UK Expansion Worker Visa
The UK Expansion Worker Visa route is a new sponsored route for overseas businesses that wish to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. It allows eligible businesses to sponsor senior managers or specialist workers who are being assigned to the UK for a temporary period to undertake work related to the business’s expansion to the UK.
This route has replaced the sole representative provisions of the Representative of an Overseas Business route from 11 April 2022 (although the predecessor route will remain open to those with existing permission on that route). Whereas its predecessor route was an unsponsored route, the UK Expansion Worker route requires the worker to have a UK sponsor. That sponsor will be a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business.
UK Expansion Worker Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa you need to:
- have a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer
- have worked for your employer outside the UK
- do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
- be paid the minimum eligible salary required for your job
UK Expansion Worker Salary Requirements
UK Expansion Workers must be paid at least the general salary
threshold of £42,400 per year, or the specified going rate for the
occupation (whichever is higher) as stated in Appendix Skilled Occupations of the immigration rules.
You must have worked for your employer outside of the UK for at least 12 months unless you’re either:
- earning over £73,900
- Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company that is expanding to the UK
You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK.
You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply.
This route can only be used when the business has not yet begun btrading in the UK. If the business is already trading in the UK, you should apply for a sponsor licence on a different route (for example, the Senior or Specialist Worker or Skilled Worker route) instead.
Your employer – also known as your sponsor – will give you a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ with information about the role you will do in the UK. It’s an electronic record, not a paper document.
You’ll need the reference number from the certificate of sponsorship for your visa application. You must apply for your visa within 3 months of getting your certificate of sponsorship.
The business is expected to establish a UK trading presence within two years. If you fail to do so, you will no longer be permitted to sponsor any new workers on this route, your existing sponsored workers will not be permitted to extend their stay (even if they would otherwise be eligible), and you may lose your sponsor licence
UK Expansion Worker Visa Duration
A UK Expansion Worker can come to the UK for up to one year initially, with the option to extend their stay by up to a further year. Two years is the maximum continuous period a person can stay in the UK on this route. UK Expansion Workers are also subject to the maximum cumulative period for the GBM routes.
You can only sponsor the number of workers you genuinely need to establish the UK business (up to a maximum of 5 workers at any one time). Once you have established a UK trading presence, you can add other routes to your licence and sponsor workers on those routes.
Dependant Partner and Children
Your partner and children can apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.
Your partner and children must have a certain amount of money available to support themselves while they’re in the UK.
You – or your partner or child – will need:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
Contact our immigration solicitors
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