UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility) Visa

In March 2022, the UK Home Office published its Statement of Changes to the UK Immigration Rules. One of the main focal points for business immigration was the ending of the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa route, which essentially closed on the 11th April 2022 – terrible news for existing overseas businesses wishing to open up a branch or subsidiary within the UK, with a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain for the chosen (Sole) Representative.

The Home Office however confirmed that a replacement will come under the new category entitled “Global Mobility” – the UK Expansion Worker visa.

The Global Mobility UK Expansion Worker visa is targeted at businesses outside the United Kingdom which seek to expand their presence from within the United Kingdom. It is worth highlighting that this visa covers businesses that have not started trading in the UK. Before considering an application, it should be noted that the overseas business will need to acquire a Sponsor Licence for the UK company they plan to set up in the UK.

There are a few key differences between the new Global Mobility UK Expansion Worker visa and the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, the main being the removal of any ownership, or shareholding restrictions.

It should be noted that applying for the new company’s Sponsor Licence is the most rigorous aspect of the process and you will need to clearly demonstrate extensive criteria:

• a UK ‘footprint’;
• an overseas trading presence;
• credible plans to expand to the UK and establish a trading presence within two years.

With our extensive suite of business consultancy and business plan services, we can assist you with meeting all of the above criteria.

Once you have obtained a sponsorship licence, you can apply for the visa. The UK Expansion Worker visa is valid for 1 year and can be extended for another year, during which you must establish your business in the UK. Before the end of the 2-year period, you can switch to a Skilled Worker visa. It should be noted that you can switch to a Skilled Worker visa as soon as you have established the business, this can be before the 2-year period.

If you obtain 5 years continuous residency on the Skilled Worker route, you will be eligible for settlement within the UK.

Updated – July 2022