UK Expansion Worker Visa Solicitors In London
Established in April 2022, the expansion worker visa is a direct replacement for the Overseas Representative Visa (which was also known as the Sole Representative of an overseas company visa). This status is designed to allow for senior employees and others to come to and live in the United Kingdom in order to establish a UK branch of a company.
Westkin have commenced preparing these applications for clients, both those who were initially interested in Sole Representative visas and those who are coming to Expansion Worker status fresh.
How much does an expansion worker visa cost?
Westkin can prepare your complete application including project management, company registration, business plan and all dependents for a fee range of £5,000 -£8,000. The fee levels will depend on complexity of the case, amount of dependents and whether there has been previous refusals or problems in the UK immigration history. UK Government fees are in addition to this and can be quoted once we have spoken to you.
Is the UK Expansion Worker good value?
Yes, the initial fees allow the UK branch to commence without a minimum level of investment, unlike the UK innovator visa, and is much less than equivalent programmes in the USA or Australia. The visa fees include free education for the applicant’s family from the start of the visa. The cost of UK healthcare is covered in the application fees and is not capped. The visa leads to a British Passport through a pathway that includes Skilled Worker applications.
How do Westkin’s fees work?
Once you have had an initial call with us (and usually a detailed legal consultation without charge), we will inform you of our fixed fee to obtain the work, this will be in the above range and will be fixed. It will not all need to be paid at once, a payment plan can be put in place to ensure your cash flow is maintained and to ensure we receive our fees before the application is finally submitted. If you wish us to quote fees for the entire process to ensure we will support you until your family obtain British Passports we can do this.
How long will it take to obtain a UK Expansion Worker Visa?
You should put aside around 8 weeks to obtain the status from the point you engage us and pay your initial deposit, this timescales are subject to change however.
What are the benefits of the UK expansion visa?
The UK Expansion Worker visa might seem complex but there are many key benefits to applying for this status. These benefits include a clear pathway to permanent residency and British Nationality for applicants and their family. Another benefit is that one company can hire more than one expansion worker. There is currently no quota limit for the visa and processing times are favourable compared with other jurisdictions such as the United States.
Get in touch with our team today to find out if you are suitable for the UK Expansion worker visa by calling us on 0207 118 4546.
Is the Sole Representative Visa closed?
Yes, the Sole Representative closed on the 11th April 2022. No new Sole Representative Visa applications can be made after that date. Those who have already applied for the visa before that date are unaffected, their applications will be considered as normal. Those who have already be granted their Sole Representative Visas are unaffected, whether they have travelled to the UK or not. Most significantly, those who already have the Sole Representative Visa will keep their visa status until they obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. Westkin’s Sole Representative team continue to support those on this visa, especially where their current lawyers are not providing ongoing support.
What are the differences between the Sole Representative Visa and the Expansion Worker Visa?
The main differences are that an Expansion Worker does not need have to take an English Language Test before applying for the visa. In addition, more than one expansion worker can be hired per company. Also note that the journey to Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as permanent residency) in the UK is extended to 6 years, and therefore it will be 7 years before a British Passport is obtained. There is also at least one more visa extension that is needed under the Expansion Worker status, to allow for transition to Expansion Worker to Skilled Worker, which then leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
What are the similarities between Sole Representative visa and Expansion Worker?
Both allow for a visa to be obtained in order to establish a branch in the UK of an overseas business. Both allow applicants to bring their husbands or wives as well as children under the age of 18. They both allow spouses to work in the UK, and children to attend UK schools. They both allow for unlimited use of the National Health Service free of charge, as included in the application costs.
Do I need to take an English Language Test before I obtain an Expansion Worker visa?
No, in a welcome development, an English Language test is not needed before the visa is applied for. Once the applicant has moved to the UK and has set up the overseas branch, and immersed himself in the language in the UK, they can take an English Language 12 or 24 months afterwards depending on how quickly indefinite leave is wanted and how quickly the UK branch has progressed.
Who can apply for an Expansion Worker Visa?
It is for senior staff abroad to come to the UK to establish a UK branch of an overseas company. The worker must have been employed for 12 months by the overseas company. There is an exception to this, if they are a High Earner, they do not need to have spent a minimum period working for the company.
Can Dependents apply with the main applicant?
