You need to apply for a ‘Standard Visitor’ visa if you intend to visit the UK for business-related activities and you are a ‘visa national’, e.g. you are from India, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria. There are certain nationalities that are visa exempt for visit purposes, e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Visa exempt nationals can come to the UK to do permitted visitor activities without the need to first apply for a visa from the UK Home Office. However, when the visa exempt nationals arrive at the UK border, an immigration officer will ask them about the purpose of their visit and may question them further to establish if their planned activities in the UK are permitted under the visitor category.
General permitted business activities are:
- attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;
- give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser;
- negotiate and sign deals and contracts;
- attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling;
- carry out site visits and inspections;
- gather information for their employment overseas;
- be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.
Other permitted business activities:
An employee of an overseas based company may:
- advise and consult,
- provide training, share skills and knowledge
providing that the above activities are done for a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group, provided no work is carried out directly with clients.
An internal auditor may:
- carry out regulatory or financial audits at a UK branch of the same group of companies as the visitor’s employer overseas.
An employee of a foreign manufacturer or supplier may:
- install, dismantle, repair, service or advise on equipment, computer software or hardware where it has a contract of purchase or supply or lease with a UK company or organisation.
A client of a UK export company may:
- be seconded to the UK company in order to oversee the requirements for goods and services that are being provided under contract by the UK company or its subsidiary company, provided the two companies are not part of the same group. Employees may exceptionally make multiple visits to cover the duration of the contract.
Scientists and researchers may:
- gather information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas or share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided the visitor is not carrying out research in the UK.
- take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors) and carry out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution.
- If they are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.
An expert witness may:
- visit the UK to give evidence in a UK court.
Other witnesses may:
- visit the UK to attend a court hearing in the UK if summoned in person by a UK court.
An overseas lawyer may:
- advise a UK based client on specific international litigation and/or an international transaction.
Religious workers may:
visit the UK to preach or do pastoral work.
An artist, entertainer, or musician may:
- give performances as an individual or as part of a group,
- take part in competitions or auditions,
- make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities, take part in one or more cultural events or festivals on the list of permit free festivals in Appendix 5 (where payment is permitted).
Personal or technical staff or members of the production team of an artist, entertainer or musician may:
- support the activities of an artist, entertainer or musician, provided they are attending the same event, and are employed to work for them outside of the UK.
Film crew (actor, producer, director or technician) employed by an overseas company may:
- visit the UK to take part in a location shoot for a film or programme that is produced and financed overseas.
A sports person may:
- take part in a sports tournament or sports event as an individual or part of a team,
- make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities,
- take part in trials provided they are not in front of a paying audience,
- take part in short periods of training provided they are not being paid by a UK sporting body,
- join an amateur team or club to gain experience in a particular sport if they are an amateur in that sport.
Personal or technical staff of the sports person, or sports officials, may:
- support the activities of the sports person if they are attending the same event as the sports person. Personal or technical staff of the sports person must be employed to work for the sports person outside the UK.
Individuals employed outside the UK may visit the UK to take part in the following activities in relation to their employment overseas:
- a translator and/or interpreter may support a business person in the UK, provided they will attend the same event(s) as the business person and are employed by that business person outside of the UK;
- personal assistants and bodyguards may support an overseas business person in carrying out permitted activities, provided they will attend the same event(s) as the business person and are employed by them outside the UK. They must not be providing personal care or domestic work for the business person;
- a driver on a genuine international route delivering goods or passengers from abroad to the UK;
- a tour group courier, contracted to a company with its headquarters outside the UK, who is entering and departing the UK with a tour group organised by their company;
- a journalist, correspondent, producer or cameraman gathering information for an overseas publication, programme or film;
- archaeologists taking part in a one-off archaeological excavation;
- a professor from an overseas academic institution accompanying students to the UK as part of a study abroad programme, may provide a small amount of teaching to the students at the host organisation. However this must not amount to filling a permanent teaching role for that institution.
Overseas graduates from medical, dental or nursing schools may:
- undertake clinical attachments or dental observer posts provided these are unpaid, and involve no treatment of patients. The visitor must provide written confirmation of their offer to take up this post and confirm they have not previously undertaken this activity in the UK;
- take the following test/examination in the UK:
- the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test, where the visitor can provide written confirmation of this from the General Medical Council; or
- the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE) for overseas, where the visitor can provide written evidence of this from the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Employees of an overseas company or organisation may:
- receive training from a UK based company or organisation in work practices and techniques which are required for the visitor’s employment overseas and not available in their home country.
An employee of an overseas based training company may:
- deliver a short series of training to employees of a UK based company, where the trainer is employed by an overseas business contracted to deliver global training to the international corporate group to which the UK based company belongs.
