Sole Representative Visa

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SOLE REPRESENTATIVE OF AN OVERSEAS BUSINESS VISA

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa route enables employees of existing overseas businesses to set up a wholly owned subsidiary or register a UK branch of the overseas business in the UK. The Sole Representative must be a senior employee of the overseas business who has been assigned to establish a subsidiary or branch in the UK.

Dependent family member of the Sole Representative of an overseas business can also apply to join them in the UK. The Sole Representative and their dependent family members can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 5 years of continuous residence.

Eligibility Requirements: Sole Representative Of An Overseas Business Visa UK

In order to qualify for a Sole Representative Visa, you must demonstrate to the UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • you are a senior employee of the overseas business and you are assigned to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary of the overseas business in the UK;
  • the branch or subsidiary you are heading in the UK will trade in the same type of business as the overseas business;
  • the overseas business that you represent is active and trading outside the UK;
  • the overseas business you represent has its headquarters and principle place of business situated outside the UK;
  • you have been recruited and taken on as an employee outside the UK by the overseas business you are seeking to represent in the UK;
  • you intend to work full-time for your overseas employer;
  • you do not intend to take on any supplementary work or engage in a business of your own whilst in the UK;
  • you are a genuine Representative of an overseas business;
  • you are not being appointed as a representative of the overseas business or the UK branch or subsidiary of the overseas business is not being established mainly for the purposes of facilitating your entry or permission to stay in the UK;
  • you have English language ability of at least level A1 (CEFR);
  • you are able to and will maintain and accommodate yourself and your dependent family members in the UK without recourse to public funds.

You must also demonstrate that you have sufficient skills, experience and knowledge of the business you are seeking to represent in the UK to be able to perform your duties with full authority, to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business. You must not have a majority stake in or control a majority of the overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement.

The specific requirements, that may be applicable to you, will differ depending on your circumstances. You may wish to seek expert advice from an immigration lawyer.

If you wish to apply for a Sole Representative Visa, speak to one of our specialised immigration lawyers for expert advice by completing our “Enquiry Form”.

Can a Sole Representative own or have controlling stake in the overseas business?

As a Sole Representative of an overseas business you are not permitted by the Immigration Rules to have a own or have a majority stake in the overseas business you intend to represent in the UK, irrespective of whether that ownership or control is by means of shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship, or any other arrangement.

As Sole Representative you may have a stake in the overseas business, but you will not qualify for a Sole Representative Visa if you own more than 50% of the available shares or own 50% of the voting rights in the overseas business at the date of your application.

Sole Representative Applicants are further required to demonstrate that they are not party to any arrangement in relation to the overseas business that effectively enables them to hold majority ownership or control of that business without owning more than 50% of the business.

Additionally, A Sole Representative’s partner or spouse who owns a majority stake in or controls the overseas business will not be eligible to apply for leave to enter the UK as a dependent family member of a Sole Representative Migrant.

Requirements Related to UK Subsidiary or Representative Branch

In order to qualify for a Sole Representative Visa, the UK Visas and Immigration must be satisfied that the sole purpose of your application is to create and supervise a wholly owned subsidiary or a representative branch of the overseas business.

A registered branch is a part of the overseas business established to represent the commercial interests of the overseas business in the UK. Establishing a registered branch in the UK enables the Sole Representative to directly engage in commercial activities on behalf of the overseas business instead of doing so from outside the UK. A subsidiary is a registered corporate body in the UK that is wholly owned or controlled by the parent company but is otherwise considered to be an independent company.

The representative establishment is required to be compliant with the UK law and in the majority of cases must be registered with Companies House within one month of opening.

Requirements Related to Overseas Business

In order to qualify for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, the UK Visa and Immigration must be satisfied that the overseas business is a genuinely active and trading commercial enterprise with its principal place of business situated outside the United Kingdom.

The UK Visas and Immigration will assess whether you meet this element of the requirement of the route by considering the following:

  • the turnover of the overseas business to determine if it is an actively trading enterprise;
  • the registered offices of the overseas business to determine if it is situated outside the UK;
  • the nature and type of the overseas business to determine whether the UK branch or subsidiary will carry out the same business as the overseas business.

