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BSA & BAISIS conference: Visa and immigration

  • Date: October 10, 2023
  • Time: 09:30 – 16:00
  • Cost: Full Member – £215, Additional Member Fee – £110,  Affiliate Member – £325, Additional Affiliate Member Fee – £140  Non-member – £430
  • Audience: Admissions, Marketing, Deputy Head, Head of Boarding, Head, Bursar, Education Guardians, Agents.
  • Platform: Zoom (online) – webinar

Content overview:

For schools who sponsor international students, keeping up to date with an ever-changing immigration law landscape whilst navigating complex sponsor licence requirements can be burdensome. Our autumn BSA and BAISIS Visa and Immigration conference brings delegates the latest in visas and immigration relevant to the education sector, direct from the experts.

Addressing key issues from our members including changes to the Student and Child Student visa route, Student Sponsor Licence best practice, key CAS considerations and what to expect from Home Office (UKVI) inspections, select sessions combine to provide a holistic, sector-specific update. Delegates will hear from a host of experts and practitioners to develop wider knowledge, understanding and best practice around this critical area of compliance.

BSA and BAISIS will facilitate questions directly from members to our experts, including Home Office representatives, throughout the day and encourage delegates to come prepared with questions for our panels.

Training topics will include:

  • Key sector issues relating to visas and immigration
  • International recruitment trends and data analysis
  • Home Office (UKVI) inspections: what to expect
  • Child Student / Student visa route updates
  • Student Sponsor policy developments
  • Sponsor licence compliance trends and duties
  • Key CAS allocation and BCA considerations
  • Reporting, monitoring and record-keeping responsibilities
  • China market survey results 2023.

Learning outcomes:

  • Increased awareness of the visa process for schools as sponsor licence holders
  • Increased understanding of the CAS application process
  • Increased understanding of the wider visa and immigration process, timelines and services.




09:30 – 10:15


  • Kate Hollyer, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, BSA Group
  • Bethan Waddington, Director, BAISIS

International recruitment trends and updates to the UK Government’s International Education Strategy

  • Chair: Bethan Waddington, Director, BAISIS
  • Speaker:
    • Thea Wiltshire, EdTech, Schools, and Early Years Specialist, Department for Business and Trade

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 11:15

China market survey results 2023

In its third year, the BSA Group team and Connexcel will present the results of the Chinese market survey, providing key strategic direction for
school recruitment in the area.   

  • Chair: Caroline Nixon, International and Membership Director, BSA Group
  • Panel:
    • John Zhang, Managing Director, Connexcel
    • Peter Wells, Executive Consultant, Connexcel

11:15 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 12:30

Home Office inspections: what to expect

This session will be focused on helping schools prepare for impending Home Office inspections by hearing from those with recent, first-hand

  • Chair: Kate Hollyer, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, BSA Group
  • Speaker:
    • Nick Tappin, Director of Admissions and Marketing, King’s Ely
    • Andrew Berrow, Senior Master, Blundell’s School
    • Mark Taylor, Legal consultant, BSAG Legal Services

12:30 – 13:15 LUNCH

13:15 – 14:15

Home Office: Policy and Operations update

Hear from representatives of the Home Office Study Operations and Student Policy departments about the Child Student / Student visa routes
and future developments, plus pose your questions to the team – an unmissable session!

  • Chair: Kate Hollyer, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, BSA Group
  • Panel:
    • Paul Cooper, Operations Manager, Student Sponsor Assessment Unit, UKVI
    • Jack Rose, Study Service Manager, Home Office
    • Policy department representative, Home Office

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 15:30

Legal update: UKVI compliance and Educational Oversight

An overview of compliance trends and areas of focus from leading immigration expert and Chair of Immigration Law Practitioners’
Association (ILPA).

  • Chair: Beth Waddington, Director, BAISIS
  • Panel:
    •  Hazar El-Chamaa, Immigration Partner, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP and Chair, ILPA

15:30 – 16:00

Immigration round-up: what we’ve learned and Q&A

Put your questions to the legal panel and hear a round-up of the day.

  • Chair: Beth Waddington, Director, BAISIS
  • Panel:
    • Kate Hollyer, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, BSA Group
    • Hazar El-Chamaa, Immigration Partner, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP and Chair, ILPA




Kate Hollyer, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, BSA Group

Kate is Legal Director of BSA Group and Director of BSA Legal Services Ltd. As a qualified solicitor with more than 10 years’ experience advising clients on UK immigration law, Kate assists members with all immigration and safeguarding legal matters. Prior to joining BSA in 2022 Kate was Partner and Head of Department at a leading full-service UK law firm. Having resided in state, preparatory and senior school boarding houses since 2014 with her Housemaster husband, Kate has a unique perspective of boarding life.

