A Guide to UK Business Residency: UK Self-Sponsored and Expansion Worker Visas

Uk expansion worker visa overcome self sponsored visa challenges | immtell

A Guide to UK Business Residency: UK Self-Sponsored and Expansion Worker Visas

Moving to the UK to start or buy a business is an attractive prospect for many entrepreneurs. The self-sponsored visa pathway offers a route to achieve this by obtaining a Home Office sponsor licence and using it to sponsor a skilled worker visa.

However, recent updates to Home Office guidance have made this process more stringent, particularly for companies trading for less than 18 months.

This article will guide you through establishing a trading presence and alternative pathways like the UK Expansion Worker Visa.

Understanding the Self-Sponsored Visa Pathway

The self-sponsored visa pathway involves establishing or purchasing a business in the UK, which then applies for a Home Office sponsor licence.

This licence allows the business to sponsor the entrepreneur’s skilled worker visa, enabling them to live and work in the UK while running or working in their business.

However, with the Home Office’s updated guidance in April, caseworkers must be more thorough when assessing applications from newer businesses.

Importance of Establishing a Trading Presence

Given the new guidance, it’s crucial to establish a trading presence in the UK. This involves demonstrating active business operations, such as having contracts, invoices, and client or customer deposits in a UK bank account.

These elements provide the Home Office caseworker with evidence that the business is genuinely operating, which is vital for the sponsor licence application.

Challenges and Solutions

For many entrepreneurs, these changes can be challenging to meet the new requirements initially. However, there are still viable paths to achieve your goal:

  1. Buying an Existing Business: Purchasing a business already trading in the UK can be a relatively straightforward solution. An established business with a proven track record can provide the necessary evidence of trading activity, making the sponsor licence application process smoother.
  2. Expanding an Existing Business: If you have an existing company operating outside the UK, consider expanding its operations into the UK. This approach can leverage the UK Expansion Worker Visa, a viable pathway for establishing a trading presence.

The UK Expansion Worker Visa

The UK Expansion Worker Visa is designed for businesses expanding into the UK. Here’s how it works:

  • Eligibility: To be eligible, your overseas business must have been trading for at least 3 years, and the role you are transferring must be related to expansion into the UK.
  • Duration: The visa allows you to stay in the UK for one year, which can be extended for another year if necessary.
  • Benefits: While in the UK on this visa, you can establish your business presence, enabling you to switch to the self-sponsored route once your company trades actively. During this time, your family can join you, and your children can attend school, like a self-sponsored visa.

Switching to the Self-Sponsored Route

Once your business has established a trading presence in the UK, you can switch to the self-sponsored visa pathway. This transition allows you to continue growing your business while working towards indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

The time spent on the Expansion Worker Visa does not count towards ILR; therefore, switching to the self-sponsored visa is advisable as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts from Immtell

Despite recent changes in Home Office guidance, the dream of moving to the UK to start or buy a business remains attainable. However, establishing a trading presence is now more critical than ever.

Whether you purchase an existing business or expand your current operations into the UK using the UK Expansion Worker Visa, there are practical steps to navigate these new requirements. By understanding the pathways and preparing adequately, you can successfully transition to living and working in the UK.

For more detailed information and costs for the UK Expansion Worker Visa, visit Immtell’s UK Expansion Worker page.

If you have any questions or would like to explore this further, please get in touch.

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