The UK Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa is for senior managers and specialist employees who wish to be assigned to the UK temporarily to undertake work related to the expansion of an overseas business in the UK. Sponsors may send a maximum of 5 workers at a time.
The UK Expansion Worker route can only be used when the UK business has not yet started trading. If the business is already trading in the UK, you should apply for a Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker Visa instead.
In order to secure a UK Expansion Worker Visa you will need to be sponsored to do a specific job, which meets certain skill and salary requirements, by an employer that has been licensed by the Home Office.
The UK Expansion Worker Visa does not lead to settlement in the UK. However, you may be able to switch into another immigration route which does lead to settlement. Applicants may be joined or accompanied by a partner and dependent children.
In order to qualify for the UK Expansion Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy the following requirements:
Aged 18 or over;
Currently working for a business or organisation that is linked to your UK sponsor by common ownership or control;
Worked outside the UK for the linked business or organisation for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless you are a high earner earning £73,900 per year or more or you are a Japanese national seeking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary of the linked business or organisation under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement;
Have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your UK sponsor for the job you are planning to do;
The job you are planning to do is genuine;
The job you are planning to do is skilled to at least RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent);
Your salary must be equal to or exceed both £42,400 per year and the ‘going rate’ for the job;
Have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
Provided a valid TB certificate, if required.
Please note the exact requirements you may need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.
The general requirements you will need to satisfy to the Home Office are that:
You are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK;
You are honest, dependable, reliable and are not engaging and have not engaged in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good;
You are capable of carrying out your sponsor duties and evidencing your compliance in a timeframe and manner set out in sponsor guidance.
To satisfy the Home Office that you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, you will need to provide certain specified documents as set out in Appendix A of the sponsor guidance.
As we examine in more detail below, it is worth noting here that one of the route-specific requirements for a UK Expansion Worker sponsor licence is that the prospective sponsor must not have an existing active trading presence in the UK, but must have a UK ‘footprint’.
The requirements specific to the UK Expansion Worker route that you will need to satisfy to the Home Office are that:
You can offer employment which meets the skill level requirement for the UK Expansion Worker route;
You can offer employment which meets the salary level requirement for the UK Expansion Worker route;
The job(s) you are looking to sponsor is (are) genuine;
You are not looking to sponsor a role which will involve working for a third party;
There is a qualifying link between you (the sponsor) and the overseas business that will send workers to you;
You are not already actively trading in the UK, but you have a UK ‘footprint’;
The overseas business that is expanding to the UK is active and trading overseas and, unless an exception applies, has been active and trading for at least 3 years;
You genuinely intend, and are able, to expand to the UK and establish a UK trading presence within two years;
The planned expansion is in the same type of business that you conduct overseas;
The business you are establishing in the UK is either wholly owned by the overseas business or is part of the same legal entity (such as a branch);
You have appointed an Authorising Officer, Key Contact and at least one Level 1 User.