UK Expansion Worker Visa – Global Business Mobility

The UK Expansion Worker Visa replaces the Representative of an Overseas Business route to allow senior or specialist employees to temporarily work in, and expand a business’s presence to the UK. Unlike its predecessor, a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed sponsor is required to permit overseas workers to enter the UK as an expansion worker.

Our solicitors are here to help and advise employers and employees through the UK Expansion Worker Visa route and to ensure that their applications are successful. Latitude Law has been providing immigration legal advice since 2007 and we are well versed in the immigration rules and the Home Office’s policies.

To speak to a solicitor about the UK Expansion Worker Visa route, including the requirements to make an application, contact Latitude Law today by calling either 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185 now. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.

What is the Global Business Mobility UK Expansion Worker Visa?

The Global Business Mobility (GBM) Visa for UK expansion workers is one of five business immigration routes for overseas companies to establish presence in the UK or transfer employees here. The new routes were opened to applicants on 11th April 2022.

The UK Expansion Worker Visa is for foreign workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK. Workers will either be senior management or specialist employees and be assigned to the UK to undertake work related to a business’s international expansion.

This Global Business Mobility route is a category under the UK’s point-based immigration system that replaces the Representative of an Overseas Business, or Sole Representative, Visa.

Requirements for UK expansion workers

To be eligible to apply for leave under the UK Expansion Workers route, applicants must:

  • Have worked for the sponsor group for at least 12 months, unless they are high earners or are Japanese nationals relying on the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  • Have a job code and receive at least £42,000 gross per annum or the appropriate annual salary for their role, whichever is greater
  • Be working in a genuine role by showing they have the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience to do the job
  • Provide proof that personnel have been appointed to manage the sponsor licence
  • Provide the history of immigration compliance by the sponsor
  • Prove that the company intends, and is able, to establish a new UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business within two years by providing an expansion plan
  • Prove that the company has a UK footprint, either by evidence of a UK premises for the business, or by showing that a business has been registered with Companies House
    Submit evidence to show that the overseas business has been active and trading for at least three years, and trading throughout the 12-month period immediately prior to a sponsor licence application

Successful applicants will be granted permission to enter for up to one year initially, and can extend their permission to remain for one further year. Two years is the maximum period that a UK Expansion Worker can stay in the UK. This is because UKVI expects businesses to have established a trading presence in the UK within two years.

Workers are able to stay longer in the UK if they meet the requirements to make a switch to either the Senior or Specialist Worker category of the GBM, or the Skilled Worker category. However, the organisation will need to add the relevant sponsor licence first.

How to prove a UK footprint

Unlike the other Global Business Mobility routes, a successful UK Expansion Worker application requires your business to not be actively trading in the UK, and it must be shown that you have a UK footprint. This can come in the following forms:

  • A lease agreement or documents showing you have purchased a property
  • Evidence that the business is registered with Companies House

If the company is a subsidiary of an overseas linked business, only the Companies House reference number will be required. If you don’t have a UK footprint, an application for a UK Expansion Worker Visa will be refused.

Why choose Latitude Law?

The process of sending overseas workers to the UK temporarily can be complex and tricky to navigate, and so our solicitors have helped many thought leaders, innovators and business people to work and establish their businesses in the UK. Our deep understanding of the law means you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to ensure your application is successful.

We are here to help with your immigration needs so you can achieve your business goals in the UK. Our service includes:

  • Advising on the appropriate type of sponsorship application
  • Assisting with your sponsor licence application
  • Helping to gather the appropriate supporting documents
  • Making sure you are meeting the relevant sponsor compliance duties
  • Advising on assigning Certificates of Sponsorship
  • Making applications for sponsor licence renewals

If you are looking to expand your business into the UK, get in touch with Latitude Law today for expert advice and representation.

FAQs about UK Expansion Worker Visas

How does the UK Expansion Worker Visa differ from the representative of an overseas business visa?

The main difference between the two immigration routes is the need for a CoS from a licensed sponsor in the UK under the UK Expansion Worker route. The sponsor will need to be a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business, and to succeed with an application, the business must not be trading in the UK.

Do I need a sponsor licence to permit UK expansion workers?

Due to the CoS requirement, companies will be required to hold a UK Expansion Worker Sponsor Licence, which will permit them to sponsor up to five UK expansion workers at any one time. Each worker will need to be paid at least £42,000 (or the going rate for their role, whichever is greater).

As a company will not have a trading presence in the UK, the evidence required for a sponsor licence application will differ. Evidence would need to include proof of a UK footprint, evidence of overseas trading presence, and evidence of planned UK expansion.

What will happen to current holders of a Sole Representative Visa?

If your business is already in the process of expanding to the UK and has a sole representative over here already, their visa will continue as normal and they will be able to extend their visa.

Does the UK Expansion Worker Visa lead to settlement in the UK?

There is no direct option for settlement from the UK Expansion Worker Visa route; however, there are solutions available in the form of switching visas. Our solicitors will be able to discuss the visa switch options available to expansion workers.

Can I bring my family with me on a UK Expansion Worker Visa?

The UK Expansion Worker route allows applicants to bring a dependent family member (spouse/partner or child under the age of 18) to the UK, provided they meet the relationship and financial requirements.

A spouse or partner needs to show proof of funds of £285 to be eligible for application, while dependent children under the age of 18 need £315, with any additional children needing £200 each.

Applications can be made at the same time as the primary visa holder, and visas will end on the same date as the holder of the UK Expansion Worker Visa.

Contact us

For advice on UK Expansion Worker Visas, including which route to take and how to make a successful application, contact Latitude Law today by calling 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and we will call you back.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 20/05/2022