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UK Expansion Worker Visa
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UK Expansion Worker Visa

Updated: 6 December, 2023

UK Expansion Worker visa is a new route that enables foreign companies looking to set up a presence in the UK to deploy senior personnel to facilitate their expansion to the UK.

Our team is passionate about helping you achieve your aims. We appreciate the many uncertainties and challenges that come with starting a business venture in a new market. A key factor in any business success is having talented people working for you and RVS Solicitors can help you in ensuring that your talent is present in the UK when you need them.

We understand the challenges of identifying proper eligibility criteria and supporting documents for a successful application, in particular for a new route. We also recognise the difficulties of finding the correct visa to apply for amongst the many different worker visas newly emerging. Hence, we are here to help you find the visa that suits your needs and effectively support you through the visa application process. Our client-centred approach concentrates on building partnerships with clients, and delivering results in a quick, efficient manner.

UK Expansion work visa Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a UK Expansion Worker visa?

The UK Expansion Worker visa is one of the five new sponsored routes under the Global Business Mobility visa. It allows for the overseas business to post a senior manager or specialist employee to UK to undertake work related to expansion of the business in the UK. The UK Expansion Worker visa has replaced the Sole Representative visa route which effectively closed on 11 April 2022. Visa-holders on this route, and already in the UK, are not required to switch visas, as the Sole Representative visa route remains open for those with existing permission on this route.

Through the UK Expansion Worker visa, you can set up a branch of an overseas business that has not yet started trading in the UK. The employee coming to work on in the branch, will need to be sponsored by the business.

If you have been sponsored under this route, you will have permission to work in the UK only for the job you have been sponsored for. You will also be allowed to participate in voluntary work and study in the UK.

As an Expansion Worker, you may be accompanied or joined by your partner, and any dependent children, if the relevant requirements are met. Furthermore, you and your family can travel in and out of the UK, for as long as your visas remain valid.

This route, however, is not a settlement route and will not lead to an ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain). You can stay in the UK for 2 years at most on this route and if your presence is required for longer, you will need to apply to switch to a skilled worker or another appropriate route.

How get a UK Expansion Worker visa?

You will need to follow certain steps to obtain a UK Expansion Worker visa.

Step 1: Obtain sponsorship – this means that the employing business must have a Sponsor Licence and assign a certificate of sponsorship to the prospective Expansion Worker.

Step 2: Upon getting the Sponsorship you then can apply to get your UK Expansion Worker visa

Step 3: Establish your UK presence in the UK. You will have 2 years to do so.

Step 4: Once your business is established, you can add other routes to your Sponsor license in case you need additional workforce to transfer from your original location or simply hire from overseas.

RVS Solicitors can assist you on each and every step, from getting the Licence to establishing your presence in the UK, adding new routes to the licence and maintaining it. To read more about our services in respect of Sponsorship Licences, please visit this link.

What are the eligibility requirements for the UK Expansion Worker visa?

In order to be eligible for the UK Expansion Worker visa, you must demonstrate that you have obtained 60 points as follows:

  • 20 Points for Sponsorship – this means having a ‘Valid ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer in the UK
  • 20 points for a job at an appropriate skill level – This means your occupation is eligible for the UK Expansion Worker visa
  • 20 points for salary – this means you need to show minimum eligible salary required of your specific job

Further to the above, there are some other requirements that you need to prove:

  • Proof of working for your employer outside the UK
  • Aged 18 or over
  • Proof of maintenance funds
  • Valid tuberculosis test certificate, if from a listed country

Is my occupation eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa?

You can search the eligible occupation and codes list to see if your job is eligible for Global Business Mobility visa. Search for the title of your job (e.g. ‘financial manager’). If your job is listed, you will see a 4-digit occupation code for your occupation on the left-hand column job, with related job titles on the right-hand column. If you are unable to identify the right code or are unsure which code suits your situation the best, give us a call and our specialist Immigration Lawyers will be able to assist you.

What is a ‘Certificate of Sponsorship?’

The organisation sponsoring you must be a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business. Please keep in mind that unlike other sponsored worker routes, such as the Skilled Worker visa, the UK Expansion Worker route can only be used if the particular business you are working for has not yet begun trading in the UK. The sponsor must hold a valid license for sponsoring workers under this visa. The sponsor must also ensure that the employment offered in the UK fulfils relevant skills and salary requirements to qualify as an eligible occupation.

