The Sole Representative visa allows overseas businesses to establish a presence for the company in the UK. Under this route, a senior representative from the company can seek to enter the UK to set up a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of the business in the UK.
The Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules released by the Home Office last week included tightening of the rules surrounding the Representatives of Overseas Businesses visa category, otherwise known as the ‘Sole Representative visa’.
Some of the main changes are as follows:
Tighter restrictions for business stakeholders – Previously, a majority shareholder (51% shareholding or more) could not apply under this route. The rules will now prevent people using this route when they have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control the overseas business.
Changes to dependent applications –the partner cannot “have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, that overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement”. Cumulatively, it appears that the partner and representative can together have a majority or more than a majority, but neither can individually. This means a sole representative could not transfer ownership/control or shares to their partner accompanying them to the UK to meet the requirement.
Genuine intention – The new wording states that the business’s branch or subsidiary shouldn’t be established solely to facilitate entry.
Skills and experience – Applicants must now be able to prove they have the necessary skills, experience, knowledge and authority to represent the overseas business in the UK.
For future applications, these changes mean increased scrutiny and more stringent evidence requirements to prove applicants are not using this route as a personal means of gaining entry to the UK.
These changes take effect from 4th June 2020 and will present many challenges.
If your business is looking to expand in the UK, legal expertise may be even more beneficial than before with the UK tightening the rules around this route.
Should you require our assistance, please contact our team on 01403801801 or drop us an email on [email protected]
We provide a ‘No Win – No Fee’ guarantee for all points-based system visa applications unless expressly stated at the time of appointment. We will guarantee our service for these applications by offering a full refund on our fee should it be unsuccessful.
These guaranteed terms are conditional upon the client being able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Home Office that they have earned the income claimed or that they have the necessary funding in place for maintenance or are fully conversant with their business plan in the case of Tier 1 Entrepreneurs.
It also presumes that neither the applicant nor their dependants have previously come under scrutiny or been under investigation by the Home Office for any immigration matter. In order that we can do our job properly the necessary information and details required should be made available and they must genuine as well as accurate.