Additionally, the UK Visas and Immigration must be satisfied that the overseas business intends to keep it core centre of business outside the UK. An application for Sole Representative Visa may be refused where the UK Visas and Immigration has reasons to believe that the overseas business’ intention is to transfer the centre of their business to the UK, through their subsidiary or representative branch in the UK, and to effectively cease their business operations outside the UK.

Conditions of Sole Representative Visa

If you are successful in your application for a Sole Representative Visa, your will be granted leave subject to the following conditions:

  • you must not have an recourse to public funds;
  • you must register with the police if required;
  • you must only work as a Sole Representative of the overseas business which you have been granted leave to represent;
  • you will be permitted to study in the UK, but you may need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for the course or research you intend to undertake and present it to your education provider before you start your course of study.

Switching into the Sole Representative route

You can submit an application for Sole Representative Visa from outside or from within the UK. If you wish to submit an application from within the UK, you are permitted to switch into the Sole Representative Visa category, provided that you are currently staying in the UK with leave as a Visitor, as a Short-term Student, as a Parent of a Child Student, as a Seasonal Worker, as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside the Immigration Rules.

Duration of Sole Representative Visa

If you are successful in your application for a Sole Representative Visa, you will be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK for an initial period of 3 years.

If you wish to extend your stay in the UK, as a Sole Representative of an overseas business, beyond your initial grant of leave you will be granted an extension of leave for a 2 year period provide that you meet the requirements of a Sole Representative Visa extension.

Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Sole Representative Visa Holder

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa route permits application for settlement or indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 5 years of continuous residence as a Sole Representative migrant.

To succeed in an application for indefinite leave to remain as a Sole Representative migrant, you will need to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements of Immigration Rules. You will also need to demonstrate that you have passed the Life in the UK Test.

How our lawyers can help you with your Sole Representative Visa Application

Our lawyers are specialists in UK immigration law with almost a decade of experience. We have assisted hundreds of Sole Representative Visa applicants to prepare and submit successful Sole Representative Visa applications.

Our immigration lawyers can provide you expert advice on meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules, carry out a detailed assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a Sole Representative Visa and can assist you with the preparation and submission of your immigration application.

Our lawyers combine creative energy with deep technical legal expertise to uncover innovative, out-of-the-box and unconventional strategies that help you succeed in your application even when you’re facing inherent challenges in meeting the requirements of a Sole Representative Visa.

We do this by deploying the following:

  • Taking a holistic approach to analysing every facet of each case and formulating strategies to comprehensively address every element of the case;
  • Bringing deep technical and substantive legal expertise;
  • Collaborative strategizing among specialist lawyers, who operate at different levels of seniority, bringing a wealth of technical expertise, tactical know-how and diversity of perspective on your matter;
  • Using Design Thinking to reframe the challenges you face with a view to redefining value and opening up the scope of solutions;
  • Designing customised strategy to meet your specific challenges.

What this means for you?

If you instruct us to take on your case, our scope of work will comprise of the following:

  • Taking detailed instructions to carry out a thorough analysis of your case;
  • Assessing your eligibility for a Sole Representative Visa in line with the requirements as set out in the Immigration Rules, the accompanying Policy Documents and the wider case-law jurisprudence;
  • Notifying you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case;
  • Advising you on strategies, where possible, to remedy the weaknesses in your case and better evidence the strengths of your case;
  • Providing you detailed and customised advice on the documents you need to provide in support of your application;
  • Reviewing your documents to assess whether they meet the evidential requirements of your application and to advise you if further documents are required;
  • Drafting the application form to provide to you for review and, if required, amending the application in line with your observations;
  • Preparing a detailed letter of representations to be submitted in support of your application;
  • Submitting the application form online and arranging an appointment for the enrolment of your biometrics;
  • Responding to any queries from the Home Office regarding your application
  • Addressing any queries that you may have regarding your application and any issues arising relating to your immigration status;
  • Corresponding with the UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) to ensure a timely decision on your application.
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