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What is a UK Expansion Worker Visa?
As of 11th April 2022, the UK Expansion Worker visa has replaced the Sole Representative visa. If you already hold a Sole Representative visa, this will remain valid and can still be extended. If not, you will now have to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa.
The UK Expansion Worker visa allows those who work for an overseas business to come to the UK and set up a branch of that business in the UK. It also allows you to travel abroad and return to the UK, study, and partake in voluntary work.
What are the requirements?
Requirements for a successful application include that the overseas business must not have started trading in the UK yet and the visa applicant must already work for the overseas business as either a senior manager or specialist employee.
How long can you stay in the UK?
You can stay in the UK with a UK Expansion Worker visa for either:
- 12 months after the start date of the job, which can be found on your certificate of sponsorship; or
- the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days.
Of the two options referenced above, whichever offers the shortest stay for that particular individual is the option that will apply.
There is the option to extend the UK Expansion Worker Visa (see our FAQs below), although a stay on this visa is limited to a duration of two years.
To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa you need to:
- perform a job that is on the list of eligible occupations (see our FAQs)
- hold a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer
- have worked for your employer outside of the UK
- be paid the minimum eligible salary required for your occupation.
Your partner and/or children can be included in your application to stay in the UK if they are eligible.
Contact our immigration specialists today for further information.
The application process
Applications can be completed online and differ depending on if you are already in the UK and either extending your current visa or switching to a new one, or if you are applying from outside of the UK. You will also need to prove your identity by providing the necessary documents.
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.
What are the costs?
In terms of cost, you, your partner, or your children will each need to pay the application fee, prove you have sufficient savings, and pay the healthcare surcharge for each year that you stay.
What am I not allowed to do?
- apply for most benefits/public funding or the State Pension
- have a second job or change jobs unless you are eligible, and you update your visa accordingly
- apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’).
How can NA Law Solicitors help you?
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 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.