Search

How can we help?

Icon

The UK Expansion Worker visa

As of 11 April 2022, the Global Business Mobility (GBM) routes have now replaced the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) routes. Under the GBM routes, there are five main categories including UK expansion worker visa:

  1. Senior or Specialist Worker route, replacing the Intra-Company Transfer route
  2. Graduate Trainee route, replacing the ICT Graduate Trainee route
  3. Service Supplier, replacing the provisions for contractual service suppliers and independent professionals within the Temporary Work – International Agreement route
  4. Secondment Worker route, for overseas workers being seconded to the UK as a part of a high value contract/investment by their overseas employer
  5. UK Expansion Worker route, for senior managers/specialist employees of overseas businesses who are coming to the UK to set up a branch. If the overseas business is already trading in the UK, the worker should instead apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa.

Existing ICT workers are eligible to apply for extensions and changes of employment under the Senior or Specialist Worker and Graduate Trainee routes, and dependant family members of workers on ICT routes can apply to join them under the provisions of the Senior or Specialist Worker and Graduate Trainee routes.

None of the five categories provide a path to settlement in the UK, and leave granted under these routes cannot be combined with leave granted under another Points-Based System (PBS) route to count towards a qualifying period of stay for settlement.

The UK Expansion Worker route replaces the provisions for Sole Representatives in the Representative of an Overseas Business route, however workers already in the UK with permission on the Representative of an Overseas Business route are not expected to switch to the UK Expansion Worker route.

A senior manager or specialist worker applying for a UK Expansion Worker visa must evidence the below with their application.

UK ‘footprint’

The applicant must provide evidence that their overseas business has established a UK ‘footprint’ (registered with Companies House or purchased/leased business premises in the UK) if:

  • The applicant’s overseas business is listed on the London Stock Exchange;
  • An international stock exchange that the Financial Conduct Authority considers to have an equivalent level of regulation to UK markets; or
  • Its expansion to the UK is supported by the Department for International Trade/Department for Business/Energy and Industrial Strategy/another government department.

Overseas trading presence

The applicant must evidence that their overseas business has been continuously trading overseas for at least 12 months immediately preceding the date of application in addition to providing evidence of their business trading overseas three years prior to the date of their application.

Japanese businesses are exempt from the requirement to show a trading presence three years prior to applying, however if this is not provided, the business will be limited to sponsoring one employee at a time in the UK.

Rebecca Hone

Senior Associate

View profile

+44 20 7539 8019

The UK Expansion Worker route replaces the provisions for Sole Representatives in the Representative of an Overseas Business route

Planned expansion to the UK

The applicant must evidence their overseas business’ UK expansion plans in the form of a business summary or business plan, market research, etc. and show the capability of the business to fund the planned expansion to the UK. Specifically, that the business has the requisite funds to cover the initial costs in the first 12 months of UK trading, as projected in the business expansion plan.

There are various documents which must be provided in support of a UK Expansion Worker’s visa application, with little room for error or omission. We have yet to see how flexible or inflexible the Home Office is when considering UK Expansion Worker applications, but as ever with all types of UK visa applications, the safest approach is to always provide more documents and information than less.

The incorporation of the Global Business Mobility routes is one fragment of the UK government’s wider ‘Plan for Growth,’ which also includes the upcoming introduction of the High Potential Individual visa route for ‘top global’ university graduates to work and eventually settle in the UK without sponsorship, set to open on 30 May 2022, and the Scale-up visa route for SMEs to employ highly-skilled migrant workers without the need to sponsor them, scheduled to open on 22August 2022.

Sign up below to our mailing list to keep to date with the changing immigration law as the Government look to bring business to the UK following Brexit.

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Rebecca Hone

Senior Associate

View profile

+44 20 7539 8019

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 19 July 2024
  • Immigration

UK Immigration Rules for Business Visitors: Flexibility and Controversies

The UK’s immigration rules have changed significantly in the past five years and have introduced greater flexibility for non-EEA nationals who wish to visit the UK as business visitors.

art
  • 17 July 2024
  • Commercial Real Estate

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024: what does it mean for my leasehold property? 

The leasehold system in the UK has been subject to some unfavourable press for some time now.

art
  • 15 July 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

The duty to protect third parties: is your DSAR response compliant?

Responding to a data subject access request (DSAR) may feel like a daunting process. It requires a solid understanding of the data subject’s rights, and of the meaning of personal data.

art
  • 10 July 2024
  • Employment

Redundancy : Back to Basics FAQs

Redundancy can be a scary and overwhelming time both for employees being made redundant, and for those that have to make the decision. It is important for both parties to know their rights and obligations in this time.

art
  • 09 July 2024
  • Litigation and dispute resolution

Buyer Beware: Practical Guidance for Breach of Warranty in an SPA

Are you buying a business? Whether you are buying shares in a company or purchasing its assets… the general Latin common law principle “caveat emptor” applies.

art
  • 08 July 2024
  • Corporate and M&A

Navigating corporate transparency: ECCTA reforms series

This is the second article in a series exploring the changes brought by the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA).