Expansion Worker Visa

Expansion Worker Visa

The UK Expansion Worker visa enables you to establish a new branch of an overseas business in the United Kingdom. Contact our legal experts today for more information about the UK Expansion Worker visa.

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UK Expansion Worker

An overseas business with no UK trading presence can sponsor senior managers or specialist workers under this route to expand their business in the UK. It replaces the Sole Representative provisions in the Representative of an Overseas Business route for new applicants and is significantly more restrictive than its predecessor.

The business must be linked to the sponsor by common ownership or control, and not have begun trading in the UK. Dependants by way of partners and children can qualify.

UK Expansion Worker Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker Visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years old,
  • You currently work for a business that shares common ownership or control with your UK sponsor,
  • You have worked outside the UK for the linked business or organisation for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless you are a high earner earning £73,900 per year or more,
  • You possess a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you intend to perform,
  • The work you intend to perform is genuine and hasn’t been created to merely facilitate your entry into the United Kingdom,
  • The position you intend to perform requires at least RQF Level 6,
  • You score 60 points on the Expansion Worker points matrix,
  • Your annual salary will meet or exceed £45,800 and the market rate for the position, and
  • You have sufficient funds to maintain yourself without recourse to public funds.

You must score 20 points by meeting sponsorship requirements. You must then score a further 40 points, made up of 20 points for your job being at the appropriate skill level and 20 points for your salary being at the required threshold.

Certificate of Sponsorship

Your organization’s sponsor must possess a valid sponsor licence. Your sponsor must be an A-rated organisation on the Home Office’s register of licenced sponsors, unless you were last granted permission as a UK Expansion Worker and are applying to continue working for the same sponsor as in your previous permission, or you are the Authorising Officer for the sponsor and your sponsor has a provisional rating on the Home Office’s register of licenced sponsors.

Your sponsoring employer must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to you. Your Certificate of Sponsorship must contain the necessary specified information. Namely:

  • Your full name,
  • Details of the job and salary offered by the Sponsor,
  • Details of any allowances, and PAYE details,
  • The job’s start date, which must be within three months of the date of application, and
  • Confirmation that you have worked for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 months, unless you are a high earner earning £73,900 per year or more.

It is important to note that normally Authorising Officers for the purposes of sponsorship must be UK-based. However, the Authorising Officer may be based overseas for the Expansion Worker route.

UK Expansion Worker Visa Overseas Work Requirement

If you are applying for a UK Expansion Worker Visa, you must have worked for the linked business or organisation for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless you are a high earner earning £73,900 per year or more,

The 12 months’ work outside the UK can be accumulated over a historical period if you have worked continuously for the linked business or organisation, in the UK or abroad, for at least 12 months prior to the date of application, and any breaks have only been for statutory maternity, paternity, parental or shared parental leave, statutory adoption leave, sick leave, or assisting in a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis with the agreement of the linked business or organisation.

If you earn £73,900 or more per year, you must be employed by a business or organisation that is linked to your UK sponsor by common ownership or control. However, you do not need to have been employed outside the UK for a specific length of time.

General Requirements for the Overseas Business

In the case of a UK Expansion Worker sponsor, the UK business must demonstrate that it intends to and is able to establish a new UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Applicants for a UK Expansion Worker sponsor licence must have a physical presence in the UK, not just a trading presence. This means that they should be able to provide evidence of a UK location or Companies House registration, but they should not yet be conducting business in the UK.

The parent company must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be a genuine commercial enterprise,
  • In general, it must have been trading overseas for at least three years,
  • It must continue to trade overseas,
  • The company’s HQ and principal place of business must remain outside the UK, and
  • The UK branch or subsidiary must operate in the same type of business activity as the overseas business.

Additionally, the foreign business must demonstrate to the Home Office that it can effectively expand into the United Kingdom.  It will be required to provide a credible expansion business plan and demonstrate its ability to finance its expansion plans.  The Home Office will typically expect the foreign enterprise to be a stable or expanding business that has undertaken expansion-related preparations.

Genuine Employment Requirement

To be granted a UK Expansion Worker Visa, you must prove to the Home Office that the position you are being sponsored for is genuine. Your application for a UK Expansion Worker Visa will be denied if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the job for which you are being sponsored does not exist, is fraudulent, or has been created primarily to allow you to apply for the visa.

The Home Office will also want to be satisfied that you have not entered into an arrangement whereby you will fill a temporary or permanent position with a third party who is not your sponsor or engage in contract work that entails performing an ongoing role or providing a service to a third party who is not your sponsor.

Switching into the UK Expansion Worker Visa Route

You may switch your status into the UK Expansion Worker Visa route from other routes unless your current leave to remain is as a, Visitor, Short-term Student, Parent of a Short-term Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or as a person with leave outside the Immigration Rules.

Duration of a UK Expansion Worker Visa

If your application for a UK Expansion Worker Visa is approved, you will be granted entry clearance for either one year after the start date of the job specified in your Certificate of Sponsorship, or the time specified in your Certificate of Sponsorship plus fourteen days, whichever is shorter.

If you wish to extend your stay in the United Kingdom, you can request to extend your visa for an additional 12 months.  With a UK Expansion Worker Visa, you will be able to reside in the country for up to two years.

You should note that if you have previously spent time in the UK on any of the Global Mobility Routes or the former Intra-company routes, you may not be able to remain in the UK for the full time period specified above on a UK Expansion Worker Visa.

Eligibility for Permanent Residence in the UK

The UK Expansion Worker Visa does not directly lead to permanent residency in the United Kingdom. However, once in the United Kingdom, you may be able to transfer to an immigration route that does lead to permanent residency, such as the Skilled Worker Visa category. You must meet the requirements of the UK immigration category into which you desire to extend.

Accompanying Dependents of UK Expansion Worker Visa Applicants

UK Expansion Worker Visa holders may be joined or accompanied by a spouse, civil partner or common-law partner and dependent children under the age of 18.

How We Can Help You

Our experienced immigration lawyers have a proven track record of success in helping businesses across a wide variety of industries and their employees with their visa applications.  Our team regularly works with organizations in Canada and the United States, assisting them with moving staff to the UK to assist with large projects and expand operations.

Sterling Immigration will communicate your business challenges persuasively through a professionally prepared business plan demonstrating how your business will benefit the UK economically. We will guide you through the copious requirements of the UK immigration rules and draft persuasive legal submissions in support of the application to ensure a successful outcome.

If your UK Expansion Worker visa has been refused, you may submit a fresh application or file an Administrative Review application if there are sufficient legal merits and the decision-maker has made a clear error.

For further information, please schedule a consultation.

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