Shareena joined GSC in December 2021, attached to the private client team working on immigration matters. Her immigration work stretches back several years and was inspired by her own experiences.
“When I was the president of the Malaysian Students Association [at the University of the West of England] a number of us were trying to figure out how to stay in the UK and how to find work. My route ‘in’ was to apply for an internship.”
Shareena’s experience enables her to empathise with private and corporate clients seeking visa advice, indefinite leave to remain, sponsor licences and more. Typically for a GSC team member, her personal approach is a vital element in her success.
“It makes a lot of difference when you build good relationships with your clients,” she says. “My approach is always to understand the long term aims. If a business is seeking to hire a migrant worker, understanding the overarching aim – whether this is a one-off for a family member of a broader business strategy – can help inform my actions.
“Similarly with investor visas for private immigration cases, for example, just because a client has the wealth to qualify, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is the quickest, most appropriate or most cost-effective route for them. Understanding the client is important, and that makes building trust vital. When a client trusts you, yours and their lives become so much easier because they know you have their best interests at heart.”
Despite a legal career that has so far centred squarely on immigration, Shareena knows that clients who need immigration support now will likely need wider advice soon. “I want to be a ‘full circle’ lawyer for my clients,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons I joined GSC – it has the platform and the outlook to support me in that ambition.”
Shareena’s entrepreneurial spirit is helping to ensure she’s well placed to support clients beyond her immediate sphere of legal expertise.
“I helped a friend launch their consultancy business,” she says. “I also created and ‘soft’ launched an activewear brand for city women. Those experiences gave me first-hand understanding of setting up and launching a company, of marketing and branding, of compliance, HR and ops management.
“For my clients, that means the advice I give isn’t purely from a legal perspective. I have lived experience of many of the challenges they will be facing, and that makes me better able to give the rounded, practical advice they need.”
Outside of her work, Shareena is a keen boulderer (a rock climber who doesn’t use ropes or other technical gear). Yoga and Pilates help keep her focused at the end of a busy day, and she enjoys mini-trips in Europe with her friends.
Shareena gained her law degree at the University of the West of England (UWE) and post graduate legal qualifications at Birkbeck College, University of London and UWE. During her first professional role at Westkin Associates, Shareena’s supervisor and mentor was GSC’s Hateem Ali.
A level 3 qualified OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) advisor since 2014, Shareena is now working to cross-qualify as an SRA regulator, with Hateem once more supervising her application.
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