If you are a substantial trading company located outside the UK, and have no current UK presence, you may be able to send a member of staff to the UK on a ‘Sole Representative Visa’, which acts as overseas business visa.
The employer must have its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK, and where the applicant is seeking entry as a sole representative, the company has no other branch, subsidiary or representative in the UK. You must be a genuine existing enterprise. If you have been established for less than a year you are unlikely to be considered suitable sponsors under the remits of this overseas business visa. The sending of a Sole Representative to the UK must be for the benefit of your company, and not for the immigration convenience of the candidate, so the budget allocated to the UK expansion should not be unrealistic in the context of your size, trading activities or profitability.
The Home Office will refuse the application whether it is clear the intention of the company is to transfer the operations centre in the UK and cease trading overseas.
The candidate should be a senior employee recruited outside the United Kingdom. In most cases, he or she will have been employed by you overseas for a significant period of time and be fully familiar with your business and procedures. This may not be the case when the individual has been recruited specifically to fulfill the role but in these circumstances, the applicant will need to demonstrate a background appropriate to the role.
The main requirements for Sole Representative visa are:
- 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 for at least 1 year (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, for example a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary
- English test (A1) level
Sufficient funds to maintain yourself and any dependent in the UK