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What is a UK Expansion Worker visa?

It is a visa which allows overseas companies to send senior personnel to establish UK based operations under this scheme. It enables businesses to sponsor senior managers or specialist workers to be assigned to the UK for temporary periods to undertake work related to the expansion of the overseas business in the UK.

What is the difference between the UK Expansion Worker and the sole representative provision?

The UK Expansion Worker visa replaces the previous sole representative provisions. The route is now closed except for those with existing permission under that route. The UK Expansion Worker visa is one of the five sponsored routes under the Global Business Mobility visa reforming previous routes and introducing new provisions to help to facilitate economic growth of the UK post-Brexit.

What can UK Expansion Workers do?

  • You will be allowed to work in the UK in the job for which you have been sponsored as described in the Sponsorship Certificate and can be accompanied or joined by your spouse or partner and dependent children if they meet the requirements of dependants.
  • The leave to remain will be for two years in order to establish the business within the UK.
  • The initial visa is 12 months after the start date of the job on the Certificate of Sponsorship and if you want to stay longer you can extend the visa by an additional 12 months.
  • You can only stay in the UK for a maximum of five years in any six year period.

What you can and cannot do with a UK Expansion Workers visa

With a UK Expansion Worker visa you can work for your sponsor in the UK, study, bring your dependants, do voluntary work, travel and return to the UK. You cannot claim benefits, change your job unless you are eligible and update your visa, have a second job or apply to settle permanently.

Who is eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa?

The Applicant must be aged 18 and already been working for a linked overseas business on the date of application and have worked for the business for a prescribed minimum period.

Who can be a sponsor for UK Expansion Worker?

The employing organisation must be a branch or a wholly owned subsidiary of an established overseas business and unlike other sponsored work route the UK Expansion Worker route can only be used if the business has not yet begun trading in the UK. If a linked overseas employer is looking to send a senior or specialist employee to the UK on a temporary work assignment in a business that is already trading in the UK, they should instead apply for a senior specialist worker visa.

Is the UK Expansion Worker visa a point based system?

It is a point based system and the Applicant would be awarded a total of 60 points against three categories Sponsorship, Skills and Salary. To score 20 points for sponsorship the Applicant must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship as signed by a licensed sponsor and be sponsored for employment that is genuine to meet the overseas work requirement. The Applicant must be working for a linked overseas employer and have done so for at least 12 months unless one of the following exemptions apply:

  1. The Applicant is earning over £73,900 or is a Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company expanding in the UK or is an Australian national or permanent resident of Australia doing work for an Australian company that is expanding in the UK.
  2. To score 20 points for skill and salary the Applicant must have a sponsorship or eligible job role at above or appropriate minimum skill level with an annual salary of at least £48,500 or the going rate for that job whichever is higher.
  3. In additional to a TB Certificate for some countries the Applicant must also meet financial requirements. They must show that they have funds of at least £1,750 and had the money for 28 consecutive days before making the application.

What are the requirements for the sponsors under the UK Expansion Workers visa?

The employing organisation must be a branch or wholly subsidiary of an established overseas business and the business has not yet begun trading in the UK. If the business is already trading in the UK a different type of visa should be applied for. The sponsor must hold a valid licence for this category of worker and ensure that the employment on offer meets the relevant skill salary requirements and only then issue COS. In addition, when applying for a sponsor licence the sponsor must show what is known as a UK Footprint that means that they have to demonstrate with evidence the UK business premises or registration with Companies House. They must prove obvious trading presence together with credible plans to expand to the UK. They need to demonstrate that the overseas business has been actively trading for three years and intends and capable of establishing a new UK branch within a period of two years following the grant of a licence. The type of rating a sponsor would be given will depend on whether the authorising officer nominated in the sponsor licence applications is already based in the UK or is currently based overseas.

Who is the authorising officer?

It must be the most senior person in the business responsible for recruitment of migrant workers. If this person is already in the UK, the sponsor will be given an A rating and a full COS allocation up to a maximum of five. If the authorising officer is outside the UK, the sponsor will initially be given COS allocation of just one with a provisional licence rating. The licence will be valid for four years in common with other sponsored work routes, but the Home Office expects the overseas business to establish a full trading presence within two years. If the overseas business fails to establish a trading presence within the relevant timeframe the sponsor’s COS allocation on this route would be reduced to zero and they will be unable to sponsor any applications for new workers or extension applications from existing sponsored workers and even could have their licence revoked.

What documents you will need to apply for this visa?

You would need:

  1. You Certificate of Sponsorship reference number.
  2. Valid passport or other document showing your identify.
  3. Your job title and annual salary.
  4. Your job occupation code.
  5. The name of your employer and sponsor licence number.
  6. Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK namely bank statements.
  7. Proof of your relationship with your partner and dependants if they are applying at the same time with you.
  8. If applicable your TB test results from a listed country.
  9. Depending on your circumstances you might need evidence that you worked for your employer outside the UK and need a blank page in your passport for your visa if you need to give your biometric information at a visa Application Centre.
  10. After you apply, you might be asked to show that you have worked for your employer for 12 months. You would not need to show that if you are earning over £73,900 or one of the exceptions for Japanese and Australian nationals.

Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa, please contact Danielle or call on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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