CMS Cameron McKenna is launching an immigration practice in Hong Kong in response to a large increase in the number of professional immigrants to the UK.
The number of applications for work permits is set to increase to 105,000 this year from 80,000 in 1999.
Julia Onslow-Cole, head of Camerons' 14-strong immigration team, says: "The movement of an employee overseas, often with their families, is incredibly complicated and can require an enormous amount of time and expertise.
"Our clients increasingly demand a global service. The addition of a Far East capability complements the existing UK and US practice and ties in with our long-term strategy to develop an international immigration capability."
Hong Kong-based partner Janine Canham will head the new practice, which will be run from the firm's Hong Kong office. However, overall control will remain in London.
The service will cover the burgeoning China market and link up with a similar operation in Singapore.
Onslow-Cole hopes the award of a contract to handle all immigration matters for ING Barings in Hong Kong will help launch the new practice.
"The ING Barings contract was a huge boost and we hope to be able to build on that, as well as to take advantage of the new global corporate culture which is seeing much more short-term mobility among middle and senior management," she says.