If your business relies on the contributions of migrant workers, our expert business immigration solicitors can help you navigate the tricky compliance issues that surround this area of the law.
Our business solicitors have extensive experience in advising on matters listed below:
- - Sole Representative visa of an overseas business
- - UK Start Up Visa
- - Investor Visa
- - Sponsorship Licence for Business
- - Innovator Visa
- - Global talent visa
Sole Representative Visa:
Are you eligible for a Sole Representative Visa?
To qualify as a sole representative, you must meet the following requirements:
- - be recruited and employed outside the UK by an active and trading business (whose headquarters and principal place of business are, and will remain, outside the UK)
- - have the skills, experience and knowledge to do the role
- - hold a senior position within the business (but do not own or control the majority of it) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf
- - intend to establish the overseas business’s first commercial presence in the UK, either as a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary
- - You may also be eligible if the business has a legal entity in the UK that does not employ staff or do any business.
- - If your employer has been working to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but it is not yet set up, you can replace a previous sole representative
- - You must have sufficient English language ability (CEFR level A1), and can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants without recourse to public funds
UK Start Up Visa
What are the requirements for a Start-up visa?
The Start-up visa lies beside the UK’s new innovator category; similarly with that route, it requires an individual to ascertain that they have a business idea that is innovative, viable and scalable.
- - You must receive endorsement from an approved body listed on the government website prior to applying for the visa
- - In accordance with the rules, the endorsing body must remain in contact at 6, 12 and 24 months from the grant of leave; they must inform the Home Office if contact is missed, or if an individual is not making reasonable progress with the business
- - You must present a credible business plan to the Home Office and endorsing body which demonstrates innovation, viability, and scalability. The start-up route doesn’t require any jobs to be created, unlike the innovator category, and the old entrepreneur route it replaced
- - You must hold at least £1270 in a personal bank account for days prior to the date of application. This maintenance requirement may be certified by your endorsing body. You may not have to prove this if you have been in the UK with leave in certain categories for over 12 months
- - You must satisfy the English Language requirement to Level B2 CEFR, which is higher than the B1 requirement in the old entrepreneur category
In order to qualify for entry to the UK, investors are required to make a minimum £2 million investment in UK stocks and shares. A successful Investor Visa application allows the applicant, their spouse and children under the age of 18 to live in the UK for an initial three years.
You do not need to be actively involved in UK business to be eligible for an investor visa, but you must maintain the value of your investment and a home in the UK, spending at least 180 days here in any 12-month period if you wish to qualify for settlement in the future. If you wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain, there are different criteria on how long you must have resided in the UK based on the amount of money invested. If you have invested more than £10 million in the UK, then you may qualify for accelerated settlement after two years; a £5 million investment can gain you settlement after three years.
Sponsorship Licence for Business
What is a Sponsor Licence?
A sponsor licence is the authority you need from UK Visas and Immigration to sponsor non-UK/Irish staff or students in the UK. A licence lasts four years (unless withdrawn by the Home Office) and must be renewed before expiry if you wish to continue to sponsor overseas staff.
For a UK business or educational institution to be considered for a sponsor licence, you must be able to prove the following:
- - Your business/institution is legitimate and operates lawfully in the UK
- - You have conducted a resident labour market test and failed to recruit from the resident market
- - There are proper systems in place to monitor sponsored employees/students
- - You are offering genuine employment with an appropriate salary or teaching
- - You do not have a history of rejected sponsorship applications
- - Before applying for a sponsor licence, our solicitors can take a look at your organisation’s policies, practices and documents to ensure they are in line with regulations. We can also advise on the best action to take should changes need to be made. We offer mock audits to firms wishing to test their HR systems.
The Innovator route is targeted at entrepreneurs that can prove a credible business idea and their credibility in business. The route will be open to those who have already secured endorsement from an approved governing body.
The credibility of your business idea will be assessed during the initial application process by both the Home Office and your endorsing body. This will involve assessment of documentary evidence, including your business plan, and could include an interview.
What are the eligibility requirements?
The criteria for the Innovator category differ significantly from the previous Entrepreneur rules. Key criteria include:
- - You must receive endorsement from an approved body prior to applying for an Innovator visa. The endorsing body will review the applicant’s business plan for innovation, viability, and scalability. The rules require that the endorsing body contacts the individual at 6, 12 and 24 months from the grant of your leave – the endorsing body is required to contact the Home Office should the individual not make reasonable progress with the business, or if contact is missed;
- - You must invest at least £50,000 from a legitimate source. This has been reduced from £200,000 in the Entrepreneur category. If the applicant is switching from a Start-up visa, the investment requirement is waived;
- - You must satisfy the English language requirement to Level B2, so higher than the B1 requirement in the Entrepreneur category.
Unlike the Entrepreneur route, there are no maximum time limits set for an applicant’s stay in the UK, but applicants will be required to confirm endorsement if they apply for an extension, and must meet strict additional criteria when seeking settlement in the UK.
Global talent visa:
In 2020, the existing Exceptional Talent visa route was replaced by the UK Home Office with the Global Talent visa. The route was designed to position and promote the United Kingdom as the number one destination in which to live and develop ideas, technology and prowess in fields such as digital technology. Advantages of the Global Talent visa include there being no cap on the number of visas that can be issued (although this cap was never reached with the previous visa), as well as no restrictions around job offers, salary requirements or the level of English required from applicants. You can also bring dependents to the UK, who will also be able to work or study.