Are you interested in setting up your overseas company in the UK?
As of April 11th 2022, there a five new visa routes under the board title of “Global Business Mobility”, designed for overseas businesses planning on setting up branches of their companies in the UK.
In this article, we will give a broad outline of one of the five new categories the “Expansion Worker Visa”, which has now replaced the “Overseas Representative Worker visa”.
Global Business Mobility Routes are now open for business!
The new Global Business Mobility categories of sponsored visas bring clarity to the immigration routes for businesses wishing to set up in Britain. There are new routes specifically designed for overseas businesses and workers. The “sole representative” route, up until April 11th, was the most popular route. It has now closed for new applicants but is still open for applicants wishing to extend existing visas on this route.
5 new “sponsored” business visa categories
Global business mobility visas are for non-UK companies seeking to establish a presence in, or transfer staff to, the UK for specific business purposes. The Home Office has simplified the business routes available for undertaking temporary assignments in the UK; making the options available easier to identify.
The five new routes correspond to different assignment types, as follows:
- Senior or Specialist Worker
- Graduate Trainee
- Service Supplier
- Secondment Worker
- UK Expansion Worker
“Sponsored'” – the explanation
The definition of sponsored visas means that the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration authority (UKVI) will audit and review the “potential incoming company” when they register their UK entity and apply to become an A-rated Home Office authorised sponsor (there are very FEW exceptions to this step), ahead of their team coming to the UK.
Then a Sponsorship Certificate will be granted to the “new” UK company so that they can SPONSOR the employees that will come to setup operations in the UK.
The UK Expansion Worker route
Is specifically for workers being assigned to the UK to undertake work related to a non-UK business’s expansion to the UK. The employees must be either a senior manager or a specialist employee.
In the past, the visa was approved for a single employee, hence the name “Sole Representative”. Under the new regulations this route has been expanded to enable a team of up to 5 employees to come to the UK.
The former category permitted the foreign company to research and develop slowly, this new route can only be used when the business is at a very early stage
- It must have a registered company UK
- A UK lease
- Not yet have begun trading in the UK
If the business is already trading in the UK, then all employees should apply through the other routes of the Global Business Mobility group, such as Senior or Specialist Worker or even the Skilled Worker routes.
Relevant Aspects of the Expansion Worker Visa
In addition to the standard requirements, age, status, etc.
- The employer must be classified as an A-rated Home Office Authorised Sponsor (see above)
- An applicant must be currently working for the sponsoring business
- Worked outside the UK for the sponsoring business for a cumulative period of at least 12 months. There are exceptions when the applicant is either:
- (i) applying as a high earner
- (ii) a Japanese national seeking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary of the sponsor group under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
- This route is a points-based system and the applicant must achieve 60 points
- Appropriate sponsorship provides 20 points
- job at an appropriate skill level provides 20 points
- A salary at the required level provides an additional 20 points.
- Government fees include the application fee, Immigration Health Charge, and other associated costs.
- A partner and dependent children can apply to come to the UK on this route.
- The length of the visa granted depends on the length of the relevant job, up to 1 year, or it can be extended to 2 years
- The maximum time you can stay in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa is 2 years. The idea is that after 2 years, you either return home, or you apply to switch under the Skilled worker visa
A route to settlement?
This new category “UK Expansion Worker” route is NOT a route to settlement. unlike the former category that led to settlement.
However, subject to satisfying the eligibility requirements, Global Business Mobility Visa holders may be able to apply from within the UK to switch into an alternative immigration route, which leads to settlement.
The main work and business routes for achieving settlement are likely to be: Skilled Worker Route, Scale-up Route, Start-up Route, and Innovator Route.
If your foreign company is interested in sending a team to help with setting up the UK operations our UK solicitors and OISC registered advisers will be happy to schedule a call with you and advise you through the process.
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