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Immigration Rules on Remote Working in the UK

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As immigration solicitors, we are receiving increased numbers of inquiries about whether you can come over to the UK and work remotely for your overseas employer. With summer fast approaching those inquiries will increase as many of our enquirers would like to bring their family to the UK for an extended stay and once the enquirer has had 2 weeks of leisure and tourist activity they want to remote work for their overseas employer whilst their family enjoys a long holiday in the UK.

At first glance, it seems a win for the UK as an overseas-based family is spending longer in the UK than they would otherwise feel able to do, and whilst in the UK they are helping boost the UK tourism and leisure sectors. However, immigration solicitors warn that there are immigration rules on working in the UK and consequences if you don’t comply with them.

In this blog, our immigration solicitors focus on whether you can work remotely for an overseas-based employer if you are here in the UK and you are subject to UK immigration controls.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Working in the UK when you are subject to UK immigration control

Many people choose to live and work in the UK but not all UK visas provide you with the right to work in the UK. Other visas give you a right to work but impose conditions on the amount of work you can do. For example, international students in the UK on student visas are subject to work restrictions. Some work visas restrict the type of employment you can undertake and the type of employer you can work for. For example, if you are in the UK on a skilled worker visa you can only work in a job with a standard occupational classification code and your employer must have a sponsor licence to sponsor your employment.

If you want to work in the UK and you need entry clearance our specialist immigration solicitors can talk you through all your work visa options, such as the graduate visa or the health and care worker visa, or the seasonal visa.

Visiting and working in the UK

Not all visitors to the UK require a visa but whether you require a visa or not the same rules apply to what work you can and cannot do whilst in the UK.

If you need advice on whether you need a visa our immigration lawyers can help. In some cases, whilst you may not technically require a visitor visa to visit the UK our immigration lawyers may recommend one to avoid you encountering problems with UK entry clearance.

Work you can do whilst visiting the UK

Under the immigration rules work you can do whilst visiting the UK is classed as ‘permissible activities’. If you ignore the immigration rules you risk the Home Office finding out about your breach of the immigration rules, it affecting your immigration record and the prospects of your being able to secure another visa. For example, if you entered the UK on a visitor visa and were found to be working outside the rules on permissible activities, this may affect your chances of successfully applying for a skilled worker visa to enable you to return to the UK on a work visa and eventually settle in the UK by applying for indefinite leave to remain.

The list of permissible business and work activities on a visitor visa

The immigration rules class the following activities as ‘permissible’ for those visiting the UK without a visa or those in the UK on a visitor visa:

  • Attendance at meetings, conferences, seminars, and interviews
  • Giving a one-off or short series of talks and speeches but these must not be organised as commercial events and must not make a profit for the organiser of the event
  • Negotiate and sign deals and contracts
  • Attend trade fairs for the purposes of promotional work only as the visitor visa holder must not engage in any direct selling
  • Conduct site visits and inspections
  • Obtain information for their employment overseas
  • Get information about a UK-based customer but the visitor visa holder must not carry out the work for the UK customer from within the UK
  • An employee of an overseas-based company can advise and consult, trouble-shoot, provide training, and share their skills and knowledge but they cannot work directly with clients

If you are in any doubt as to whether your proposed business or work-related activities are permissible or not it is best to speak to an immigration solicitor before you travel to the UK. That way you may avoid the embarrassment and delay of being refused UK entry clearance.

Other considerations when remote working in the UK

Immigration solicitors understand that there are not just immigration considerations when deciding that you want to work remotely whilst visiting the UK. For example, is your employer aware of your plans to remote work from the UK rather than return to your home country? If you have not obtained permission is this in breach of your contract of employment? Are there potential data protection issues or licensing issues if you are using IP whilst working in the UK? Are you insured if you work remotely in the UK? What are the tax and other implications of working in the UK?

These are all important considerations before you place your overseas-based employment at risk.

UK immigration solicitors recommend that it is best not to make assumptions about immigration rules and remote working and to take immigration law legal advice so you understand the ramifications.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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