Choosing the Best Business Visa In the UK
The UK’s businesses are flourishing at a fast rate, which makes the country a preferred destination for investors and other business people. In the UK, there are a number of business visas available, and choosing the right one is essential for your needs.
If you are planning on immigrating to the UK for business, please share your thoughts below in the comments.
Doing Short-Term Business In The UK
The Standard Visitor Visa is the best option to go when you are coming to the UK for usually up to six months. But to be able to use this visa for business purposes, you must ensure that your business activities should remain limited to the following list:
- Signing deals or contracts and negotiating.
- Holding surveys and site visits.
- Collecting information for employment in foreign countries.
- Taking part in conferences, interviews, meetings, and seminars within the UK.
- Visiting trade fairs for business promotion however selling directly is not allowed.
- Getting an explanation about the demands of UK customers but any work for customers must happen outside the UK.
- Giving one or a series of speeches and holding talks but they cannot be arranged as corporate events and can’t make profits for the organizer.
Launching A Business In The UK
If you have good experience in doing business and you are a business person with a unique and practical business idea in any field, you can go for the UK Innovator Visa. In general, the business won’t exist already or if it exists, the work or trade won’t have started yet.
The requirements that you must fulfil in order to launch a business in the UK are the following:
- You must be 18 or older
- Your business must be legit.
- You must have at least £50,000 funds for investment unless an exception applies.
- You must be approved by a UK body which has estimated your plan as being operable and ascendible. You’ll be provided with an endorsement letter which should not be dated more than 3 months before your visa application.
- You must meet at least CEFR level B2 English language requirements.
The UK Innovator Visa is valid for up to three years, after that, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain and settle in the UK.
The Start Up Visa
The Start-Up visa is another good option. The key differences between a Start Up Visa and Innovator Visa are that Start Up Visa is precisely for start-up businesses and investor funds are not required. Additionally, you must be approved by a legitimate body which is either a business with a track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs or a UK higher education institution. You can’t settle in the UK directly through this visa but you can stay in the UK for two years. This visa doesn’t allow extension after two years, therefore, you need to apply for another visa category such as Innovator route or Skilled worker to stay in the UK.
What Are Other Options For Overseas Businesses Based?
If you have a business in a foreign country and want to set up a branch in the UK through the Expansion Worker Visa, you can bring senior workers including yourself for a short period in order to organize your business operations in the UK.
This UK Expansion Worker Visa visa is one of the newly sponsored five routes under Global Business Mobility (GBM). The GBM was established to boost trade in the UK before Brexit. It is a points-based visa and requires 60 points across the following three criteria:
Salary: the salary must be at least £42,400 or the current rate for the role, either is higher for gaining 20 points for salary.
Skill level: the role must be eligible in order to score 20 points for skill (generally, this means the role must be graduate level or above)
Sponsorship: To score the 20 points of sponsorship, the application must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a legitimate sponsor unless an exception is valid, you as the sponsored expansion worker need to prove that you worked for the overseas business for at least 12 months before the visa application.
The sponsoring firm must be already established overseas and must not have started trading in the UK already. A UK ‘footprint’ must be shown (e.g evidence of UK premises). Normally, the sponsor will have to show an overseas trading record of at least three years.
The business must have a valid licence for the specific worker category in order to sponsor a UK Expansion Worker. Following the licence, the UK Expansion Worker will be permitted for the visa application. A UK Expansion Worker can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to themselves by acting as the UK “Authorising Officer” of the UK sponsor licence.
Although you can not settle in the UK with a UK Expansion Worker visa, there is no minimum requirement for English level or investment into the UK company for the visa applicant.
The UK Expansion Worker visa can be extended by up to one year at a time and can provide a maximum living period of two years in the UK. However, a UK Expansion Worker can switch to a Skilled worker route after the validity period to continue long-term employment for the sponsor.
It is another route for overseas citizens who want to initiate their business in the UK or extend their business into the UK. Self-sponsorship is a more convenient route compared to others as it does not restrict the type of business you can run, it does not also need any type of endorsement or minimum investment.
There are strict criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to ensure applications are permitted only to those whose sole intention is to run a business in the UK (with a wish to manage and offer leadership). The criteria are the following:
- You have a genuine business plan, or you intend to take charge of an already established business in the UK.
- You can speak, read, and write English at the minimum level of CEFR B1.
- Have the funds and other requirements to establish a business.
- Have the relevant qualification, skills or experience to pursue a business in your field.
- You will get a salary that meets the minimum thresholds of the skilled worker route
- Have a person with settled status or a British citizen who will act as an Authorising officer/level 1 user of the sponsor licence of the business.
- You can easily transfer to settlement status with this visa compared to other business visas.
There are a variety of business visas available, and it is essential to choose the right visa for your business and personal needs. Self-sponsorship offers the most convenient and stable route for those who have the sole intention of starting or expanding their business in the UK and working for themselves in this business.
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