Early this year around April 2022, the UK suspended a number of investment visas for foreign nationals finding a route to live and work in the UK. Those programmes have been replaced with alternatives visa programmes, including the Global Mobility Visa and the skilled Worker Visa. The former is for applicants to set up a UK company and the latter is a continuation of the former in the form of running the proposed UK business on a permanent basis.
We have summarised a number of key takeaways of the programmes below:
A Global Mobility Visa and A Skilled Worker Visa are the same types of visa but they belong to two stages under the visa reformed scheme set out by the Home Office this year. The applicant will be granted a visa called the Global Mobility Visa for the UK for a period of 2 years, in order to set up a UK Company. Once this procedure has been completed, and the client’s current Mobility Visa expires, then the client is able to extend the visa under the name of the Skilled Worker Visa.
The client will be able to obtain a 2-year visa to allow for the establishment and expansion of the UK branch.
The same migrant can within the 2 years switch to a skilled worker visa which is issued for up to 6 years.
The migrant can apply for permanent residence after 5 years on the skilled worker visa.
To facilitate an application for a UK expansion worker the overseas company must;
Have registered a UK entity (we can assist them with this and is included in our cost)
The migrant must have been employed by the overseas company for 12 months or be issued a salary of £73,900 when in the UK.
The Overseas company must apply for a expansion worker licence after which the migrant can apply for their expansion visa.
A business plan is required which is covered in our fees.
The migrant will need to hold personal savings of £1270 for 90 days.
They must do a TB test if from a TB listed country.
There is no English language requirement for the expansion worker however the migrant will need to obtain level B1 English if they wish to later switch to the Skilled worker route.
There are no restrictions on shareholding by the applicant or their family members as they previously were on the overseas representative.
As such the route for migrants will be;
UK Expansion worker issued for 12 months -> once inside the UK they will establish the company and either;
extend for a further 12 months, then switch to Skilled worker before the end of year 2 or
switch to the Skilled worker prior to the end of the first visa.
The Ultimate Guide to the Global Mobility Visa and then the Expansion Worker Visa. This was established in April 2022, the expansion worker visa is a direct replacement for the Overseas Representative Visa (which was also known as the Sole Representative of an overseas company visa). This new visa is designed to allow for senior employees and others to come and live in the United Kingdom in order to establish a UK branch of an overseas company.
Sinda Corporation has commenced advising applicants on this visa for our clients, both those who were initially interested in Sole Representative visas and those who are coming to Expansion Worker status fresh.
Is the UK Expansion Worker good value?
Yes, the initial fees allow the UK branch to commence without a prescribed minimum level of investment, unlike the UK innovator visa and is much less than equivalent programmes in the USA or Australia. The visa fees include free education for the applicant’s family from the start of the visa. The cost of UK healthcare is covered in the application fees and is not capped. The visa leads to a British Passport through a pathway that includes Skilled Worker applications.
How long will it take to obtain a UK Expansion Worker Visa?
You should put aside around 8 weeks to obtain the status from the point you engage us and pay your initial deposit, these timescales are subject to change, however.
What are the benefits of the UK expansion visa?
The UK Expansion Worker visa might seem complex but there are many key benefits to applying for this status. These benefits include a clear pathway to permanent residency and British Nationality for applicants and their families. Another benefit is that one company can hire more than one expansion worker. There is currently no quota limit for the visa and processing times are favorable compared with other jurisdictions such as the United States.
Is the Sole Representative Visa closed?
Yes, the Sole Representative closed on the 11th of April 2022. No new Sole Representative Visa applications can be made after that date. Those who have already applied for the visa before that date are unaffected, their applications will be considered normal. Those who have already been granted their Sole Representative Visas are unaffected, whether they have travelled to the UK or not. Most significantly, those who already have the Sole Representative Visa will keep their visa status until they obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. Westkin’s Sole Representative team continues to support those on this visa, especially where their current lawyers are not providing ongoing support.
What are the differences between the Sole Representative Visa and the Expansion Worker Visa?
The main differences are that an Expansion Worker does not need you to take an English Language Test before applying for the visa. In addition, more than one expansion worker can be hired per company. Also note that the journey to Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as permanent residency) in the UK is extended to 6 years, and therefore it will be 7 years before a British Passport is obtained.
There is also at least one more visa extension that is needed under the Expansion Worker status, to allow for transition from Expansion Worker to Skilled Worker, which then leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
What are the similarities between Sole Representative visa and Expansion Worker?
Both allow for a visa to be obtained in order to establish a branch in the UK of an overseas business. Both allow applicants to bring their husbands or wives as well as children under the age of 18. They both allow spouses to work in the UK, and children to attend UK schools. They both allow for unlimited use of the National Health Service free of charge, as included in the government application costs.
Do I need to take an English Language Test before I obtain an Expansion Worker visa?
