Foreign company that would like to establish its first commercial presence in the UK can send one senior employee to the UK on a Sole Representative visa. Sole Representative is a good visa option for establishing initial commercial presence in the UK. It does not require specific funding and the English language knowledge required is relatively low. Spouse and children under 18 can join the Sole Representative in the UK as his/her dependants.
To qualify for the Sole Representative visa, certain criteria must be met by an overseas company and by an individual visa applicant. The overseas company must already trade for at least 12 months, must intend to establish its first subsidiary or a branch in the UK and must have no intention of moving its headquarters to the UK. Business plan for the UK expansion and financial statements of the overseas company must be provided for the application. The individual chosen for the Sole Representative role must be a senior employee of the overseas company with good knowledge of the company’s business activities/procedures, must provider specified evidence of the English language knowledge at level A1 (speaking and listening) and must NOT be a majority shareholder in the sending company. If the chosen Sole Representative applicant does not have at least 12 months employment with the overseas company, clear explanation should be provided why this particular applicant has been selected for the role.
The initial sole Representative visa is granted for 3 years and can be extended for further 2 years. To receive the Sole Representative visa extension the company’s headquarters must remain overseas, the UK company must be actively trading and the Sole Representative employee must be still required for their role and continue as most senior employee in the UK. After 5 years continuous residence in the UK, the Sole Representative visa holder can apply for settlement/Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK and then for UK citizenship. Dependants can also apply for ILR and citizenship in line with the Sole Representative.
The information contained in the article reflects legal position on 1st April 2019 and is for general information purposes only and does not aim to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. We accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Carter Lemon Camerons immigration team. The specialist team at Carter Lemon Camerons Solicitors can assist you with all immigration and business-related matters. Our years of expertise in these areas mean that we can provide tailored solutions for you. For more details, please contact our immigration team at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 7406 1000.