UK Expansion Worker visa
The Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa was introduced by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on 11th April 2022 as a direct replacement for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.
What is a Global Business mobility visa for the UK?
The Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa enables workers from an overseas business to come to the UK to set up a new branch or subsidiary here. While the business Expansion visa UK replaces the older Sole Representative visa, there is one important difference. Whereas the Sole Representative visa was an unsponsored route, those applying under the newer UK Expansion Worker scheme must have a Certificate of Sponsorship from their employer.This means that the overseas businesses wishing to establish a presence in the UK must have a sponsor licence. As a specialist in UK business immigration, AY&J Solicitors regularly guides overseas business through the process of applying for and gaining a sponsor licence. To discuss your Global Business Mobility visa sponsor licence requirements please contact one of our friendly expert Solicitors at A Y & J Solicitors.
Who is eligible to apply for a Global Business Mobility visa for the UK?
Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa applicants must be in a senior management or specialist role for their overseas employer, and have the skills and experience necessary to establish a business presence in the UK. They must also have been employed by their overseas employer/sponsor outside the UK for one or more years. The only exception to this requirement is where the applicant is paid £73,900 or is a national of Japan working for a Japanese company.
What are the requirements for a Global Business mobility visa for the UK
Expansion Worker visa applicants must score “60 points” based on the following eligibility criteria:
- Hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their overseas employer: 20 points
- Hold an offer for a job on the list of eligible occupations: 20 points
- Receive a salary of £45,800 or more, or at least the going rate for their occupation, whichever is the higher amount: 20 points
Assuming that the applicant scores 60 points based on the above criteria, they will also need to show that they have at least £1,270 to support themselves in the UK. These funds must have been held by the applicant bank for at least 28 days prior to their application being made.
Note: Under the Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa, there are no English language requirements.
In addition, to qualify for a sponsor licence (this must be secured before submitting a visa application), the overseas business must be able to prove it:
- Is not currently trading in the UK
- Has genuine plans to setup a new UK branch or “wholly-owned subsidiary” here
- Has a “footprint” in the UK – this does not mean that the business must be trading the UK, but rather than it is taking steps to establish a presence in the UK e.g. by having arranged a commercial property lease agreement
- Has been active and trading outside the UK for one or more years
- Has genuine and credible plans for expansion of its business in the UK – in the form of a detailed business plan.
How long is a Global Business mobility visa for the UK valid for?
Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visas are normally granted for up to 12 months initially and this can be further extended (please see the extension section below).
Can I bring my family with me on a Global Business mobility visa for the UK?
Yes, dependant family members (i.e. spouse/partner and children) of Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visas holders are also able to come to the UK.
To qualify as a dependant partner, the applicant must be the main visa holder’s married partner, civil partner, or unmarried partner (as long as they have been living together for at least 2 years). Dependant children must be under 18 (unless they are currently in the UK as a dependant) and financially dependant on the main visa holder.
If granted a dependant visa, family members can stay in the UK for the same duration as the Expansion Worker visa holder.
Can I work while on a Global Business mobility visa for the UK?
As a Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa holder, you can only work in the role for which you have been sponsored by your employer (i.e. the job shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship). The rules also prevent Expansion Worker visa holders from having a second job.
Can I study while on a Global Business mobility visa for the UK?
Yes, (the Global Business Mobility) UK Expansion Work visa rules allow holders to study in the UK. It is important to ensure that any study you undertake in the UK does not interfere with your main reason for being in the UK – i.e. to establish a branch or subsidiary of your employer here.
Can I extend my Global Business mobility visa for the UK?
The Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa can be further extended up to a maximum of two years. This means that if you were granted your initial visa for 12 months, you can apply to renew your visa for another 12 months. If you wish to stay in the UK beyond the maximum stay of 2 years, you will need to switch to a different type of visa, such as a Skilled Worker visa or Spouse visa (if you have a married partner, civil partner, or long term partner who is settled in the UK or a UK citizen).
Can I apply for permanent residence in the UK on a Global Business mobility visa?
Unfortunately, the Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa, comes under the category of UK expansion visa, does not provide a direct route to permanent residence (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK. However, according to UK expansion worker guidance, it is possible for Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) visa holders to switch to a visa that allows the holder to apply for indefinite leave to remain after living in the UK for a continuous period. The qualifying period for most visas in the UK is 5 years. If you choose to switch to a different type of visa once in the UK to later acquire ILR, it is important to note that the time spent in the UK on an Expansion Worker visa may not count towards the continuous residence period. In addition to that, it is important for the employers to have a valid UK expansion worker sponsor licence to sponsor an individual under the global mobility visa.
What are the fees for a Global Business mobility visa for the UK?
As of 2023, the Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) Visa application fee is £259. In addition to the application fee, there is also the healthcare surcharge of £624 per year, which much be paid by the applicant and any dependant family members who will be joining them. The healthcare surcharge allows visa holders and their dependants to access the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) if they require medical treatment during their stay.
If you are an overseas business with plans to expand into the UK and would like more details on the Expansion Worker visa scheme or any of the other four Global Business Mobility visas, please contact A Y & J Solicitors. Our expert team of business Solicitors can explain the benefits of the Expansion Worker visa UK and handle all aspects of the application process on your behalf.
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