Representative of an Overseas Business
The visa of a representative of an overseas company is one of the most promising and sought after.
The visa applicant must be the sole representative of a foreign company that plans to open a branch in the UK or a subsidiary that is wholly owned by the parent company. This category also applies to representatives of foreign media that have received a long-term appointment in the UK.
The applicant can apply only from abroad. The decision is made in one to three months. The visa is issued for three years, then extended for another two years. After five years you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, and a year later you can apply for British citizenship.
All applicants and their family members must pay an IHS fee.
It is necessary to pass a test for tuberculosis if the applicant is a resident of one of the countries from the list of the Home Office. The certificate with test results is valid for six months.
A sole representative visa holder is not entitled to be self-employed or to work for another employer.
– no investment required;
– requires a minimum level of English (Elementary – A1 Listening and Speaking). This can be demonstrated by passing one of the tests approved by the Home Office. You do not need to take the test if the applicant has a bachelor’s or master’s degree obtained in the UK or in one of the countries where the degree was taught in English. Also, passport holders from countries where English is the official language are exempt from testing;
– leads to permanent residence after five years, followed by obtaining British citizenship;
– you can bring family members with you who also have the right to receive indefinite leave to remain and citizenship after twelve months. The dependents have full right to work or study in the UK;
– there are no maintenance requirements: it is enough to show the availability of funds that will allow the applicant and family members to live in the UK without applying for benefits.
A visa applicant must meet the following requirements:
– to be an employee of a company outside the UK and hold a management position of the company-employer. In addition the main place of its business (mother company) must be located in outside the UK;
– have good experience and knowledge in their field of business;
– take a senior position in the company (but not be the main shareholder) and have the full authority to make decisions on behalf of the company;
– intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, for example, a registered subsidiary or subsidiary wholly owned by the parent company.
– a complete description of the activities of the parent company, including assets and financial statements as well as the distribution of shares for the previous year;
– an official letter confirming that a foreign company intends to create a subsidiary wholly owned by the parent company or to register a branch in the UK with the same activities as the parent company;
– a description of the job duties of the applicant, the employment contract and salary;
– an official letter confirming that the applicant is well aware of the activities of the company and is authorised to make operational decisions;
It is also necessary to provide documents proving that:
– the applicant is an employee of the company, not a sales agent (i.e. hired by the company to sell or distribute its products in the UK, but actually works for and provides the services of the company for a fee);
– the applicant was hired to work under a foreign company, occupies a management position, has the right to make decisions independently, as well as the right to establish a registered branch and manage its activities;
– the applicant will work for a full-time company for the duration of his stay in the UK and will not conduct any other activity;
– the applicant is not the main shareholder of the company.
We will be happy to give recommendations on the documents required by both the applicant and the employer and will check all the documents for compliance with the Immigration Rules.
The Sole Representative visa can be extended for another two years after the initial three years in the UK. For a successful extension, the applicant must show that he:
– still working for the same employer as during the initial visa application;
– supports the activities of an established branch in the UK;
– the main place of business of the employer is still outside the UK.
After five years in the UK, the Sole Representative of a foreign company can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, provided that he has continuously worked for the same company for the duration of five years.
We draw attention to the requirement for the days of absence in the UK to be qualified for Indefinite leave to Remain (ILR): both the sole representative visa holder and his family members must not be absent from the UK for more than 180 days each during any consecutive 12 months.