A Y & J Solicitors Assist An Established Oil And Gas Exploration And Production Company In South America With Their Global Expansion To The UK
We were approached by the manager of Company ‘A’, a Colombian based O & G company. The trajectory was clear, a UK office was vital to the growth of the company, and London, being the main centre for oil business in Europe, was a perfect location for the expansion.
Mr C attended our London office during a visit to the UK and met with a senior caseworker at the firm. During the consultation, we took advice on the financial position of that company, Mr C’s role in the company and its plans for the UK. The company had secured provisional contracts in the UK, and the next step was to achieve direct access to the UK market. Upon consideration of the circumstances, the sole representative visa was the most suitable route to achieve the companies aim.
The UK market was saturated with companies looking for their expertise and appointing a sole representative to lead the UK expansion from their head office, with the knowledge and language skills to build the bridge between the UK and Colombia was the solution.
Securing the Visa
We provided a service tailored to Company A, detailing the documentary requirements and providing clear and comprehensive templates that were straightforward to follow and minimised the work of the applicant.
Company A presented a brief business plan, along with their documentation and drafts to review. Following the guidance of a subject expert, the documents were scrutinised, and we were able to advise on specific areas of weakness in the application.
The Centre of Operations test
The company must show that it intends to retain its centre of operations abroad to meet the Rules. For the parent company to satisfy this requirement, it must show that it does not intend to effectively cease trading outside the UK. This can be inferred if for instance in a small company, there are few employees and the success of the company is linked to the applicant’s experience and expertise.
Company A was a relatively small company, with four other employees under the applicant, half of which were administrative. We ensured the business plan addressed this in detail and concentrated on the role of the parent company as significant to the success of the provisional UK entity. We further included evidence of a recruited individual to take over the position following the applicant’s relocation.
Inferred Control of the Company – Majority Shareholding
The sole representative must have held a senior position in the company and may not be a majority shareholder; the representative cannot hold 50% or more of the shares of the company and must not have overall control of the company. Whilst the Immigration Rules are silent on this matter, the Home Office may find inferred control by the applicant whereby the remaining shares are held, for example by one or more family members, whether that be a spouse or close relatives.
In this case, the majority shareholder was Mr C’s sister. Transparency was key, and we submitted a detailed legal representation letter addressing this together with additional evidence towards the genuineness.
We assisted Mr C with the re-drafting of his business plan and gave constructive advice regarding the areas he should be concentrating on. We then assisted with the online submission process and ensured that Mr C was fully prepared for his appointment, assigning a clear instruction file. A Y & J Solicitors drafted submissions to the Home Office in the form of a representation letter putting forward a clear argument as to why Mr C qualifies for Entry Clearance as a sole representative.
While the Home Office did not revert within the timeframe, we chased this matter, and within a few weeks our client had his decision. The application was successful, and the company could proceed with its expansion to the UK. Very good news for Mr C and his company and it was a pleasure to assist them in achieving their goals.