ILPA Well-being Working Group

The ILPA Well-being Working Group was established in July 2018. The catalyst for its fruition was Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, in which ILPA organised a seminar titled ‘Well-being for Immigration Practitioners’. The collaborators for this seminar included LawCare, Claiming Space and Freedom from Torture. The seminar was well attended and through lively discussions it became evident that the practice of well-being for immigration practitioners is an area that needs attention.

The group meets quarterly and has, since its inception, successfully organised a series of training on vicarious trauma and self-care in collaboration with Claiming Space and Freedom from Torture, an inaugural Well-being Conference in occasion of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, and an interactive seminar on World Mental Health Day 2019.

Well-being Resources Hub: 

The Well-being Resources Hub, curated by this group, continues to grow and can be found here. We hope the Hub provides a valuable resource for ILPA’s Members, collating numerous guides, articles and relevant information.

Mission Statement

The ILPA Well-being working group want to;

(1) raise awareness of the importance of well-being in the professional and personal lives of immigration practitioners;

(2) cultivate a culture amongst immigration practitioners where well-being is discussed openly and not stigmatised;

(3) ensure that all immigration practitioners know where to access help if needed. We aim to do so by providing training, seminars and workshops addressing a variety of topics around the theme of well-being; and by providing a list of resources available to practitioners within and outside the immigration law sector.

Meet the Co-convenors

Emily Heinrich, Wesley Gryk LLP

Emily is a Senior Solicitor with Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP. Her caseload is a mix of family migration, settlement and nationality, as well as PBS applications and sponsorship compliance. She has been working within immigration law since 2009, trained at Wesley Gryk Solicitors and also spent five years focusing on corporate immigration, with Fragomen LLP. She has been involved with the Working Group since its inception and became a co-convenor in September 2019. Emily feels it is very beneficial to have ILPA, who those in the immigration world turn to for guidance and support, promoting the fundamental importance of well-being.

Deepa Chadha has been an Advice and Training Officer at UKCISA (the UK Council for International Student Affairs) for over thirteen years. Her role involves monitoring, analysing, and interpreting legislation and policy that impact international students, advising on the UK’s immigration law and policies as they relate to students, delivering training and representing relevant sector issues at meetings with the Home Office. Deepa has been a part of the ILPA wellbeing working group since its inauguration, has served as an ILPA wellbeing ambassador and has recently co-designed and run a six-month pilot ‘peer support scheme’ for international student advisers. She is very keen to help develop and promote practices which support ILPA members in doing the work they do.

Deepa Chadha, UKCISA

Aisha Choudhry, Bates Wells

Aisha is an Associate at Bates Wells. She primarily deals with tier 2 applications involving sponsor licences, mergers and acquisitions, strategy and compliance. She is also experienced with sole representative of overseas business applications.  Prior to Bates Wells, Aisha worked at EY. Aisha is passionate about well-being in the workplace and is a trained Mental Health First Aider. Aisha is a co-founder and co-convenor of the ILPA Well-being Working Group.

Kat Hacker has worked at the Helen Bamber Foundation since November 2017 previously as Head of Legal Protection, and in 2022 was made Director of Legal Protection & Client Services. In 2019/2020 she took a sabbatical to go travelling. She previously worked in a well-recognised legal aid firm for over eight years before moving to a private immigration practice prior to joining the Foundation. In July 2018, Kat co-founded the ILPA Well-being Working Group with Nath and Aisha with the aim of raising awareness within the sector of the need to improve support to those working in immigration and human rights. With over 15 years’ experience of working in the sector of immigration and human rights, Kat is passionate about assisting the marginalised and vulnerable in society, to afford them an opportunity to have their voice heard and their cases fought tenaciously in a system pitted against the individual.

Kat Hacker, Helen Bamber Foundation