Nichola Carter, Head of Immigration
The team of immigration law specialists at Carter Thomas is led by Nichola Carter, one of the firm’s founders. Nichola, who splits her time between our offices in London and Sheffield, has been providing immigration law advice to clients for two decades.
Consistently ranked as a leading immigration law solicitor by The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, Nichola is regularly sought out by education providers and businesses with complex issues relating to sponsor licences and illegal working. In addition, the bespoke service she offers to EEA nationals, including through her work with the EU Rights Clinic in Brussels, and high net worth clients seeking investor or entrepreneur status is highly regarded.
Career highlights include:
- Ensuring the team at Carter Thomas volunteer for the Ukrainian Advice Project during the 2022 conflict.
- Being named by Who’s Who Legal as a Global Elite commercial immigration lawyer.
- Forming a pro bono partnership between Carter Thomas and Here for Good in 2019 to provide essential legal advice to vulnerable EU nationals.
- Becoming a contributor for the renowned Free Movement organisation (2017 – present).
- Steering the firm to recognition as one of The Times Best Law Firms in 2019 and 2020.
- Designing and chairing ILPA’s first Sponsor Licence Law Conference in 2017 (and each year since then) and becoming an ILPA co-convenor in 2018.
- Being accepted to join the world renowned EU Rights Clinic in Brussels (2017 – present) to assist in providing legal advice on complex EU law arising from the UK’s decision to leave the EU;
- Being appointed to The Law Society Immigration Law Committee (2015 – present) and the consulting editorial board of LexisNexis’ PSL immigration service (2014 – present);
- Steering Carter Thomas to gain recognition by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 in firm’s first year, and in every year since then;
- Acting as lead partner on both the strategy that saw London Metropolitan University regain its sponsor licence status in 2013 and English UK achieve success in the High Court in R (on the application of English UK Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1726 (Admin);
- Designing the highly successful Tier 5 intern scheme for GTI in conjunction with the Home Office and BIS in 2010;
- Becoming a director of ILPA and being one of five immigration lawyers invited to liaise with the government in 2008 on the original plans for the Points Based System;
- Becoming a Trustee of UKLGIG and playing a significant role in the consultation process for and the drafting of the Civil Partnership Act 2004;
- Acting as lead immigration lawyer in R (on the application of B) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  ALL ER (D) 324, a case of significant benefit to non-EEA spouses who were reliant on the domestic violence provisions; and
- Securing UK government protection for victims of the Sierra Leone Civil War under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1995-1999).
Prior to establishing Carter Thomas, Nichola was an equity partner at UK top 100 law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP (formerly Penningtons LLP) where she headed the immigration law department.
Responsible for implementing the UKCISA sponsor helpline and creating links with various organisations including Study UK (now Independent HE) and English UK, Nichola also led London Metropolitan University’s defence against the revocation of its licence. She has since assisted numerous other universities, education providers and businesses that have had licences suspended.
Earlier in her career, Nichola was an immigration law partner at Gherson where she specialised in providing immigration law advice to ultra-high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs.
Nichola tweets from @carternichola
Head of Immigration
CHAMBERS & PARTNERS