Photo of Dr Helena Wray

Dr Helena Wray

Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Research

Amory 139

Dr Helena Wray is Associate Professor in Migration Law. She has researched and published extensively, with a particular focus on legal issues in family migration. She is editor of Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality and has led or been involved in several research and consultancy projects. She led teams which provided expert evidence in two test cases heard in the Supreme Court, Ali and Bibi v SSHD on pre-entry language testing for spouses, and the key case of MM v SSHD on the onerous financial conditions to be met by the sponsors of migrant spouses and partners. In 2015, she was the lead author of a major report, commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner for England from Middlesex University and Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and launched in Parliament, on the impact of the financial requirements in the family migration rules on children.  In 2013, she gave written and oral evidence in the House of Commons at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration’s Enquiry into Family Migration.

Before coming to Exeter, Helena was an Associate Professor at Middlesex University where she developed migration law teaching for postgraduate and undergraduate students and was co-director of the Migration Law and Policy Research Unit, organising a number of conferences and workshops and working on several research and consultancy projects. She has a PhD from the University of London and is a former solicitor, having worked for some years in a City of London law firm. She was a founder member and, for many years, Chair of Trustees of Barnet Law Service, a law centre in the London Borough of Barnet.

Research interests

Helena is recognised as an international expert on the regulation of family migration. As well as her publications, consultancy work and engagement, she has been involved in several funded research projects. Between 2011 and 2013, she led a project comparing spousal migration policies across Europe and US, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. She is involved in several research networks, including Managing Citizenship, Security and Rights: Regulating Marriage Migration in Europe and North America, co-ordinated by University of Quebec at Montreal and funded by Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada. She is a country expert for the European Union Democracy Observatory on Citizenship and has authored or co-authored a number of responses to consultations on behalf of the Migration and Law Network.

Helena has supervised or is supervising PhD students researching on questions such as sexual orientation and refugee status, the legal rights of migrant domestic workers and the attitudes towards civil divorce of Bangladeshi women in the UK. She welcomes enquiries from students interested in pursuing doctoral studies in her areas of expertise.