Representative of an Overseas Business
This visa category allows overseas businesses, (including tech businesses) to send a senior employee to the UK, in order to establish a branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas parent company. The main requirements under this route include:
The individual being sent to the UK, must be a senior employee, who has authority to make decisions on behalf of the UK branch/subsidiary.
The overseas company must intend to set up its first commercial presence in the UK.
The visa can be applied for prior to incorporating the UK entity.
No minimum salary threshold or investment amount required.
The visa allows the representative of the overseas business to commence work in the UK without any additional permissions.
The holder of the representative of an overseas business visa can apply for a skilled worker licence, should the UK business need to hire non-UK nationals in the future.
Dependants can apply at the same time as the main applicant.
The route can lead to settlement in the UK
A majority shareholder of the overseas parent company cannot apply.
Those who hold a visa in this route cannot set up their own business or work for another UK company.
The visa can be curtailed if employment in the UK comes to an end.
With the UK continuing to generate more billion-dollar tech businesses and has higher levels of investment than any other European country. There is no doubt this is an exciting time to grow your UK tech business with a diverse work force!
This is the main route by which established/recently set up UK companies hire non-UK nationals. There are two types of licences:
Skilled Worker licence
this allows UK companies to hire non-UK nationals to work in skilled roles.
this allows multinational companies to transfer graduate trainees and established employees to the UK.
The main requirements under this route include:
The company must first apply for a sponsor licence.
In order to apply for a sponsor licence, the UK company must have at least one UK based employee.
The company will need to demonstrate that it has systems in place to monitor sponsored employees.
A sponsor licence is valid for 4 years, once a company has a licence there is no limit on the number of non-UK national employees it can recruit/transfer to the UK.
Sponsored employees must work for the employer, which has issued sponsorship.
The minimum skill level for sponsorship is now RQF level 3 (A-level).
Start-ups can find the process of applying for a licence, both slow and costly.
The requirement to have at least one UK based employee before a licence can be applied for can cause problems and delays in applying.
Reporting requirements can be cumbersome.
“New businesses, particularly in the tech sector have boomed throughout 2020. According to Tech Nation’s 2021 report, ‘ the equivalent of a new tech business launched every half an hour throughout 2020’. With the changes made to the Skilled Worker route towards the end of 2020, the Government’s message to UK businesses has been clear. Companies with sponsor licenses can hire who they want, when they want as long as the role is skilled and the minimum salary requirements are met.
With the UK continuing to generate more billion-dollar tech businesses and has higher levels of investment than any other European country. There is no doubt this is an exciting time to grow your UK tech business with a diverse work force! “
Pat Saini, Co-lead of TLA Immigration Working Group
This page represents a general overview of the UK immigration options available to tech talent and tech entrepreneurs. For detailed information, please refer to the relevant pages on Gov.UK or seek independent legal advice.