The UK Expansion Worker Visa replaced the Sole Representative Visa in April 2022. The Expansion Worker Visa allow persons to come to the UK to set up a branch of an overseas business that is not yet trading in the UK.
How to qualify for the UK Expansion Worker Visa
To qualify to apply for the visa, you will have to fulfil the following criteria;
- Have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer;
- You must have worked for your employer from outside the UK. You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months outside the UK unless you earn more than £73,900 per annum. Or if you a Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company expanding to the UK.
- Your job must be on the list of eligible occupations; and
- Your employer must pay you the minimum eligible salary required for your specific job. The salary must be at least £42,400 per year, or the going rate for your specific job, whichever is higher.
There is thus specific eligibility for every job.
Applicants and their dependants also have to fulfil a maintenance requirement. Your Breytenbachs consultant will be able to advise on the amount you are required to show.
Length of Stay in the UK
A person can stay in the UK on the UK Expansion Worker Visa for whatever is the shorter of
- Twelve months after the start date of the job on the Certificate of Sponsorship; or
- The time on the Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days.
It is possible to extend your visa by 12 months. However, the maximum time you will be allowed to stay in the UK is two years.
Persons who have spent time in the UK on this or other visas might not be allowed to stay for as long. You will only be allowed to stay in the UK for up to five years in any six-year period if you have spent time on one of the following types of visas:
- Intra-company Graduate Trainee Visa
- Intra-company Transfer Visa
- Graduate Trainee Visa
- Secondment Worker Visa
- Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
- Service Supplier Visa
- UK Expansion Worker Visa
Switching to the UK Expansion Worker Visa
It is possible to apply to switch to the UK Expansion Worker Visa from within the UK under certain circumstances. Please speak to your Breytenbachs for advice if you want to switch to this visa category.
The following persons will NOT be allowed to switch from within the UK:
- Persons on a Visitor Visa;
- Short-term Student Visa holders;
- Parents of a Child Student Visa;
- Seasonal Worker Visa holders;
- Domestic Worker in private household visa holders;
- Persons on immigration bail; and
- Persons who have permission to stay outside the immigration rules.
Right of Work and Conditions of Stay
The holder of the Expansion Worker Visa will be allowed to do the following:
- Work for the sponsor as per the description in the Certificate of Sponsorship;
- Partake in voluntary work
The holder of the Expansion Worker Visa will NOT be allowed to do the following:
- Apply for public funds or a state pension.
- Change jobs unless the conditions of your visa are updated.
- Work in a second job
Partner and Dependants of the UK Expansion Worker Visa Holder
The partner and children of the UK Expansion Worker applicant can apply to join or stay in the UK as dependants.
If they are successful, they will receive a visa valid for the same period as the main visa applicant.
The Home Office define a dependant partner or child as anyone of the following:
- A husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner.
- Children under the age of 18 years old.
- Children over the age of 18 years old if they are currently in the UK as your dependant.
Immigration Health Surcharge
There is an Immigration Health Surcharge payable for the main applicants and dependants. This surcharge is payable as part of the visa application.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
Unfortunately, the UK Expansion Worker Visa is a temporary visa. Time spent in this visa category will not lead to qualifying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
How Breytenbachs can help you
Breytenbachs have a team of Immigration Consultants specialising in business visas, such as the UK Expansion Worker Visa. We assist both employers and employees with sponsor certificates and the visa application process. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.