No, in a welcome development, and English Language Test is not needed before the visa is applied for. Once the applicant has moved to the UK and has set up the overseas branch, and immersed himself in the language in the UK, they can take an English Language test to achieve level B1, either 12 or 24 months afterwards, depending on how quickly indefinite leave is wanted and how quickly the UK branch has progressed.
Who can apply for an Expansion Worker Visa?
Senior staff who intend to come to the UK to establish a UK branch of an overseas company. The worker must have been employed for 12 months by the overseas company. There is an exception to this, if they are a High Earner, they do not need to have spent any minimum period working for the company.
Can Dependents apply with the main applicant?
Yes, an applicant Expansion Worker can bring their spouse (husband or wife) and children under the age of 18 at the time of the application. Children who turn 18 after the application is granted will remain dependents of the main applicant until they obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. Once the children turn 16 however, there is additional evidence to prove they remain financially dependent on the main applicant.
What is Length of an Expansion Worker Visa?
An Expansion Worker is granted for an initial 12 months, which can be extended to 2 years. Those who want to remain in the UK and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain eventually can do so. The pathway the UK government has set out for this is a switch to the Skilled Worker visa.
How do I apply for an Expansion Worker Visa?
Requirements include proof of a UK footprint for the proposed branch in the UK, evidence of the overseas company’s trading presence in its home country, and evidence of the planned expansion in the UK.
What does a UK ‘footprint’ mean as a requirement of the Expansion Worker?
A UK footprint is defined as having a registered company in the UK or a business premises in the UK. It does not mean a UK trading history. It is important that the UK company must not have undertaken any active trading before the visa is granted. Sinda Corporation can guide on this issue and assist in company formation and registration as part of our overall visa preparation fee.
How do I show evidence of a planned expansion in the UK for the Expansion Worker?
Usually this done by the preparation a business plan with supporting evidence which will also help to show the genuineness of the expansion and application. Sinda Corporation support you with the preparation of the business plan as part of our project management of the application, but within appropriate ethical guidelines.
How much does a High Earner need to be paid under the Expansion Worker rules?
A high earner is defined as someone earning £73,900 per year in the UK. This does not need to be a pre-existing salary. The income needs to be earned going forward once the Expansion Worker Visa status is granted. As an alternative, those who are being promised a salary of under 73,900 per year will need to have worked for the overseas company for 12 months.
How much does an Expansion Worker need to be paid as a minimum?
If the applicant is not a High Earner, then they will need to be paid a minimum of £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for their job title. This is not an amount that needs to have been earned previously, rather it is the amount of income that is due to be paid once the visa is granted and the applicant starts work in the UK.
How much is the ‘going rate’ that someone needs to be paid for the Expansion Worker?
The going rate is set, by the job title, the applicant will hold. There are a list of job codes published by the UK government as being acceptable, these are at RQF Level 6. Sinda Corporation can explain to those seeking to apply for this visa what this is and how it works.
Does the Expansion Worker lead to settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain and a British Passport?
Yes, a pathway to the permanent residency in the UK and a British Passport is set in the terms of the Expansion Worker status as part of the wider Global Mobility provisions. The proposed journey to a British Passport can seem complex, but Sinda Corporation project manages each and every stage for you.
Do you need a sponsor licence to obtain an Expansion Worker visa?
Yes, as part of the application process, Sinda Corporation will apply for a sponsorship license for you. This will allow main applicants to sponsor themselves initially and then move to sponsor more migrant workers if needed by the company. This license will then be used to move the applicant to Skilled Worker status after 12 or 24 months.
In summary, the stages are:
Stage 1: GMB Expansion Worker Sponsor Licence (fees included)
Stage 2: GMB Expansion Worker visa (maximum 2 years fees included)
Apply to convert the ‘Provisional Licence’ to ‘A-rated licence’
Stage 3: Skilled Worker Tier added to GMB licence (8-12 weeks processing time)(in future after 2 yers)
Stage 4: Skilled Worker visa application(in future after 2 years)
Stage 5: Eligibility for ILR after 5 years. For the main applicant and dependents.( for future reference)
There is no specific requirement to apply for a British Passport, many applicants choose to stay with ILR with no ill effects.(for future reference)
Stage 6: British Nationality and Passport after an additional year for the main applicants and dependents. (For future reference)
- 1.We prepare the application package and apply for a license on behalf of the proposed UK company. This process generally takes about 3-4 weeks for the license to be approved by the Home Office.
- 2.The client then submits the application in the country he/she resides.
- 3.Once the application has been submitted, the UK visa entry clearance will be issued within 10-14 working days, depending on the Home Office’s workload.
- 4.The client then is approved a UK visa to set up a UK company.
This article should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to be relied upon in relation to any tax or legal advice. The information and opinions we provide do not address your particular requirements and are for informational purposes only. They do not constitute any form of legal advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances and is not intended to be relied upon by you in making any decisions that may arise from reliance on materials contained on our website or in this email.