Permitted paid engagements:
- an academic who is highly qualified within his or her field of expertise may examine students and/or participate in or chair selection panels, if they have been invited by a UK Higher Education Institution or a UK based research or arts organisation as part of that institution or organisation’s quality assurance processes.
- An expert may give lectures in their subject area, if they have been invited by a UK Higher Education Institution; or a UK based research or arts organisation provided this does not amount to filling a teaching position for the host organisation.
- An overseas designated pilot examiner may assess UK based pilots to ensure they meet the national aviation regulatory requirements of other countries, if they have been invited by an approved training organisation based in the UK that is regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority for that purpose.
- A qualified lawyer may provide advocacy for a court or tribunal hearing, arbitration or other form of dispute resolution for legal proceedings within the UK, if they have been invited by a client.
- A professional artist, entertainer, musician or sports person may carry out an activity directly relating to their profession, if they have been invited by a creative (arts or entertainment) or sports organisation, agent or broadcaster based in the UK.
Meet the team
Andrew Firman is a partner in our corporate & commercial team. His employment practice covers both contentious and non-contentious work for both employers and employees. His corporate and banking practice concentrates on contractual and advice work given mainly to SMEs and charities. Additionally, he advises both individuals and businesses on a range of immigration matters.
In his work, Andrew looks for proactive and pragmatic solutions derived from a proper understanding of the client’s perspective and against the background of the commercial constraints.
Career highlights include
- running a David v Goliath style battle for a former employee of a US based bank related to the late vesting of share options following that employee’s termination at a time when the US markets were in freefall
- negotiating, finalising and drawing down for an off-shore SPV borrower at £310M facility to buy a group of companies which owned, as an investment, the London HQ of a multinational corporation
More recently, Andrew has advised upon
- the sale of a leading clinician–led healthcare consulting and IT services group to a global technology and services company specialising in the healthcare field
- the restructuring and relocation of a nutritional supplements business within the UK
- settlement of a long running shareholders dispute concerning a company running a niche members’ gym in a close knit area of London
- finalisation of the UK legal aspects to a cross border merger with an Italian company
- the negotiation of departure terms for the CEO of a leading interdealer broker
Andrew has over the years enjoyed advising many owner-managed SMEs on the range of their needs for commercial, employment and dispute related legal advice. He is delighted that the firm has recently received recognition through the award by Acquisitions International of “UK Most Trusted Law Firm of the Year to SMEs 2013” because it goes to the depth of the relationships the firm has with its clients and its target market in terms of size of business clients.
Andrew was educated at Nailsea School and holds degrees in law from Manchester and Leicester Universities. He qualified as a solicitor in 1995. He is a co-author of a Practical Guide to Drone Law.
Away from the office Andrew, married to a local GP and of occasional use to his three teenage children, runs and is heavily involved in his local church.
Katarzyna (Kate) Boguslawska is a Partner in our corporate and commercial department.
Kate’s clients range from start-up owners through to SMEs and some global main-players who need advice on business-related matters. These range from advice on employment and company matters to contract drafting and disputes. Kate understands her clients, their needs and goals. Her clients often praise her pragmatic approach and tailored practical advice.
In her employment practice Kate:
- drafts contracts, handbooks and company policies
- provides regular Employment/HR Advice
- negotiates contracts
- drafts and negotiate settlement agreements
- helps to navigate through TUPE, restructure and redundancies
- advises and represents in claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination, breach of contract, unlawful deduction from wages, etc
- advises on injunctive relief and restrictive covenants
Notable employment work included:
- advising a well-known English designer in company restructure and redundancies;
- advising employers and high net worth individuals on settlement agreements and severance packages;
- regular HR advice to a number of company clients;
- advising media company on contracts and issues relating to confidentiality, IP and restrictive covenants;
- representing high earning claimants in ‘Stress at Work’ personal injury matters.
In her commercial and company practice Kate:
- advises on suitable business entities and company formation;
- advises on company and directors’ duties;
- drafts necessary company documents including amended articles and resolutions;
- drafts and negotiates contracts and shareholders’ agreements;
- advises on shareholders disputes.
Notable commercial work included:
- advising and representing foreign companies establishing business in the UK;
- advising companies on matters involving directors’ duties and shareholders’ disputes;
- advising a Polish PLC on contract matters and negotiating on its behalf with an English PLC;
- representing an international cosmetics company in injunctive relief and restraint of trade matters;
- representing hauliers in representations against Border Force and HMRC in excise duty matters;
- advising EU nationals on immigration issues, residency and citizenship applications in the UK.
Kate has strong links in the Polish community and is recommended by the Polish Embassy in London, having co-written a Guide for Polish Investors in the UK that was published by the Embassy. She has a broad network of international connections and has been instructed by law firms in Poland to assist their clients in matters involving English jurisdiction.