However, if you are a senior or specialist employee for an overseas employer who is looking to send you to the UK for temporary work in a business already trading in the UK, then you should apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa. A Skilled Worker visa is also an option for this case, provided that the sponsoring UK employer is licensed to sponsor under this route.  Speak to one of our Immigration lawyers to determine which option is the best for your particular circumstances.

Once your employer decides to sponsor you, they must provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), outlining the role of your occupation. This is an electronic document enabling you to apply for a visa and work for the organisation. The certificate should have its own reference number which you would use to apply for a visa. Your application for a visa should be done within 3 months of receiving your certificate.

What if my employer does not have a sponsoring license?

Considering that the UK Expansion Worker visa route is for those intending to open a branch in the UK and the entity should not be a previously established business, it is unlikely that the expanding business will have been approved to sponsor people to work in the UK. Therefore, as the first step for this route, the business will need to apply for a sponsor licence .

An organisation applying for a sponsoring license on the UK Expansion Worker route must demonstrate a UK ‘footprint,’ overseas trading presence and credible plans to expand to the UK.  A UK ‘footprint’ can be demonstrated through evidence of UK business premises or registration with Companies House. Proof of overseas trading presence requires evidence of an active overseas business and trading for at least 3 years. Last, to demonstrate credible plans of expansion to the UK, the organisation needs to show intention and capability of establishing a new UK branch wholly-owned subsidiary within 2 years following the grant of a licence.

A sponsoring licence is valid for 4 years, similar to other sponsored work routes. An overseas business must establish a trading presence within the relevant timeframe of 2 years, or otherwise, a few consequences may follow, including the revocation of the licence.

How long do I have to work for my employer outside the UK?

When providing proof of working for your employer outside of the UK, you need to demonstrate at least 12 month of employment. However, this is not required if you earn over £73,900 or are a Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company that is expanding to the UK.

What is the minimum eligible salary required of my job?

The job you are being sponsored for must be paying at least £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for your job, whichever is higher. You will find that each occupation code comes with its own annual going rate. To check the going rate for your job, please refer to the going rates table. Our team of top immigration lawyers is available to advise you on the salary requirements, to ensure the success of your matter.

What other proof of funds do I need to show?

Although you will be coming to the UK with a work offer and will have a guaranteed salary, you still are required to show funds for your maintenance in the initial period. Therefore, you must show proof of funds of at least £1,270 to cover costs, unless your sponsor certifies on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will cover these costs as well for you. You would need to have this fund for at least 28 consecutive days. At the end of the 28 day period, you must be within 31 days of the date you apply for the visa. If you will be applying with your dependants, you will need to show further funds to cover them too.

Do I need to obtain a Tuberculosis test?

A UK Expansion Worker from a listed country must provide a valid Tuberculosis test certificate, showing that you do not have Tuberculosis. The certificate must be from a testing centre authorised by the Home Office to carry out such tests for UK visa purposes. The certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of your test. Please be sure to include this certificate in your visa application.

How do I apply for a UK Expansion worker visa?

To apply for a UK Expansion visa, you will need to complete the online application process and submit your biometrics.  You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are listed to begin work in the UK. You will need your CoS number to make the application and you will need to provide all your supporting evidence. Our team will guide you in respect of the evidence to submit with your UK Expansion Worker visa application.

Can my partner and children join me?

Your partner and children can join you under the UK Expansion Worker visa as your ‘dependants.’ They must, however, meet the eligibility criteria, and if this is satisfied, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

The eligibility criteria for children joining you is that they are under 18 and are under your care.

The eligibility criteria for the partner is that you are either legally married, have a civil partnership or have been living together for at least 2 years.

How can RVS Solicitors help you?

At RVS Solicitors, we recognise the importance of getting things right on the first attempt. In particular, for a UK Expansion worker visa, a refusal will mean putting business expansion plans on hold until the visa is issued. This obviously can be very damaging to the business. To improve your chances of your application being granted, it is imperative to have your application guided and reviewed by an experienced immigration lawyer.

Dr Navasardyan and her team have an in-depth knowledge of what criteria the Home Office is looking for and the process UKVI follows when considering entry clearance applications for work visas. In addition, should you wish so, we will advise you throughout the life of your visa.

By instructing us, you can trust that everything required to ensure a successful result is done.

To find out more about how we can assist you, please contact our London office at 020 3372 5125 and complete our online enquiry form to make an appointment. Find out more information on our fees and timescales here.

To read more about similar issues please visit our blog or read on how we have helped others in similar circumstances by visiting our success stories.

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