Interview with Dr Lusine Navasardyan
Dr Navasardyan is a registered European lawyer who has been working in our business immigration department since 2015. Lusine has been a member of Bucharest Bar since 2005. In 2007 she started her own practice developing a solid client following and specialising in advising on the challenges faced by small and middle-sized businesses.
She has advised and guided many start-ups; her advice proving to be an invaluable asset in each of their success stories. Her expertise includes advising on company structures, contracts, compliance, due diligence and business immigration.Dr Navasardyan also has a wealth of experience in commercial litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.
Dr Navasardyan kindly agreed to sit down and talk to us about her life and career.
Why did you choose to go into the law?
I was born in Armenia, which at that time was part of the Soviet Union. No one could have foreseen that I would end up working as a lawyer in the UK, because when I was born we were essentially prisoners in the country of our birth. By the age of six I already knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in the Soviet Union, and miraculously (or so we believed as no one could have imagined it happening), by the time I was eight, communism fell apart.
I was involved in the anti-Soviet revolution from the age of eight, protesting with my parents out on the streets. When communism fell, I started to realise that law was the fabric of a civilised society and if I wanted to change things for my country and humanity in general, I could do so by becoming a lawyer.
Even at the age of eight I knew what a fantastic opportunity had been given to me. I suddenly had the freedom to be what I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do and I religiously believe in the power of law to change the status quo.
Where did you study law?
I studied law in Armenia in the most prestigious university at that time in the country. I could not have dreamed about studying outside of Armenia at the that time.
Then in my second year at university, due to some political developments in the country, it became very clear to me that I was still in a minority in Armenia. The soul-searching I undertook at that time made me realise that in a democracy, you cannot force people into accepting what you believe. It is one thing when there is a majority and a substantial minority, at least then you can negotiate because the difference between these two groups is too small. However, in situations where the majority is over 90%, the minority has no real say and cannot push for their own vision. The truth is, not only you cannot do this, but more importantly you should not.
Being in this small minority, I decided it would be best for me to leave the country, as I did not want to live by the rules of the many and felt I had no right to force my ideas on the others. I chose to go to Romania as I have Grandparents from there. That country became a true home to me and I practiced civil litigation in Romania for ten years.
The practice I had was very dynamic and varied, however after ten years you get to the point that it starts feeling routine. I wanted a change. I found that I loved moving from one culture to another and that this naturally expands the mind. Eventually, two years ago, I decided to come to the UK. This has not only offered me a new culture to explore, but also a new jurisdiction to learn and practice in.
What did you do your doctorate in?
I completed a thesis in Romania on guarantee schemes and insurance for Foreign investments under International Trade law. My PhD links a lot to the commercial Immigration work I am doing now, especially with Tier 1 entrepreneur and Investor Visa applicants.
My thesis was published as a book in Romania in 2010 and is still in print as it is a rare work in this area.
Is there a big cultural difference between Armenia and Romania?
Yes, there is a considerable difference. Through Romania I had an opening to the European culture. Armenia is a small nation and still very much under the influence of Russia, meaning it has a quite ‘closed off’ mentality now. However my Armenian background still very much defines me.
You are often described as OTS Solicitor’s European lawyer, what does that mean?
It means that I qualified under a different jurisdiction as the EU Treaty allows professionals to provide their services in other European countries. For regulated professions such as law, you need to register with the regulating body in the country you are working in, therefore, I am registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
How did you come to work at OTS Solicitors?
In 2013 I came to the UK to have a look and see if I liked it. I went to a function at the British Armenian Lawyers Association and met Teni and Oshin Shahiean (the founders of OTS Solicitors). We stayed in touch and later on they invited me to join the firm.
What sparked your interest in business immigration law?
Following Theresa May’s announcement that the UK is leaving the single market, do you think that British businesses will now struggle to attract the talent they need to grow, especially in the financial and tech sectors?
I think we need to look deeper than just the loss of highly skilled workers. Highly-skilled people are very important for any economy but it is not an intelligent move to only take high-skilled people on any Immigration program. I would hate to think what would happen to this country if there are no street cleaners here. And the UK is in a housing crisis; we cannot afford to deny construction firms access to low-skilled labour.
The other thing no one speaks about is the fact that people think immigrants are taking all the jobs when in fact, unEmployment is currently at a very low level. There are also a lot more jobs on offer than there are people registered for unEmployment. This means we cannot currently fill all the jobs available on the market.
When it comes to high-skilled workers, I do think that employers will struggle. The Conservative Party started us on the road to Brexit, winning the popular vote by stoking the fires of fear and distrust of immigrants and now they will have to follow through, which may bring the country to near collapse if they maintain this route.
However, I do believe that after five or six years, those in power will recognise their mistake and be forced to make it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need. But initially, I think we are in for a rough ride.
When we leave the EU, much of the EU Convention of Human Rights may be scrapped, especially given that the government wants to scrap the Human Rights Act. What will migrants do after Brexit? What if there are no Article 8 rights and no right of appeal? Can a country do this, as in offer no or very limited ways for a migrant to appeal a decision made by Immigration officials?
Yes, they can, in fact, it is clear that this is the direction we are heading into. In my opinion it is very dangerous thing to step away from the Human Rights Act. What I hope is that one day the British public will realise that the Human Rights Act is not about foreigners. Every single person in the country is protected by these rights.
However, law is a fascinating creature and I am sure the lawyers will come up with some mechanisms to preserve some of the rights we have now. One of the legal principles people may be able to rely on is the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation, which means that if a public body has made a promise to act in a certain way, they cannot then retract from that promise. I think this doctrine is going to become very utilized in the near future for all of us.
OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected Immigration law firms in London. By making an appointment with one of our Immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today. Our business immigration solicitors, Teni Shahiean, Oshin Shahiean, Nagesh Jain and Dr Lusine Navasardyan can assist you in obtaining a UK Sponsor Licence, Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Visa, EU permanent residence Cards and British Citizenship.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123.