One of the main requirements for a Sole Representative Visa is to show that the parent company is a genuine enterprise with its principal operations centre based outside the UK. The Home Office will have to be satisfied that the intention is purely to establish a branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK and keep the headquarter overseas.
In this regard, among other requirements, par. 144 of the Immigration Rules explicitly requests a notarised statement from the employer confirming that the centre of the operations will be remained based overseas.
According to the Home Office policy:
“[The centre of operations test] does not mean that you must refuse a company if there is evidence that it intends its UK branch or subsidiary to flourish so in the long term it might overshadow its parent company.”
Nevertheless, the Home Office regulations stipulate that the caseworker should refuse the application whether it is clear the applicant intends to transfer the operations centre in the UK and cease trading overseas.
Elements that can negatively affect the application may raise whether applicants have a considerable number of shares in the company even though they are not majority shareholders. Moreover, the Home Office may decide to conduct an interview which could determine the outcome of the entire application. Answering correctly is fundamental for the positive outcome of the application.
Substantially, during a hypothetical interview, the Home Office will have to verify which role is the candidate currently covering in the headquarter, as well as their responsibilities. Whether they believe the role covered by the applicant outside the UK is indispensable for running the business, the application is likely to be refused. This is merely due to the Home Office policy of censuring applications allegedly aimed to transfer headquarters in the UK; entry clearance will be granted only when the candidate is genuinely “representing” the main company.
Ultimately, it is essential to present the case properly from the beginning and ensuring the candidate is well-aware of the requirements.
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