UK Expansion Worker

The UK Expansion Worker visa is part of the Global Business Mobility route. The UK Expansion Worker route is a sponsored route for overseas businesses or companies who wish to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. It allows eligible businesses to sponsor senior managers or specialist workers to undertake work related to the expansion of business in the UK for a temporary period.

UK Expansion Worker visa has replaced the Sole Representative provisions of the Representative of an Overseas Business route from 11 April 2022. This route is for overseas businesses who have not yet begun trading in the UK. If the overseas business is already trading in the UK, they should seek alternative routes like a Senior or Specialist Worker or Skilled Worker visa.

In order to be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa, an applicant must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer; have worked with the employer outside the UK; have a job that is on the list of eligible occupations and will be paid the minimum eligible salary required for the job.

UK Expansion Workers must be paid at least the general salary threshold of £42,400 per year or the specified going rate for the occupation (whichever is higher).

Unless an exception applies, the applicant must have worked outside the UK for the linked overseas business for a cumulative period of at least 12 months.

Applicants under the UK Expansion Worker visa category who is applying for entry clearance or have been in the UK for less than 12 months on the date of application must have held funds equalling £1,270 for 28 days as at the date of application.

If the applicant is applying for permission to stay and has been in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of the application, then they do not have to meet this requirement.

Sponsor requirements for UK Expansion Workers
The employing UK business must be a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business, although and the UK business has not yet begun trading. When sponsoring an applicant under the UK Expansion Worker route, the sponsor must hold a valid licence for this category and ensure that the employment on offer in the UK meets the relevant skill and salary requirements. Only then can the sponsor issue a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

The employing UK business must show there is a qualifying link between themselves and the overseas business that will send workers.

When applying for a licence to sponsor applicants on the UK Expansion Worker route, the sponsor must show that they have:-
  • a UK ‘footprint’
  • an overseas trading presence
  • credible plans to expand to the UK and establish a trading presence within two years

The UK Businesses wishing to apply for a UK Expansion Worker sponsor licence are required to have a UK footprint rather than a trading presence. They are required to provide evidence of either a UK premise or Companies House Registration, but they should not yet have begun trading in the UK.

The overseas business, on the other hand, will need to be active and trading. The Home Office will normally expect the overseas business to have traded for at least 3 years (although there are some exceptions).

The overseas business will also need to satisfy the Home Office that it is capable of successfully expanding into the UK. It will need to provide a credible business plan for expansion and demonstrate that it can finance its expansion plans. The Home Office will normally expect the overseas business to be a stable or growing business that has undertaken preparatory work towards expansion.

Points requirement for a UK Expansion Worker
As a points-based system visa, the UK Expansion Worker visa requires applicants to be awarded a total of 60 points against the following three criteria: sponsorship, skill and salary.

Criteria Points
Sponsorship 20
Job at an appropriate skill level 20
Salary 20

Once the UK branch has a Sponsor Licence, they can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the applicant to apply for their visa.

Skill level
The job that the applicant, as stated on the CoS, must be listed as eligible for the Global Business Mobility routes in Appendix Skilled Occupations.

Salary requirement
The applicant's salary for the role in the UK, as stated on the CoS, must be at least £42,400. This is known as the "general salary requirement".

In addition, the salary must also be at or above the "going rate" referred to in Appendix Skilled Occupations. if that is higher than the general salary threshold.

Financial (maintenance) requirements
Conditions Funds required
Entry Clearance Application £1,270 for 28 days
Applicant living in the UK for Less than 12 months £1,270 for 28 days
Partner Additional £285 for 28 days
Children £315 for the first child and £200 for any other child
Permission to stay in the UK & has been in the UK for more than 12 months Exempted

Visa Entitlements
Successful applicants who meet the requirements of a UK Expansion Worker Visa UK will be allowed to stay in the UK for an initial period of 1 (one) year. Thereafter, the applicant will then be able to apply to extend their stay for up to another one (1) year. Two years is the maximum continuous period a person can stay in the UK on this route. This route does not lead to settlement.

Applicants will have free access to public schools and National Health Service. Eligible dependents may also be able to work or study without any restrictions.

  • Am I eligible to apply for settlement or ILR? v
    • The UK Expansion Worker route does not lead to a settlement or Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK.

      Once your sponsor has established a UK trading presence, they can add other routes to their licence and sponsor workers on those routes. In this situation, it may be possible, to switch from this route into an immigration category which does lead to settlement, such as a Skilled Worker visa.

  • Rights of Dependantsv
    • Dependants of a UK Expansion Worker applicant (including children under 18 years of age) or (husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner) will be eligible to live and stay in the UK with the main applicant. They can live and work in the UK without any restrictions.

