Re: Representative of an Overseas Business
Under the UK immigration Rules, an individual applicant may be granted entry to reside in the UK as the Sole Representative of an overseas Business/Company which is planning to set up a company branch in the UK or a wholly owned subsidiary.
The overseas business needs to have no previous presence in the UK and can only send one senior personnel from the company that is not a major shareholder.
Generally, in order to meet the eligibility requirements for entry as the Sole Representative of an Overseas Company an applicant must:
A· Be employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business and trade is outside the UK.
B· Hold a senior position within that company (but not as a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on behalf of the company. The shares stake cannot exceed 50% of total shares.
C· Have extensive related industry experience and knowledge.
D· Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, e.g. a Registered Branch or a wholly owned Subsidiary company. (Note that if the company already has a legal entity in the UK, you may still enter the UK as a Sole Representative of the company, provided that the UK branch does not employ staff or has not engaged in any business activity prior to your entry).
As part of the application, applicants would be required to provide evidence of the following but not limited:
· Full description of the company’s business activities, including details of the company’s assets and accounts and the company share distribution for the previous year.
· Evidence of holding a senior position at the parent company. This may include a HR employment confirmation letter and a contract of employment.
· Future contract of employment for the applicant’s proposed work activity as the company’s sole representative in the UK following the entry.
· Evidence of the applicant’s previous business academic and career background demonstrating relevant industry experience. Examples of this may include: an up to date CV, reference letters from previous employers/business figures, previous employment contracts for different roles you have carried out, evidence of enrolment in business related courses, evidence of membership with business organisation, academic qualifications…etc.
· Confirmation that the applicant will be the sole representative in the UK to set up the Company’s first presence and that the parent company’s operations will remain centred and stationed overseas and that the applicant will not engage in any other business.
· Business Plan outlining the proposed activities in the UK and accounting for any set up costs including premises, equipment, overheads and other support employment.
· Applicants are required to demonstrate their English Language competence by providing evidence of passing an English Language Test, at least at Level A1. However, we recommend passing an English Test at least at Level B1.
· Further, applicants will be required to show that they will be adequately maintained and accommodated during the stay in the UK. This will be demonstrated by the proposed employment contract in the UK, and may be aided by reliance on any additional personal savings.
Applicants should note that during their stay in the UK, they will not be able to carry out any other employment activities, nor engage in any other business activity as a self-employed person/business owner. They are only in the UK to represent the interests of the parent company and carry out activities as per specified.
Should the application be successful, they will be granted Leave to Enter and Remain in the UK for a period of 3 years. Prior to the completion of the initial three years period of residence in the UK, they can submit an application to extend their leave for additional two years, which will take their period of residence in the UK to five years so that they may able to apply for a settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as Permanent Residence) at the end of the five years, provided they meet all the relevant requirements under the Immigration Rules.
Under this category, applicants may also bring their dependants to the UK (i.e. spouse and children under the age of 18) provided that they can show that they will be adequately maintained and accommodated during their stay in the UK.
Once an application has been submitted to the Visa Section for assessment, a decision is usually made within 2 to 4 weeks from the date of the submission of the Entry Clearance application. In most instances, the Visa Section Entry Clearance Officer would require the application to go through an interview to demonstrate his application and the proposed plans in the UK. The interviews are very focused and specific. They require full knowledge about the parent company’s activities and a revision of the proposed activities in the UK.
There are no minimum requirements for the volume of business that the UK company will be expected to generate as the Representative of the Overseas business. Applicants are required to remain in the UK for a minimum period of 180 days (6 months) during each year of their residence in the UK.
During their stay in the UK, applicants will be able to enjoy many of the rights available, including the right to reside and travel freely, access to free medical services, enrolling children into free education, opening a bank account…etc. Applicants must remain employed by the overseas parent company and must not rely on public funds (government benefits).
After completion of five years under this category applicants would be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR) and will be able to apply for British citizenship together with their dependants usually one year after, provided that they continue to meet the Immigration Rules.
Should you wish to instruct GOOD ADVICE UK in the preparation and submission of the proposed application, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific situation. Our legal fees will be confirmed once we have understood the specific requirements, received clear instructions and have identified the scope of work and legal representation needed.
Following confirmation of instructions, a Welcome Pack will be forwarded together with a comprehensive list of information and documentation required in order to enable us to prepare and finalise the proposed application.
The above is a generic summary and explanation covering mainly Entry Clearance applications and is provided for information purposes only. The requirements of the Immigration Rules and Policy are subject to constant change. This summary does not in any way constitute legal advice, as every application is unique.
If you genuinely believe that this category and the above requirements apply to you, then feel free to contact us to discuss your individual and own particular circumstances in a greater detail and we will see how we can assist you further.
Article by Atef Elmarakby - Immigration Law Specialist Consultant at GOOD ADVICE UK