The centre of operations test for Sole Representatives of an Overseas Business visa

 
 

If you are not a London immigration solicitor, you may be forgiven for thinking that the phrase “the centre of operations” is something to do with surgery or even where some secret UK government department is based. Neither is right. Understanding and complying with the Home Office definition of “the centre of operations” is vitally important if you are applying for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.  

 

How can OTS Solicitors help?

 
Based in central London and specialising in business immigration law, OTS Solicitors are Legal 500 recognised business immigration experts with vast experience in successfully applying for Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visas.
 
Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form to discuss how OTS Solicitors can help secure your Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.
 

The centre of operations  

 
The first question London immigration solicitors are asked is “why is the centre of operations so important to the success of the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa application?”.
 
One of the fundamental immigration rule requirements for an application for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is that the overseas parent company must intend to keeps its main centre of operations outside of the UK. If the overseas parent company plans to move its centre of operations to the UK then an application for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa will fail. 
 

Shares and the centre of operations 

 
For an individual to secure a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa they cannot hold more than fifty percent of the shares in the overseas company. 
 
If an applicant for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is a shareholder in the overseas parent company the Home Office may look more carefully at the visa application and when considering the centre of operations test and visa criteria.    
 
If a Sole Representative visa applicant is a major shareholder in the overseas company then when assessing the centre of operations the Home Office will look at:
 

• Whether there is an intention to move the main centre of business to the UK because a major shareholder is the visa applicant and the company success is  based on this one key individual;

• If none or only a small number of senior employees of the overseas parent company will remain employed abroad after the UK branch of the company is set up.

 

Evidence of the centre of operations 

 
The immigration rules say that when an application for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is submitted to UK Visas and immigration the application must include a statement from the overseas parent company that confirms various matters, including that the company centre of operations will remain based overseas.  
 

Ambition and the centre of operations test

 
Any overseas parent company and employee applying for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa will be driven and ambitious and determined to make a success of the UK branch of the business. The Home Office accept that. Ambition to make the UK branch an overwhelming success is very understandable. With the centre of operations test, the line is drawn at setting up a branch of the business in the UK with the game plan being to change the centre of operations resulting in the company solely operating out of the UK or being headquartered in the UK.  
 

Preparing a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa application

 

They say that preparation is key to success and that is certainly the case when it comes to successfully applying for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.
 
The business immigration team at OTS Solicitors are often instructed to apply for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa application after an overseas parent company have tried to secure a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa and failed because of lack of correct paperwork. Alternatively, the overseas parent company have used a non-specialist solicitor to help them apply for the business visa and had an initial application for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa refused.
 
With vast experience of applying for Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visas, the business immigration team know the best way to prepare visa applications to secure a visa quickly.
 
If a shareholder is making an application for a visa or the overseas company or another solicitor has submitted a previous failed application, particular care has to be taken to ensure that all Home Office criteria are met and evidenced. A full explanation should be provided to avoid room for doubt over, for example, the centre of operations. 
 
To get the best outcome, the application for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa should be supported by paperwork and information such as:
 

• Information about the size of the applicant’s shareholding in the company and details of the remaining shareholders who will remain based outside the UK in the centre of operations; and 

• Information about the employee’s prior role in the company and how, if they held a pivotal role in the centre of operations in the overseas company headquarters, how the centre of operations will continue to successfully operate from overseas; and 

• The number of managers and senior employees of the company who will continue to be based abroad and at the centre of operations; and

• If the shareholder and visa applicant is known as “the face” of the company how the company will maintain its success and the centre of operations overseas.

 

The Sole Representative Business visa and plan

 

One of the best ways to ensure that the Home Office know that you are serious in your visa application and to show that an employee meets the criteria for a Sole Representative visa is to provide a professionally prepared business plan for the new UK branch of the parent company.
 
If you already have a business plan, OTS Solicitors can look at the business plan with you to make sure it addresses all potential Home Office areas of concern. If you do not have a business plan, OTS Solicitors work with some of the best professional business plan writers whose expertise in business plan writing for Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa applications delivers results. 
 

OTS Solicitors 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 applying for or extending a 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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