The number of visas options for individuals to relocate to the UK for business has shrunk in recent years. The closing of the Entrepreneur, Investor and Sole Representative Visas has given some the impression that the UK is closed for new businesses. This is not correct however, the UK in many ways has made it easier for certain categories of persons to come to the UK for business.
Amongst the options now open are the Expansion Worker and the Innovator Visa (as well as the Skilled Worker Visa, given that senior employee applicants can own the UK company outright).
In this article, we will examine how the Expansion Worker has proven a highly attractive option for our clients to relocate to the UK.
It should be noted that the Expansion Worker is designed to allow foreign business persons to relocate to the UK to open a branch of a foreign company in the UK. The UK branch does not have to undertake exactly the same operations as the foreign company, but should be in the same sector and be connected.
Below are some of the clear examples in the design of the visa which our clients have found especially attractive.
Previous business visas have required individuals applying to show a high level of English, with speaking, writing, listening and reading all tested. The rules also required individuals to have an English qualification prior to applying for their visa. Now, the position is much more attractive, when an applicant applies for an Expansion Worker, they do not need to have an English Language qualification. Once they enter the UK, and immerse themselves in UK life, their English will improve and they have 2 years to prove their English skills, and then to take a test. (if they learn English earlier then even better as this will speed up when they can apply for permanent residency and a British Passport).
The Expansion Worker, does lead to British Nationality, despite what people might have heard. The way it works is fairly logical. An initial visa is granted to allow for the applicant and his family to enter the UK and take steps to UK set up the UK branch. Once the branch is up and running and the main applicant has learnt English, this visa can be converted into a long term visa which leads to permanent residency after 5 years and British Passports a year after that for the applicant and their family.
Unlike the previous business options such as Entrepreneur and Investor Visas, which required investments of 200,000 GBP and 1 Million GBP respectively, the Expansion Worker Visa does not have a minimum level of investment. This has made the visa very attractive to our clients, as they only need to show the level of investment required for their business to be viable in the UK. If the UK branch only requires a small office (or no office at all) and minimum number of staff, then very little investment needs to be shown.
In a welcome change, the visa allows for not just one individual from the foreign company to come to the UK to set up the branch. (this is why the sole representative visa had to be changed, as the representative no longer needed to the ‘sole’ individual working for the branch.)
As well allowing a team to set up the UK Branch, once it is trading it can then seek to sponsor foreign workers from abroad, including from the foreign company. There is no limit on these numbers so long as a genuine business case can be made for their relocation to the UK for their families.
In order to ensure the visa remains attractive to individuals, the Expansion Worker allows for the spouse / partner of the main applicant to relocate as well as any children under 18. These family members will also obtain permanent residency and British Nationality in line with the main applicant. The partner also has complete freedom to work, undertake business or do nothing without any restrictions.
As part of the application costs, NHS access is granted to all Expansion Worker applicants and their families. This is without restriction and includes treatment for pre-existing conditions.
Children under 18 can attend UK schools, both state schools which are free and fee-paying schools if this chosen. Once children turn 18 they can attend the UK University if they are offered a place without paying additional fees.
I would definitely recommend Westkin to anyone needing an immigration lawyer. I was told that my case of sole representative visa was highly unlikely to be granted. With the help of Westkin especially Kirstin, my whole process of visa preparation, application and result was finished successfully in 3 months. They were well informed, smart, helpful and kind.Ama Tabashi
Westkin can apply for all aspects of your visa from the initial application right up to the point of a British Passport, we support you on all parts of the journey. We also offer a money back guarantee once we review your case and offer fixed fees for all stages of your case.
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The number of visas options for individuals to relocate to the UK for business has shrunk in recent years…