Bethan Waddington, Director, BAISIS

Bethan Waddington joined the BSA team as Training Manager in September 2017. Bethan has worked in two independent boarding schools in the UK and Switzerland, the latter as Housemistress to 36 pupils. Following her time in Switzerland, she was a Pastoral Manager for an inner-city state academy before working in the charity sector for Debrett’s running the ‘Debrett’s Foundation’ training programme.

In her role, Bethan plans and manages all Day Seminars, Conferences, INSET and Consultancy, as well as being Director of BAISIS. She believes boarding can be a positive force for young people and in order to fully support their needs staff can never learn too much. As such she is passionate about the CPD BSA delivers to our pastoral communities in the UK and worldwide.

Caroline Nixon, International and Membership Director, BSA Group

Caroline has worked in international education for over 30 years.  She is International & Membership Director at Boarding Schools’ Association, and Director of Caroline Nixon Education Ltd., as well as a member of the advisory group to the British Government’s All Party Parliamentary Group for international students.

Caroline set up and runs the BSA educational agent certification scheme and is involved with the BSA’s accreditation of international schools.  Her background is in international education marketing and she also set up and ran a leading international school in the UK.  She has helped several UK schools to establish new overseas branches, advised an international school opening in the UK, set up a guardianship agency for an educational group, and advises schools on international marketing and academic and pastoral provision for their international students.

Peter Wells, Executive Consultant, Connexcel

Peter trained at Exeter University and has spent much of his teaching career in boarding education, both at prep and senior level.

He was a housemaster at Dulwich College and headmaster at Junior King’s, Canterbury from 2000 -2017. Since retirement he has been on the governing board of two HMC schools and maintains a keen interest in schools through consultancy work with Connexcel.

Now living in North Dorset, Peter has recently trained as a Licensed Lay Minister within the Salisbury Diocese.

Peter is married to Vivienne who is also a school governor and part of the Connexcel team.

John Zhang, Managing Director, Connexcel

John Zhang has lived in the UK for 20 years. Graduating from the University of Leeds with a master’s degree in Finance, he was employed by two FTSE 100 international companies as a procurement director before starting his own business. Since establishing Connexcel, he has devoted himself to helping elite private schools in China and the UK form partnerships through sister schools and cultural exchanges. John has supported schools in China with setting up new curriculums in collaboration with UK partners and training senior education personnel. He also acts a consultant for UK schools seeking advice on expanding their brand within the China. Through his consultancy work, John has built an extensive network within the Chinese Education Bureau along with schools in the UK and China, always taking the needs of each school to best allocate resources to support them.

Nick Tappin, Director of Admissions and Marketing, King’s Ely

With a background in marketing and client services (brand design), Nick transferred his skills to the education sector twelve years ago in a bid to enjoy greater job satisfaction and long school holidays. Never has he been more happy at work. Never has he worked harder!  Having fulfilled the roles of Bursar and Director of Marketing and Admissions at a Surrey Prep School, he returned to the county of his university education and arrived at King’s Ely two years ago ready to tackle the challenges of international recruitment for the first time.   With two hundred international students, hailing from thirty five different nationalities, the learning curve has been steep but rewarding, with pupil numbers at King’s Ely at an all-time high.  With only one full recruitment year under his belt, Nick was delighted to receive news of the visit of the UKVI Auditors.  He is equally delighted to share thoughts on the school’s experience at the BSA webinar.

Paul Cooper, Operations Manager, Student Sponsor Assessment Unit, UKVI

Jack Rose, Study Service Manager, Home Office

Hazar El-Chamaa, Immigration Partner, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP and Chair, ILPA

azar has over eight years’ immigration experience and has been advising education providers on all aspects of compliance, restructuring and business strategies since the inception of Tier 4. Her experience also includes advising on appeals, judicial review applications and challenges to Home Office decisions which affect sponsors. Hazar is a frequent speaker on immigration law and gives training on sponsor compliance and prevention of illegal working. She is an elected executive committee member of ILPA (Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association) and has been recommended by the Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession. Penningtons is recognised as a key link between the Home Office and educational institutions in the process of implementing and working through PBS reform.

Thea Wiltshire, EdTech, Schools, and Early Years Specialist, Department for Business and Trade

Thea Wiltshire is the EdTech, Schools and Early Years Specialist at the Department for Business and Trade. Thea has been working in the education sector for over eight years focusing on EdTech across schools, Higher Education, and workplace upskilling with experience including partnership development, curriculum development, and educational program planning in the UK, USA, North Africa, and the Middle East. Previously, Thea worked as an independent Schools Consultant, helping families and students from overseas navigate the UK school system. Personally, she brings a desire to champion educational innovation and a commitment to amplifying the excellence of the UK educational offering.