Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
This visa category has become a popular option for companies and entrepreneurs with businesses abroad. The visa allows a representative of a foreign company to come to the UK and set up a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas business which is involved in the same type of business activity as the overseas business.
It is vital that the required criteria are met and that sufficient evidence is submitted of all of the requirements. Successful applicants are allowed to bring their dependants to the UK.
In the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules presented to Parliament in May 2020, the Secretary of State has made clear that she will significantly tighten the sole representative of an overseas business visa category from 4 June 2020. In fact, the changes in the Immigration Rules, mostly affect this category of business immigration applicants.
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Initial sole representative visa applications
What has changed as of 04 June 2020?
From 4 June 2020, in order to satisfy the requirements for a sole representative visa the overseas parent company needs to:
- Be an active and trading overseas business;
- Have, and continue to have, its headquarters and principal place of business outside the United Kingdom;
- Have no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK;
- Intend to establish and operate a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK:
- That branch or subsidiary will actively trade in the same type of business as the overseas business;
- That branch or subsidiary cannot be established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay of the sole representative; and
- Intend to maintain the centre of its operations overseas.
The changes introduce a new genuineness requirement which means that applicants will have to show that they genuinely:
- Have been recruited and taken on as an employee outside the United Kingdom, by the overseas parent company;
- Be an existing senior employee of the overseas business;
- Have the skills, experience and knowledge of the overseas business necessary to undertake the role of sole representative of the overseas business in the UK;
- Have full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business;
- Intend to be employed full-time as a representative of the overseas business;
- Not engage in business of his own or represent any other business’s interest in the United Kingdom;
- Not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, that overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement;
- Be competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level A1 (speaking and listening);
- Be able to maintain and accommodate him/herself and his/her dependents.
At OSBOURNE PINNER we offer and provide thorough guidance on the evidence that applicants must submit to show they satisfy the above requirements.
Representative of an Overseas Business - Visa Extension:
If you are with the same company and undertaking the same kind of work with your employer, then you may be able to extend your Representative of an Overseas Business visa for a further period of 2 years.
The extension application is subject to meeting all of the following requirements:
- you are employed full-time as the representative of the overseas business and have established and are in charge of its registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary
- the overseas business still has its headquarters and principal place of business outside of the United Kingdom
- you have generated business, principally with firms in the UK, on behalf of your employer since your last grant of leave
- you are still required for the employment in question and are in receipt of a salary
- you can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds.
From 4 June 2020, it is clarified that that branch or subsidiary must have been established in the UK in accordance with paragraph 144 of the Immigration Rules. This is to clarify that the branch or subsidiary cannot have been established overseas.
Representative of an Overseas Business - Settlement:
You may be eligible to apply for settlement as the Representative of an Overseas Business if you:
- have spent a continuous period of five years lawfully in the UK as a Representative of an Overseas Business and have met all of the requirements of the visa category throughout the 5-year period
- are still required for the employment in question.
Dependents of the Representative of an Overseas Business:
A Representative of an Overseas Business can bring family members to the UK.
A ‘dependent’ family member is:
- Your husband, wife or partner; or
- Your child aged under 18 years old.
The changes to the Immigration Rules significantly affect dependents introducing new requirement that the dependent partner cannot have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, that overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement.
This means in effect that a sole representative could not transfer ownership/control or shares to their partner accompanying them to the UK to meet the requirements. Nor could the majority shareholder instead have their partner make the application as a sole representative, while the majority shareholder accompanies their partner as their dependent.
Why use Osbourne Pinner for your immigration matter?
- We have an excellent approval rate on Representative of an Overseas Business visa applications.
- At Osbourne Pinner, we provide unsurpassed immigration legal services in an exceptionally professional and efficient manner.
- Many applicants face difficulties in understanding the application process and in providing the required documentation. We provide a highly personalised service and our experienced Immigration Solicitors can ‘hand-hold’ clients through the application process providing detailed guidance and support.