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Understanding the UK Expansion Worker Visa: Eligibility, Requirements, and Application Process
Introduction to the UK Expansion Worker Visa
The UK Expansion Worker visa provides a strategic opportunity for businesses to expand their global reach. This route allows senior managers or specialist employees from an overseas company to temporarily work in the UK, helping to establish the company’s first branch or subsidiary. Introduced as part of the Global Business Mobility (GMB) visa umbrella, it is designed to facilitate economic growth and trade in the UK post-Brexit.
UK Expansion Worker Visa: Replacing the Old Scheme
Replacing the previous unsponsored sole representative provisions of the Representative of an Overseas Business route, the UK Expansion Worker visa brings several advantages. Existing visa holders under the old route can apply for further permission without needing to switch, keeping the predecessor route open for those with existing permission.
Benefits of the UK Expansion Worker Visa
As a UK Expansion Worker visa holder, you will be able to perform the job you’ve been sponsored for as described in your certificate of sponsorship. Moreover, this visa permits you to undertake voluntary work and study in the UK, thereby facilitating personal and professional growth.
Dependent family members
Dependent family members, including your partner and children, can accompany or join you in the UK, provided they meet the relevant requirements. Furthermore, this visa allows the holder and their family to travel freely in and out of the UK as long as the visas remain valid.
Contact our immigration specialists today for further information.
Establishing the UK office
After establishing the UK office, you’ll have an initial two years to establish your business in the UK. Once the business is set up, you can add other routes to your Expansion Worker license.
Eligibility for a UK Expansion Worker Visa
To qualify for a UK Expansion Worker visa, applicants must be at least 18 years old and already be working for a linked overseas business at the time of application. Applicants must also have worked for the business for a specified minimum period unless falling within an exception. Unlike the predecessor route, the UK Expansion Worker visa requires the worker to have a UK sponsor.
Sponsor Requirements for UK Expansion Workers
The sponsor organisation must be a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business. However, this visa route can only be used if the business hasn’t yet started trading in the UK. If the linked overseas business is planning to send a senior or specialist employee to an already trading UK business, they should apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa or a Skilled Worker visa, with the UK employer needing to be licensed to sponsor under these routes instead.
Understanding the UK Expansion Worker Visa: Duration, Stay Extension, and Application Process
UK Expansion Worker Visa: How Long Can You Stay?
The UK Expansion Worker Visa allows you to reside in the UK for a maximum period of two years. The initial duration of stay granted would be the shortest of the following two options:
- Twelve months from the date of the job’s commencement as indicated on your certificate of sponsorship
- The duration stated on your certificate of sponsorship plus an additional 14 days.
Extension of Stay on a UK Expansion Worker Visa
Following the initial duration, you have the option to extend your stay on this visa for an additional 12 months. However, the maximum overall duration permitted under this visa category, including a 12-month extension, is two years. For more information on extension criteria, refer to our frequently asked questions (FAQs) section below.
UK Expansion Worker Visa Requirements and Application Assistance
Navigating the requirements of the UK Expansion Worker visa can be a complex process, which includes collating appropriate supporting documentation, auditing HR and recruitment systems, and meeting relevant sponsor compliance duties.
Why use NA Law Solicitors
NA Law Solicitors provide guidance to prospective applicants and employers by providing an assessment of your immigration matter and providing a solution based approach. We can assist with assessing whether a prospective employee satisfies the points criteria before the sponsor issues a certificate of sponsorship, advising on sponsorship-related fees, guiding on assigning Certificates of Sponsorship to skilled visa workers, and exploring alternative UK immigration options to support your UK recruitment and talent requirements.
How Can NA Law Solicitors Help?
We are a niche immigration law firm that specialises in this area of law. We can assist you in making an application and gathering the necessary documents to ensure that your application is successful. Contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Eligible occupations for the Global Business Mobility routes include Senior or Specialist Worker, Graduate Trainee, UK Expansion Worker, Secondment Worker, and Service Supplier.
The UK Expansion Worker visa can be extended by 12 months. The maximum time you are allowed to stay in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa is 2 years.
If you’ve spent time in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa, or another visa, you might not be able to stay on a UK Expansion Worker visa for as long. Such visas include the Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa, the Intra-company Transfer visa, and any of the five Global Business Mobility routes.
If you’ve spent time in the UK on any of these visas, you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6-year period.
You can apply to extend the UK Expansion Worker visa by 12 months.
However, you cannot apply to switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK on the following visas: a visit visa, a short-term student visa, a Parent of a Child Student visa, a seasonal worker visa, a domestic worker in a private household visa.
If you have one of the above visas, you must leave the UK and apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa from abroad.
Typically, if you’re outside the UK, you’ll get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. If you’re inside the UK, you’ll get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks.
You will need the following:
- A valid identification document (that can also be used to prove your nationality), such as a passport
- Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
- Job title and salary
- Proof of your personal savings (to show that you are financially self-sufficient)
- The occupation code for your job
Other documents may be required, depending on your individual circumstances.
Call NA Law Solicitors to discuss any documentation concerns.