Business Visas Overview
If you are planning to set up a business or expand your existing business to the UK, you can do so by creating a branch, a wholly-owned subsidiary or an independent UK business with your chosen brand name.
Entering a new market can be risky and complicated if relevant regulations are not studied diligently. From tax to international trade regulations, it is important to understand the relevant dynamics affecting your business activities.
If you are planning to relocate to the UK or send one or more employees to your UK office, you will need to plan the immigration aspect of this initiative. We recommend an immigration strategy to be determined even before establishing this UK branch or the new business to ensure that your structure and entry strategy are fit for the purpose.
We recommend you seek expert advice from a professional and regulated immigration adviser to establish the right immigration strategy for you and your employees.
In our consultation sessions, we examine your business plans and life goals, looking at all the variables relating to your career and circumstances to decide the best routes.
Several categories can enable you to relocate to the UK as a businessperson or send one or more of your employees to take this responsibility.
1- Self-Sponsorship Route
Self-sponsorship is not a defined visa category in immigration rules. It is a commonly used definition to refer to an immigration solution for the owners and shareholders of the businesses to be sponsored under the company’s skilled worker licence. If the business owner or shareholder is eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker category, the company can allocate a certificate of sponsorship and sponsor these shareholders. After obtaining the Skilled Worker Visa, the owner of the shareholder can come to the UK to work for the business in which they hold shares.
2- UK Expansion Worker
The UK Expansion Worker route is a newly introduced category for foreign businesses aiming to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. It allows eligible businesses to sponsor senior managers or specialised workers to come to the UK temporarily to assist with the expansion process. This route is applicable when the business has not yet commenced trading in the UK. If the business is already operational in the UK, alternative licensing routes like the Senior or Specialist Worker or Skilled Worker route should be considered. UK Expansion Worker visa can be extended up to 2 years and does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
3- Global Talent Visa
Global Talent Visa allows people from specialist fields to come to the UK. As in the UK Innovator Founder Visa, the Global Talent Visa also requires you to apply for an endorsement. In the endorsement stage the applicant is expected to present their references, proof of work and career achievement to prove their “leadership” or “potential leadership” in their field. The specialists from Academia and research, Art and culture and Digital Technology fields will apply to the designated endorser in their field. Global Talent Visa will allow you to start a business in the UK.
4- UK Innovator Founder Visa
This category is for businesspeople who wish to realise their innovative business ideas in the UK market. In the first stage, the applicant applies for an endorsement to one of the Home Office designated endorsers presenting their business plans. If the project passes the endorsement stage, the applicant can proceed with Stage 2 to submit their visa application. After you obtain a UK Innovator Founder Visa, you can establish your UK Business.
5- Skilled Worker Visa
The UK Company can obtain a sponsorship licence under the Skilled Worker Category and sponsor the workers that will be employed under this business. The businesses that are in the start-up process can also apply for sponsorship licence if they can provide the required information regarding their business activities and structure to manage the sponsorship system efficiently. Skilled Worker Visa allows the business’ shareholders or employees to come to the UK under Skilled Worker Visa category.