Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

 

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business sounds like a lonely job, especially in the UK’s current fast paced changing political environment and Brexit uncertainties. However, most economists say expansion is the key to success even in times of economic uncertainty. 

 
The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa enables international companies to base an employee in the UK to establish a UK presence for the overseas company. Immigration solicitors are anticipating a steep rise in enquiries about Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visas as foreign companies eye up post Brexit UK trade opportunities. Ambitious overseas companies can seize the advantage by placing an employee on the ground in the UK using a Sole Representative visa.
 

How can OTS Solicitors help? 

 
Based in central London and specialising in business immigration law, OTS Solicitors expertise in Immigration law is recognised by Legal 500, a leading directory of UK lawyers.
 
Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form to discuss how OTS Solicitors can help secure a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa to achieve UK expansion goals. 
 

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa

 

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa enables an employee of an overseas business to come to the UK to establish or run:

 

• A UK branch of the overseas parent company; or 

• A wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas parent company.  

 

Requirements for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa 

 
The requirements for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa can seem complicated so it is best to take legal advice if you are considering applying for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa to ensure the application is not refused.
 
To qualify for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa the overseas company must:
 

• Be a genuine and trading business; and 

• Have no existing branch or subsidiary company in the UK; and 

• Have no other representative in the UK; and 

• Plan to set up a branch or subsidiary in the UK; and 

• The branch or subsidiary must be in the same field or type of business as the overseas parent company business; and 

• Intend to remain overseas based and to maintain the centre of its operations abroad.

 
The above list details the overseas company requirements. However, the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is granted to an individual of the overseas company and the individual employee has to prove to the Home Office that:
 

• They have been recruited by the company from outside the UK; and 

• They are a senior employee in the business; and 

• Are authorised to take operational decisions for the overseas parent company; and 

• They do not own or hold more than fifty percent of the shares in the company; and 

• Will only work for the overseas company whilst in the UK on the visa; and  

• Can speak and understand English to the required UK Visas and Immigration standard; and 

• Can afford to finance and provide accommodation for themselves and any dependent family members.

 
The company and individual requirements to apply for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa can appear exacting. That is why it is sensible to take specialist business immigration law advice to give the best prospect of securing a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa. 
 

Employing a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business 

 
The job of recruiting a person to undertake the role of Sole Representative of an Overseas Business can be tricky. The employee has to be sufficiently senior to be able to make operational decisions in the UK, whilst the employee cannot hold more than fifty percent of the shares in the company or take on other Employment or consultancy work.
 
Although the employee has to be employed by the overseas parent company from abroad it is best to take legal advice on the specific employee requirements for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa before offering the role to an existing senior employee or to a new recruit. Any new employee has to be able to demonstrate a record of accomplishment in the same type of company or in a closely related industry.  
 

Shareholders and the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa  

 
To give a UK branch of an overseas company the best chance of successfully establishing itself, the natural inclination is to send a shareholder who is invested in the success of the business venture, to the UK as the Sole Representative of the overseas business. 
 
Whilst that may make the most business sense to the overseas parent company, the Immigration Rules are clear. An application for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa will be refused if the employee is a majority shareholder in the foreign business. If, save for their shareholding, the shareholder meets the Sole Representative Business visa requirement and is the only suitable candidate for the job, legal advice can be taken on the option of reducing the shareholding.
 
If the holder of a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is a shareholder of the parent overseas company, care must be taken to ensure that the overseas company does not fail the Immigration rule requiring the parent company to have its centre of operations based outside the UK.
 

Can a Sole Representative bring dependent family to the UK?

 
It is difficult enough to recruit an overseas candidate that fulfils all the individual immigration rule requirements for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa. The pool of suitable employees would be that much smaller if visa holders could not bring family member to the UK with them.
 
The Immigration rules recognise this and say that a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business may bring:
 

• Their spouse or civil partner or unmarried or same-sex partner; and 

• Children under the age of eighteen.  

 

UK settlement and the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa 

 
If an application for a Sole Representative visa is granted the senior employee of the parent company will receive a visa to enter and remain in the UK for up to three years.
 
An application can be made to UK Visas and Immigration to extend the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa for leave to remain for a further two years.
 
If a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa stays in the UK for five years then the visa holder may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
 

OTS Solicitors and Sole Representative visa lawyers   

 
Legal 500 recommended OTS Solicitors are experts in business immigration law and can help with all types of business immigration visas from Start-up visa, Innovator visa and Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa. Call us on 0203 959 9123 for an initial discussion about how the OTS Solicitors business immigration team can help you or use our online enquiry form.
 

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