Sole Rep of an Overseas Business Initial Application

Sole Rep of an overseas business  Initial Application

The Sole Representative of an overseas business’ UK visa category is for individuals looking to set up a branch or subsidiary in the UK on behalf of an existing overseas business. Individuals who have been posted to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary or on a long term assignment in the UK are all eligible in this category. Applicants seeking to make an initial application from outside the UK must have to obtain an entry clearance before traveling to the UK.

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A sole representative is a person who is set to establish a subsidiary or branch on the in UK for a parent company overseas. It must be established that the firm has no other representative, branch or subsidiary in the UK.

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The Sole Rep visa is officially known as a ‘representative of an overseas business’ visa and it currently leads to settlement after 5 years. Dependants and family members (spouse, children and long term cohabiting unmarried partner) will be able to accompany the Sole Rep to the UK on a depended visa having the same length of stay as that of the Sole rep they are depending on. Importantly dependants of the Sole Representative will be able to work in the UK without any restriction and they will have access to healthcare and education as British nationals.

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It is important to note that an overseas business is only allowed to have one sole rep in the UK at a time. Another person who is non-European will not be able to work for the overseas business in the UK. The business will need to apply to be granted a Sponsor license to be able to sponsor overseas workers.

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An Entrepreneur seeking to establish his business in the UK will not qualify for a Sole Rep visa; however, such an employee may qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa (Please call our Business Immigration Team to find out which business visa category you qualify for – 020 3540 7770). In order to qualify for a Sole rep visa or a ‘representative of an overseas business’ visa, the business must have already been registered and existing overseas.

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Eligibility – The Individual ‘Sole Rep’

Sole rep eligibility

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  • The individual must be an employee of an overseas business establishment posted to the UK on a long-term assignment
  • The individual must have been recruited and employed overseas.
  • Is in a top management position and therefore has the ability to make operational decisions without having to constantly consult the overseas head office.
  • The employee will be working full time and only as the representative of that overseas business.
  • The sole rep must not be a majority shareholder in the overseas firm. The sole rep category is not designed for business owners or entrepreneurs.
  • The sole rep must be able to meet the maintenance requirement for themselves as well as their dependants if any without recourse to public funds.
  • Must be meet the English language requirement
  • It would be an advantage if the prospective sole rep has held a similar role in another country and is familiar with international and global business best practices

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Eligibility – The Overseas Parent Company

  • The company’s headquarters is and will continue to remain overseas.
  • The company has no pre-existing branch, subsidiary or other sole representatives in the UK.
  • Must intend to register its first ever business presence in the UK.
  • Must be a genuine business; normally expected to have been in operation for over a year

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Please note that the Sole Rep will not be able to work for another UK business whilst in the UK.

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A major advantage of the representative of an overseas business visa category is that the prospective sole rep need not have or provide any financial resource for the establishment of the UK branch while making an application. It is expected that the parent company will fund such activities. The only financial considerations is that of the generally required maintenance funds for most visa applications as the sole rep.

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There is also minimum amount required to be earned in order to qualify or remain in this visa category. However, at the point of extension, the company must be able to show through its documents and financial records that it is stable enough to continue to support the Sole rep in the UK and that it fulfils it’s going concern.

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Length of the Leave to remain

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Under this route, the sole rep is normally granted a 2 years leave (if the leave was granted on or after October 1st, 2009) or 3 years if the last leave was granted before the 1st of October 2009. The applicant may be able to apply for a 2 years extension after the initial 3 year period has elapsed.

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In applying for an extension, the applicant will need to show that the UK branch or subsidiary has indeed been established and registered and that it is a going concern. This can be demonstrated by the company’s account, contracts, invoices, tax returns, etc.

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In order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain under this route, the applicant must have spent 5 years under the Sole Rep of an overseas business visa category.

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Other conditions of the leave to remain

  • The individual may study or work but only as the sole rep of the overseas business he represents.
  • The business will continue to have its principal place of business outside the UK.
  • The individual will not have any recourse to public funds.
  • Pass an approved English Language test or have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent that was taught in English

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No Switching Option

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The representative of an overseas business visa does not allow for in-country initial application. A person currently resident in the UK cannot switch to this visa. This means that if you are currently resident in the UK, you will need to leave the country to make an application under this route. Please note that it must be evidenced that you were not recruited in the UK.

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Summarily, the best approach for an overseas business looking to break into the UK market is to begin through the Sole Rep visa route (the representative of an overseas business visa route). This means that they will have to send one of their representatives to the UK to establish a branch in the country and then, through the UK branch, apply for a apply for a Sponsor License. With the sponsor License, they will then be able to transfer further staff from the parent company located overseas to the UK Branch through the Intra Company Transfer route.

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Sole Rep Visa Lawyers in London

We pride ourselves as a leading sole rep visa law firm in London. Our high success rate to application submitted ratio gives us even more confidence in handling any type of sole representative visa application. Be sure to take advantage of our free initial assessment over the phone to determine whether you meet the requirements to qualify or not.

For more information regarding the initial application for this route (Sole Representative for an Initial Application), please feel free to contact one of our immigration advisers on +44(0)20 3540 7770 or send us an email on info@reissedwards.com. Our specialist business immigration lawyers are keen on hearing you to assist you and your company with these UK visa processes as well as deal with any complications that you might have.