Business Visas Overview

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.

Read More About Self Sponsorship Route

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.

Read More About UK Expansion Worker Visa

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.

Read More About UK Global Talent Visa

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.

Read More About UK Innovator Founder Visa 

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.

Read More About Skilled Worker Visa

Frequently Asked Questions

The UK Expansion Worker route is designed for foreign businesses looking to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. Eligible businesses can sponsor senior managers or specialised workers temporarily to assist with expansion. This route is applicable when the business has not started trading in the UK yet. If your business is already operational in the UK, consider alternative licensing routes like the Senior or Specialist Worker or Skilled Worker route.

UK companies can obtain a sponsorship license under the Skilled Worker category to sponsor workers. Start-up businesses can also apply for a sponsorship license by providing necessary information about their activities. Skilled Worker Visa allows shareholders or employees to enter the UK under this category.

Self-sponsorship isn’t a defined visa category but is often used to refer to an immigration solution for business owners and shareholders. If eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker category, the company can allocate a certificate of sponsorship to sponsor these shareholders. They can then obtain a Skilled Worker Visa to work in the UK for the business in which they hold shares.

The UK Innovator Founder Visa is for entrepreneurs looking to realise innovative business ideas in the UK market. It involves two stages: endorsement and visa application. Applicants must first secure an endorsement from a designated Home Office endorser by presenting their business plans. If successful, they can proceed to the second stage to submit their visa application and establish their UK business.

The Global Talent Visa is open to individuals in specialist fields wishing to come to the UK. Like the UK Innovator Founder Visa, it requires an endorsement. During the endorsement stage, applicants are usually required to provide references, proof of work, and career achievements to demonstrate their “leadership” or “potential leadership” in their field. Specialists from academia and research, arts and culture, and digital technology fields can apply for endorsement. This visa allows you to start a business in the UK.

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