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Representatives of Overseas Businesses

Representatives of Overseas Businesses

Representatives of Overseas Businesses

Overseas businesses wishing to establish a presence in the UK may take advantage of the Representative of Overseas Businesses visa category, also known as a Sole Representative visa. This category allows an overseas parent company to post a senior employee of their organisation to set up a UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary. The same visa category also allows for the long-term assignment to the UK of media employees of overseas newspapers, news agency or broadcasting organisations.

IBB Solicitors’ Immigration lawyers can assist you with making an application for the Representatives of Overseas Businesses visa. In addition to the immigrating advice, our lawyers can assist your organisation with the setting up and running of the business in the UK.

Basic requirements

The applicant must demonstrate that they meet the following requirements of the Immigration rules:

  • be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK;
  • have extensive related industry experience and knowledge;
  • hold a senior position within the company (but not be a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf;
  • intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK;
  • be able to financially support themselves without use of benefits provided by the state and without the need to take up other employment.

English language

The UK government believes that ability to speak English to a competent level promotes success in the UK labour market and assists with integration into the UK. Therefore, applicants under the Sole Representative visa category must show that they have a good knowledge of English.

Unless, the applicant is a citizen of one of the majority English-speaking countries (in which case no additional evidence is necessary), knowledge of the English language can be proved by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening;
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD (degrees obtained in majority English-speaking countries are deemed to be accepted)

Conditions of Representative of Overseas Business visa

Visas are granted subject to a number of conditions, which Sole Representatives need to demonstrate they have met on any application for an extension of stay and Indefinite leave to remain (see below). The main conditions specific to the Representative of Overseas Businesses category are:

  • work as a senior employee with full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the established branch or subsidiary;
  • receive a salary from the employer;
  • the overseas business to maintain its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK;
  • to be still needed by the employer to perform duties as a Sole Representative in the UK;
  • to establish and be in charge of a branch or subsidiary in the same type of activity as the parent company.

How long can a Sole Representative stay in the UK

Initially, Representative of Overseas Business visas are issued for 3 years. The status can be extended for another 2 years from within the UK, providing the conditions for extension are met. On completion of 5 years of residency and subject to compliance with the conditions of the Sole Representative category, visa holders can apply to remain in the UK indefinitely.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Successful representatives may apply to remain in the UK indefinitely and subsequently apply to become British citizens. Sole Representatives can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on completion of 5 years of residency under the Representatives of Overseas Business visa.

Contact our immigration law experts today

Contact us today on immigrationteam@ibblaw.co.uk or 03456 381381 to see how we can help you with your immigration matter. Alternatively please visit www.ibblaw.co.uk/service/immigration for more information.