The government has announced changes to the eligibility criteria for the sole representative visa. These immigration Rule changes will be implemented on the 4 June 2020. Sole representative visa solicitors say that if you have a sole representative visa application that is ready to be submitted to the Home Office it is best to do so before the 4 June 2020 deadline. Any applications submitted before the 4 June will be determined on the current sole representative visa eligibility criteria.
In this blog we look at the planned changes to the sole representative visa eligibility criteria and how they may affect sole representative visa applicants who submit visa applications after the 4 June 2020.
UK sole representative visa solicitors
If you need advice on how the sole representative visa immigration Rule changes will affect your sole representative visa application then our expert team of sole representative visa solicitors in the business immigration team at OTS Solicitors in London can help you.
Sole representative visa changes
The purpose behind the immigration Rule changes for sole representative visas appears to be to tighten up the rules and eligibility criteria. Some may question the need for that when the government has said that it wants to attract the ‘’brightest and best’’ to the UK and that the UK is ‘’open for business’’. Others question if in the face of a global pandemic and a forecasted economic recession the depth of which none of us have ever experienced before, is now the time to adjust the eligibility criteria for the sole representative visa. The timing seems odd when the UK is so keen to attract entrepreneurs and businesses to the UK after brexit.
Whilst the timing may seem unusual to anyone other than an experienced business immigration solicitor well used to the ability of the Home Office to surprise everyone with their priorities, the key messages from sole representative visa solicitors are:
If you are able to do so, submit your sole representative visa application prior to the 4 June 2020 to enable the application to be processed by the Home Office under the current eligibility criteria
If you are contemplating making a sole representative visa application ensure that you use a specialist sole representative solicitor who can make sure that you meet the new eligibility criteria.
The new sole representative eligibility criteria
What is changing about the sole representative visa eligibility criteria? In summary the eligibility criteria are being strengthened to make the application process a bit tougher. However, business immigration solicitors say that the majority of the immigration Rule changes should not affect a well prepared sole representative visa application.
The overseas parent company should continue to have its headquarters and main place of business outside the UK
The overseas parent company must be an active trading company
The sole representative visa applicant must be a senior employee of the overseas parent company. The visa applicant can't start their own business in the UK as they have to be in the UK to set up a branch or subsidiary of the overseas parent company
The sole representative visa applicant has to genuinely meet the eligibility criteria – this is a new genuineness test that is understood to have been introduced because of a concern that applicants were using the sole representative visa route in ways that the Home Office did not intend
The setting up of the overseas parent company UK subsidiary or branch must not be established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay of the sole representative visa applicant. In other words, the plan to set up the UK business arm of the overseas parent company must not be a device to secure a route to settlement in the UK for the sole representative
The sole representative visa applicant must have relevant skills, experience and knowledge of the business
The sole representative visa applicant should not have a majority stake in or ‘’otherwise own or control’’ the overseas parent company. The immigration Rule changes go on to say that ownership or control can be by means of shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement. This is designed to make it harder for an applicant with significant shares in the overseas parent company to meet the eligibility criteria for a sole representative visa
The overseas parent company has to provide details of current ownership and the preceding year of ownership. If the ownership has changed this does not automatically bar a visa applicant who used to hold more shares in the overseas parent company but the Home Office may question whether the applicant meets the genuineness test
A major shareholder in an overseas parent company cannot get their partner to apply for a sole representative visa and for them to then accompany the main visa applicant to the UK on a dependant visa.
Sole representative visa solicitors
Based in central London and specialising in business immigration law, OTS Solicitors are recognised in the two leading legal directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession.
The sole representative visa solicitors have substantial experience in successfully applying for sole representative visas and advising on the eligibility criteria for sole representative visa applications and appeal options.
If you want advice on the new eligibility criteria for a sole representative visa or want to make a sole representative visa application call the sole representative visa solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form . Appointments are available by video conference, Skype or telephone.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
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Posted on: Wednesday, 20 May, 2020