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About J Dunlop & Co

James Wallace-Dunlop began his career in immigration law in 1987 when he worked for Simmonds & Simmonds Solicitors in the City of London. This work coincided with the ‘big bang’ reform of city regulations, which laid the foundations for London’s success over the last 3 decades.

The J Dunlop & Co immigration practice helps entrepreneurs & investors coming to the UK, and those who need to employ/sponsor expat staff. Our submissions on Tier 1 (Investor & Entrepreneur visas) and Tier 2 (Employer Sponsored skilled worker visas) policy have been quoted extensively in reports by the Migration Advisory Committee, which advises the UK government on immigration policy.




The focus on serving entrepreneurs is & investors is underpinned by James Wallace-Dunlop’s own experience as an entrepreneur and an investor. He has established several successful businesses, and is an active investor in unlisted private businesses in the UK and India.

Our approach is always to understand what a client wants, and to look for the solution that allows them to get the visa(s) that they need with the minimum divergence from that goal.

Writing by James Wallace-Dunlop on subjects other than immigration can be found at https://jameswallace-dunlop.ghost.io/

Our Fees

We typically begin with a consultation that may cost from £350/hr. After the initial consultation, we aim to agree a fixed fee wherever practical. We outline below some of the things that can determine the level of costs involved:

UK Skilled Worker Visa (was Tier 2) Sponsor Licence

Factors that affect costs for a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence cases include

  • Whether the application is for a single entity, or a group
  • Whether the company’s existing HR processes for preventing illegal working & tracking attendance/absences need to be improved before we can apply
  • Whether the sponsored staff will work on client projects

UK £2m Investor (Tier 1) visa

Factors that affect costs for Tier 1 Investor cases include

  • Whether the applicant already has a UK bank account
  • Any work needed to document the source of funds
  • Whether help is needed not only with the visa, but also ensuring the investment complies with the visa rules. In particular, where the investment will be in the investor’s own/family business, or other unlisted securities.
  • Whether the applicant is already in the UK and/or able to deal by zoom/teams. In person consultations are possible in most countries, but the cost of travel time makes meeting outside the UK expensive unless applicants are part of a group that share such costs.

UK Exceptional Talent (Tier 1) visa

The bar for this visa is deliberately set to be very high.  Weaker cases can involve vast amounts of time trying to establish that endorsement is warranted.  Costs will depend on

  • The extent to which the talent is already documented (high profile public awards etc)
  • The bona fides of those providing recommendations

Startup or Innovator 

If you are already known to, and working with, an endorsing body, the process need not be long or expensive.  If you are not, most of the work needed is likely to be about getting the endorsement.  We can help with endorsement, advice and preparation.  Factors determining cost include

  • The current state of the business
  • The details already created w.r.t. business plan

Tier 1(Entrepreneur) –  ILR applications

This route is closed to new applicants.  We are used to helping with ILR applications for Entrepreneurs.  When applying for ILR, we need to prove that the business and job creation has continued.  We are used to helping where people have sold or otherwise exited their original businesses, and rely on a new enterprise for the next application.