What You Need To Know About The UK Sole Representative Visa In 60 Seconds
As the UK economy continues to gather momentum and open up more opportunities for overseas businesses to enter the market, internationally based companies are sending representative to the UK in greater numbers, in order to establish a commercial presence in the country.
As business people ourselves, we know you are too busy to read a long-winded article on obtaining a UK Sole Representative Visa; therefore we have designed this quick guide so you can see all you need to know in 60 seconds (or less).
Do You Need a UK Sole Representative Visa?
If you want to establish your brand, customer base and supply chain in the UK with minimal risk, a UK Sole Representative visa is one of the most cost-effective options available. It will allow you to send an experienced staff member to the country to establish a UK branch or subsidiary. Once this is done, you can send other employees from your head office to the country through the Tier 2 Employer Sponsor Licence and Intra-Company Transfer to expand your UK operation.
What are the Eligibility Requirements?
To be eligible to apply for a UK Sole Representative Visa, it is imperative that your business is well established. If you are a start-up, you are unlikely to make a successful application, and may find an Entrepreneur Visa easier to obtain.
The UK Border Agency does look into applications to verify that the UK Sole Representative Visa is being granted for the benefit of the overseas-based company, not the individual employee. You need to ensure you have a strong business plan and strategy for diversifying into the UK market.
It is also important that the majority of your trading and the head office remain outside the UK.
The biggest advantage of this type of visa for the parent company is, unlike an Entrepreneur Visa, the representative sent to establish a commercial venture in the UK is not required to have vast sums of money accessible in a private account. It is presumed that the corporation will take care of all expenses, and pay the representative a salary on which they can support both themselves and any dependents.
For an uncomplicated application, a UK Sole Representative Visa can usually be processed within ten working days.
What Type if Employee can I Send?
Your representative employee must be a senior member of staff who has been employed by and based at your overseas company for a number of years and knows your industry and business practices inside out. If you do decide to recruit an individual specifically to fulfil the role of acting as a UK representative, they will have to show authorities that they have extensive knowledge of your organisation’s industry.
An owner or major shareholder cannot apply for this type of visa; it is designed for employees only.
Can the Representative Bring His or Her Family to the UK?
Yes, they can. There are many benefits to the employee who comes to the UK on a Sole Representative Visa, including:
- the freedom for his or her spouse to take on Employment in the UK
- free health care
- free education for any children, (unless they choose an independent school)
How Long can my Representative Stay in the UK?
A Sole Representative Visa is granted for two years, with an option to extend for three years on certain conditions. If they are still required by your company to remain in the UK to continue to run the UK operation after five years, they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
It is important to note that if the employee wants to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, they should not spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any given year.
Although it must be shown, by way of company accounts and tax receipts etc, that the UK branch or subsidiary of the organisation has been established and is successfully trading in order to obtain an extension on the Sole Representative Visa, no minimum level of business generation is required.
To save time, money and frustration, it is imperative to obtain good legal advice when applying for any business related visa to assist with the application requirements and collate the necessary documents. The last thing you want is for your business opportunities to be lost due to unnecessary delays in obtaining a visa for the right person to launch your venture on the booming UK market.
We can help you obtain a UK Sole Representative Visa quickly and efficiently. To find out what we can do for you, please call our London office on 0203 959 9123.
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