Using the Sole Representative Visa Route


The UK immigration system can be difficult to navigate which might lead you to miss the Sole Representative Visa Route. The world is becoming increasingly connected, therefore leading to more companies wanting to have presence across the globe.

One of the most under-used Visa categories in the UK could be the perfect one for companies looking for a footprint here. The Sole Representative route is for those that wish to establish a commercial presence using one of their senior employees.

What exactly is the route?

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa allows a senior employee of an overseas firm to come to the UK and establish and operate a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent company. In the Representative of an Overseas Business visa category, indefinite leave to stay (ILR) can be obtained after 5 years.

The parent company must be an active and trading overseas business for an employee to qualify for a UK Overseas Business Representative visa. The foreign parent firm must have its headquarters and major place of business outside of the United Kingdom, and intend to do so in the future. The firm will be rejected if the parent company already has a branch, subsidiary, or other representative in the UK. Even if there is no presence in the UK, the firm will be disqualified if the employee setting up the branch or subsidiary in the UK essentially moves the business’s operational centre to the UK.

Does my company qualify?

To qualify your company needs to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Trading and active overseas business;
  • Headquarters is overseas and intends to remain outside the UK;
  • Does not have any other subsidiary or branch in the UK already;
  • Intends to trade in the same industry as the parent company; and
  • Is not intended to merely facilitate someone’s entry to the UK.

There are a number of other aspects that the employee must demonstrate, which include the following:

  • a genuine existing full-time employee with the skills and knowledge on how to run a subsidiary or branch;
  • be recruited outside of the UK;
  • able to make operational business decisions;
  • intention to work full-time for the business;
  • not have a majority share in the parent company, or control by means of any shareholding or partnership agreement;
  • have the requisite English language skills; and
  • accommodation and ability to maintain both them and their family in the UK without the need for public funding.

Finding the right candidate is imperative. Clearly, they must be willing to move to the UK, be an existing senior employee and have the skills to run a branch or subsidiary here.

Can applicants bring their family to the UK?

Yes, they can bring any partner and children, although the children must be under 18. Applicants cannot bring extended family members, only immediate.

If the applicant is planning to bring their spouse, then they must also not be a majority shareholder or have control of the parent company.

How can we help?

UK immigration rules are complex and our legal experts can help you navigate them. We understand what should be included within an application to ensure that yours has the best chance of success.

Our team is here to help so get in touch today.

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