Managers and senior executives of a business located overseas who wish to establish their first subsidiary, branch, or office in the UK have an exclusive visa option, falling under the business visa category.
Although it is a particular type of visa, it also involves several stipulations that should be strictly followed.
Understanding the special business visa
The special visa for managers and senior executives of a company overseas who wants to establish their first business office or branch in the UK is called the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa. This visa grants them entry into the country to set up their company’s subsidiary.
Size of the business
However, the foreign representative’s ownership of the business should not exceed 50 per cent. The UK government prohibits the establishment of the central company in the country. Likewise, the main business that is located outside the UK should be larger than the subsidiary or branch that will be created in the country.
According to the regulations, the business that will be established in the UK should be fresh, meaning it hasn’t made any business transactions and is not yet trading within the country.
Incidentally, journalists from overseas who will have a long-term assignment in the UK will also use the same type of visa.
Validity of visa
An overseas business representative visa is valid for three years, with the option for a two-year extension. If the foreign business representative stays in the UK for a total of five years, they are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain so that they can remain in the country longer.
The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa has several eligibility requirements, including English language skills, employment, financial capacity and documentation.
Every applicant must meet the English language requirements. The minimum score is A1 In English based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. An accredited test provider must administer the English language test, using the approved UKVI version.
Another option is when the representative attained a university-level qualification for a course conducted in English. The qualification should be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the UK. The UK NARIC will evaluate the eligibility.
Nationals from several countries that were former territories of Britain and where British English is an official language are exempt from the English language proficiency test.
The overseas business representative who needs the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa must satisfy these other requirements:
- Employed by the offshore company that will establish a branch in the UK
- Proven industry experience and knowledge to accomplish their business role in the country
- Must hold a senior position in their primary company outside the UK, preferably a senior executive or manager, but not own over 50 per cent of company shares
- The trip to the UK is to establish their company’s first branch or subsidiary in the UK
- Journalists with long-term assignments in the UK only need to pass the English test and submit proof that they are employed by an overseas broadcaster or news bureau.
An applicant for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa must submit the following documents together with their visa application:
- A current and valid passport and necessary travel documents
- Proof of financial capability to support themselves while in the UK
- Details of where they will reside while in the country
- Proof of passing the English language test
- Test result letter proving that the applicant does not have tuberculosis (if required)
UK immigration laws are complicated. Your best solution is to work with a professional immigration solicitor.
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