      Dependants of a UK Expansion Worker applicant will be granted leave in line with the expiry date of the main applicant's leave.

      Dependants of a UK Expansion Worker visa applicant will have the following conditions attached to their leave:

      • No recourse to public funds;
      • Registration with the police, if applicable;
      • No Employment as a Doctor or Dentist in Training
        • They have obtained a primary degree in medicine or dentistry from the recognised UK;
        • They do not have any condition restricting such employment.
  • Conditions of Stayv
    • Applicants will have the following conditions attached to their leave:

      • No recourse to public funds;
      • Registration with the police, if applicable;
      • The applicant cannot take employment, except:
        • working for the sponsor in the job recorded on your Certificate of Sponsorship; and
        • supplementary employment; and
        • voluntary work; and
      • the applicant can study, provided this does not interfere with the job they have been sponsored to do.
  • Biometric Requirementv
    • Non-EEA nationals applying under UK Expansion Worker visa have to apply for a biometric residence permit.

      The biometric residence permit is a residence permit which holds a migrant's biographic details (name, date and place of birth) and biometric information (facial image and fingerprints), and shows their immigration status and entitlements while they remain in the UK. This also means that a UK visa will no longer be stamped in the applicant's passport and all applicants will be issued one of the new Biometric visa cards instead. These cards look very similar to a (pink) UK driving license, except they have a microchip in the back.

      Once the application for UK Expansion Worker visa is submitted online, applicants are required to attend their biometric appointment at one of the Visa Application Centers to provide their fingerprints, photo and signature.

      Successful offshore applicants will receive a 30-day' vignette sticker' in their passport instead of a vignette with the full grant of leave. This 30-day visa will be the date they indicated as their intended travel date in their visa application. Applicants under UK Expansion Worker visa will be required to collect their BRP from the Post Office branch detailed in their decision letter within ten days of arrival in the UK. The Post Office branch is linked to the postcode that they submitted in their visa application. The BRP card can then be used as proof of right to work, study and access public services in the UK.

  • Digital Statusv
    • EEA nationals making an application under the UK Expansion Worker visa using the UK Immigration: ID Check app will be given digital status if their application is successful.

      EEA applicants as a part of the UK Expansion Worker visa application process can use the UK Immigration: ID Check app to complete the identity stage of their visa application. Using the app, they should confirm their identity, verify their documents and take a picture.

  • Immigration Health Surchargev
    • The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the Home Office on 6 April 2015. People coming to the UK for more than six months have to pay this health surcharge as a part of their immigration application towards the National Health Service (healthcare in the UK). Offshore applicants will have to pay the health surcharge if they are applying for a visa for a period of longer than six months, and onshore applicant will have to pay the health charge for any length of visa.

      Applicants will have to pay £470 per year as a student, or as a Youth Mobility Scheme or applicant who is under 18 years. For all other visa and immigration applications, they have to pay 624 per year. Dependants will usually need to pay the same amount as the main applicant. The exact amount they have to pay depends on how much leave they are granted. They can calculate how much they will have to pay before you apply. If the period of grant applied for is less than 6 months, then half of the yearly amount to be paid and if the period of grant applied for is more than 6 months, then whole year amount is to be paid.

      Visa application will not be granted if applicants do not pay the healthcare surcharge or application will be delayed if the right amount is not paid.

      Following persons are exempted from paying the IHS:

      • diplomats or a members of a visiting armed forces and not subject to immigration control
      • dependants of a member of the UK's armed forces
      • dependants of a member of another country's armed forces who is exempt from immigration control
      • applicants for a visa for the Isle of Man or Channel Islands
      • British Overseas Territory citizens resident in the Falkland Islands
      • asylum seekers and applicants for humanitarian protection, and their dependants
      • domestic workers who have been identified as victims of slavery or human trafficking
      • those applying for discretionary leave to remain in the UK as someone who has been identified as a victim of slavery or human trafficking, and their dependants
      • those applying for permission to remain as the victim of domestic abuse, and their dependants
      • those claiming that being made to leave the UK would be against their rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and their dependants
      • Applicants and their dependants applying for Health and Care Worker visa
  • Government Fees
    • Home Office fees for UK Expansion Worker visa Application
        Postal or Standard Application Super Priority Service Overseas or Offshore Application
      Main Applicant £259 N/A £259
      Partner & Child (< 18years), applying together £1,623.00 N/A £259
      Partner & Child, applying later £259 N/A £259
  • Processing Timesv
    • In line with the Home Office service standards for processing UK visa applications for UK Expansion Worker visa, they decide within 3 weeks if applying from the outside UK and within 8 weeks, if applying within the UK.

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