The UK Expansion Worker visa is a new sponsored route which replaces the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa.
This new route allows eligible businesses to sponsor an existing senior manager or specialist worker assigned to the UK temporarily to undertake work to expand a business in the UK. This route can only be used when the business has not yet initiated trading in the UK.
To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa you need to:
The business must be a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business. To sponsor a UK Expansion Worker, the sponsor must hold a valid licence for the category of worker, and ensure that the employment offer in the UK meets the relevant expertise and salary requirements.
The licence will be valid for 4 years however, as the Home Office expect the overseas business to establish a full trading presence within 2 years. The licence cannot be renewed at the end of the 4 years.
It is important to note if the business is looking to sponsor a senior or specialist employee to the UK for temporary work and if the business is already trading in the UK, they should as an alternative apply for either a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa. The business would need to be licenced to sponsor under the chosen category.
Employers sponsoring UK Expansion Worker are not required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge.
The initial leave will be granted for there 1 year after the start date of the job detailed in your Certificate of Sponsorship or the time given on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. If the applicant wishes to stay longer in the UK, it is possible to extend their visa, however this is capped by 12 months. The maximum time an applicant under the visa is 2 years.
The UK Expansion Worker route does not provide a route to settlement. However, a senior or specialist employee may be able to apply for leave to remain under a different immigration category, which could lead to obtaining settlement, subject to meeting the eligibility requirement under the chosen route
Yes, family members are permitted under this category. You can bring your partner, civil partner or unmarried partner and children if they are eligible.
No supplementary employment is prohibited. The Home Office states the only work permitted is working out a contractual notice period if you were lawfully working in the UK on the date of application and voluntary work. You will only be able to work in the UK in the job for which you have been sponsored.
If you currently have leave to remain in another immigration category, you may extend your stay by switching into the Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker route unless you have, or were last granted, permission as a Visitor, Short-term student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside the Immigration Rules.
Applicants are not required to prove their English Language under this route.