Yes, an applicant Expansion Worker can bring their spouse (husband or wife) and children under the age of 18 at the time of the application. Children who turn 18 after the application is granted will remain dependents of the main applicant until they obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. Once the children turn 16 however, there is additional evidence to prove they remain financially dependent on the main applicant.
What is Length of an Expansion Worker Visa?
An Expansion Worker is granted for an initial 12 months, which can be extended to 2 years. Those who want to remain in the UK and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain eventually can do so. The pathway the UK government has set out for this is a switch to the Skilled Worker visa.
How do I apply for an Expansion Worker Visa?
Requirements include proof of a UK footprint for the proposed branch in the UK, evidence of the overseas company’s trading presence in its home country, evidence of the planned expansion in the UK.
What does a UK ‘footprint’ mean as a requirement of the Expansion Worker?
A UK footprint is defined as having a registered company in the UK or a business premises in the UK. It does not mean a UK trading history. It is important that the UK company must not have undertaken any active trading before the visa is granted. Westkin can guide on this issue and assist in company formation and registration as part of our overall visa preparation fee.
How do I show evidence of a planned expansion in the UK for the Expansion Worker?
Usually this done by the preparation a business plan with supporting evidence which will also help to show the genuineness of the expansion and application. Westkin support you with the preparation of the business plan as part of our project management of the application, but within appropriate ethical guidelines.
How much does a High Earner need to be paid under the Expansion Worker rules?
A high earner is defined as someone earning £73,900 per year in the UK. This does not need to be a pre-existing salary. The income needs to be earned going forward once the Expansion Worker Visa status is granted. As an alternative, those who are being promised a salary of under 73,900 per year will need to have worked for the overseas company for 12 months.
How much does an Expansion Worker need to be paid as a minimum?
If the applicant is not a High Earner, then they will need to be paid a minimum of £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for their job title. This is not an amount that needs to have been earned previously, rather it is the amount of income that is due to be paid once the visa is granted and the applicant starts work in the UK.
How much is the ‘going rate’ that someone needs to be paid for the Expansion Worker?
The going rate is set, by the job title the applicant will hold. There are a list of job codes published by the UK government as being acceptable, these are at RQF Level 6. Westkin can explain to those seeking to apply for this visa what this is and how it works.
Does the Expansion Worker lead to settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain and a British Passport?
Yes, a pathway to the permanent residency in the UK and a British Passport is set in the terms of the Expansion Worker status as part of the wider Global Mobility provisions. The proposed journey to a British Passport can seem complex, but Westkin project manage each and every stage for you.
Do you need a sponsor licence to obtain an Expansion Worker visa?
Yes, as part of the application process, Westkin will apply for a sponsorship licence for you. This will allow main applicants to sponsor themselves initially and then move to sponsor more migrant workers if needed by the company. This licence will then be used to move the applicant to Skilled Worker status after 12 or 24 months.
In summary the stages are:
Stage 1: GMB Expansion Worker Sponsor Licence
Refer to Appendix A for documents required for the Expansion Worker Tier
Stage 2: GMB Expansion Worker visa (maximum 2 years)
Apply to convert the ‘Provisional Licence’ to ‘A-rated licence’
Stage 3: Skilled Worker Tier added to GMB licence (8-12 weeks processing time)
Refer to Appendix A for document required to support adding the Skilled Worker Tier
Stage 4: Skilled Worker visa application
They need to meet English language requirement as this would not have been required for GMB Expansion Worker visa
Stage 5: Eligibility for ILR after 5 years. For the main applicant and dependents.
There is no specific requirement to apply for a British Passport, many applicants choose to stay with ILR with no ill effects.
Stage 6: British Nationality and Passport after an additional year for the main applicants and dependents.
Our 6 quality promises highlight the commitment we make to you to ensure that we provide a world service at a fair price. To book an appointment today for a UK Expansion Worker Visa to setup an overseas branch in the UK contact our London immigration lawyers on 0207 118 4546 or via email@example.com, we look forward to working with you.
Amir Zaidi is the managing director of Westkin Associates. Amir specialises in immigration in all categories, with a focus on the needs of private clients, including High Net Worth Individuals, Business Leaders and international dignitaries. Aside from undertaking all aspects of immigration work, Amir can advise on all aspects of relocating to the United Kingdom and UK business generally.