients will have more, and different rules to get to grips with.

Before I left California, my home of 29 years, for London in 2010, I spent a decade as a business litigator at a global business litigation firm in Los Angeles. Whilst at a major consultancy firm in London between 2010 and 2013, I drove revenue growth by expanding the immigration service offered to Japanese corporate clients. I also presented training sessions and immigration updates to new assignees, HR professionals and industry executives.

Before joining Bird & Bird, I worked as a solicitor at a top tier Chambers-ranked immigration firm in London. I also spent a year on full-time secondment at a British multinational investment bank and financial services company in London, advising key stakeholders on UK immigration law.
Cases
  • Advising on highly complex visa applications involving adult disabled dependants, overstayers and sole parental responsibility.
  • Advising companies on their expansion plans in Singapore, UK and the Nordics, combining our expertise in corporate, real estate, employment, immigration and tax.
  • Advising an international retail and consumer franchise based in Russia contemplating of moving their HQ to the UK or Netherlands. Our consultation involved an in-depth cross-border analysis of their talent and tax positions. We have received further instructions on obtaining a sole representative visa for their senior executive, setting up a corporate entity in the UK and applying for a sponsor licence to help establish their new global HQ in the UK.
  • Advising an international telecommunications company on their 'no-deal' Brexit contingency planning and talent strategy along with a deep analysis of their regulatory positions on Arms Regulation, Outsourcing and Supply Chain Management.
  • Conducting a full-scale mock audit for a fast-growing FinTech company. Following our extensive audit, we provided training for the HR team on legal right to work checks, advertising process and common pitfalls when dealing with Tier 2 visas. Our strategic approach has helped the client establish a consistent policy for immigration compliance. This has led to additional instructions for their new operations in France, Australia and the US.
  • Managing the mobility requirements for a global supply chain company transferring their employees to Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, UAE, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy and Mexico.
  • Advising on the immigration implications of a takeover in 10+ jurisdictions (i.e. Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, UAE and UK). Our proactive advice for each country enabled our client to take proactive measures during the due diligence and government approval process.
Education

Studied

  • Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, JD, Law
  • University of California, Davis, BA with Honors, International Relations

Admissions

  • Solicitors Regulation Authority (2015)
  • California State Bar (1997)
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Testimonials

'Yuichi Sekine is a true subject matter expert.'

2023 Chambers UK, Business Immigration

'I've had the pleasure of partnering with Yuichi Sekine. Yuichi provides an indispensable level of service and always puts the client first. No matter what the request is, I always feel in safe hands with Yuichi, and can trust his judgement and guidance on any situation. The firm's time management stands out the most. I don't think I've ever had to wait longer than a working day to receive a response and each response is thoughtful and contains all of the relevant information needed.'

2023 Legal 500, Business Immigration

'Efficient and timely responses. Always going above and beyond to support their client. Extremely personable. Experts in their fields and knowledgeable on all questions. Excellent service provided to all stakeholders within the business.'

2023 Legal 500, Business Immigration

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