Representatives of an Overseas Business – A promising visa route to Engage in Business in the UK avoiding the Points Based Scheme and sponsorship licenses
By Paul Turner – Senior Partner
We have recently advised a company who wanted to set up a business in the UK by employing UK nationals and then apply for a sponsorship license in order to recruit workers from abroad. The company were naturally concerned about the huge cost outlay to set up the business, and the difficulty to meet the points-based system rules and specific job types and skill levels. It was just one more example of people attempting to navigate through the UK’s complex system of immigration control and the difficult task to assimilate immigration rules and policies.
The rules for Representatives of an Overseas Business offer an excellent option for those wishing to engage in business in the UK from abroad, as the visa route is found within Part 5 of the Immigration Rules HC 395 and so is separate from the requirements for employers to obtain sponsorship licenses under the points based rules. This also means that the type of work need not be a particular skilled work or in a job shortage category. The Representatives of an overseas business route is therefore attractive.
The rules permit workers in an overseas business to transfer its trading to the UK with an established presence and to live and work in the UK on a visa that eventually leads to permanent residence.
In respect of non-media work, the rules provide that in order to be granted entry clearance to the UK, the burden of proof falls upon the applicant to meet a genuine test. This is a new test that has recently been added. It is therefore advisable to instruct our expert immigration solicitors to prepare these applications as the imposition of a genuine test permits entry clearance offices to search for reasons to reject what are otherwise genuine applications.
The sole representative of the business will be required on application to establish that he or she has been recruited and taken on as an employee outside the United Kingdom of a business which has, and will continue to have, its headquarters and principal place of business outside the United Kingdom.
The employee must also establish that he or she is a senior employee of an active and trading overseas business which has no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the United Kingdom for the purpose of representing that business in the United Kingdom by establishing and operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of it, where that branch or subsidiary will actively trade in the same type of business as that overseas business and is not being established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay person applying to enter the UK
Therefore the entry clearance officer will be examining the credibility of the intentions of the business who will be required to present a substantial amount of documentation and evidence of its operations and business plan to establish a business in the UK and prove that the intended employee is senior and capable to set up a UK branch of its business.
The rules continue that the employee to work in the UK must not have a majority stake or own or control the overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement; The rules also provide that employee must intend to work full-time as a representative of their overseas employer, will not engage in any other work and can meet the prescribed English Language Requirement.
This is, therefore, a viable route for businesses established outside the UK to set up a business presence in the UK and to promote migrant workers entry to the UK.
This visa route also enables employees of those working in the media, such as newspapers and broadcasting organisations who are being posted on a long term posting in the UK. if you would like more information on this route then please check under our immigration law pages of our website.
It is essential to ensure that these applications are properly prepared and submitted to avoid unwanted refusal decisions. At BHD we understand that wasted time is wasted money and we can advise you clearly on whether an application will meet the rules at a very early stage and deal with the application process for you.
Contact us today
For assistance and guidance with the above or if you would like to instruct one of our managed migration experts, contact us today for advice and assistance with your visa or leave to remain. I can be emailed directly at paul.turner@bhdsolicitors if you wish to arrange a consultation, or you can alternatively contact us via the blue contact us boxes above.
We are a firm specialising in immigration law with offices situated in Croydon and Central London and we are continuing to work throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.