Everything you need to know about the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

For foreign businesses looking to launch in the UK market, the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa offers a vehicle to enable a non-EEA national to work in the country.

Expanding into a foreign country is risky for any business; having an experienced employee who understands the UK market and has contacts with suppliers and customers goes a long way to mitigating the associated risks.

The British government is becoming increasingly strict on organisations hiring non-EEA Nationals, as such, it is imperative you seek the best advice from an experienced business immigration lawyer who understands UK immigration law before you launch your new venture in Britain.

The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is also used by entrepreneurs who do not have the required £200,000 in investment funds but want to want to launch a business in the UK. If they have the right skills, contacts, and experience, they may be able to gain a position with a foreign entity to launch that company’s product or service in Britain.

Eligibility criteria for UK Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

The application criteria for the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa are strict. The person you wish to engage as your organisation's sole representative in the UK would normally need to prove to Home Office officials they:

  • have strong knowledge and expertise of the industry in which the parent company operates

  • can support themselves in their family members without recourse to public funds whilst they are in the country

  • meet the English language requirements

  • are currently in a senior position in the parent company; however, generally, they cannot be a majority shareholder

  • they have been given authority to make decisions on the company's behalf

  • they do not intend to take on any other type of employment in the UK

  • there is an intention to create an entity in the UK in the form of a wholly owned subsidiary or a branch office

It is important to note that there is no minimum salary requirement for people coming to the UK on a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa.

If you are looking to use this visa type as an alternative to the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa, you need to be able to prove that you are employed by the company looking to set up a wholly owned subsidiary or a branch office, and that the parent company’s headquarters are located outside the UK.

Can someone on a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa bring their family with them to the UK?

If you are successful in your application for a Sole Representative Visa, you may be able to bring your dependents to Britain to live with you. A dependent is classed as:

  • your spouse or partner, and/or

  • children under the age of 18 years

Your family may have to apply separately to gain entry clearance into the UK.

How long can I stay in the UK on a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa?

If your application is successful, your visa will initially be granted for three years. You can then apply to extend the visa for a further two years, after which you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain is an important step for you and your family. It can be a complex process hence it is often best to instruct an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure your application is completed correctly and the required supporting documents are submitted.

Both you and your family members will need to pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test (except if you are under 18 or over 65 years) and meet the English language requirements (except those over 65 years) to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Documents to support your application

An experienced immigration solicitor will advise you on the best documents to submit.

When considering your application, the Home Office will need to see documents showing the following:

  • the nature of the business undertaken by your non-EEA company does i.e. the type of commercial activities it undertakes

  • the accounts and financial records of the parent company

  • a letter from the parent company stating that it intends to create a wholly owned subsidiary or a branch office in the UK which will carry out the same type of commercial activities that are undertaken by the parent company

  • a letter detailing your experience within the industry, stating that you will be responsible for setting up the wholly owned subsidiary or branch office and have been given the power to make the decisions needed to successfully launch the UK entity

  • your employment contract, current salary, and job description

How OTS Solicitors can assist with your application for a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

We have worked with many HR directors and individual applicants of the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa to make a successful application to UK Visas and immigration. Our business immigration solicitors have an in-depth understanding of the requirements of the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa.  By instructing us you can be confident that your application and supporting documents will be submitted correctly, and any information required by immigration officials regarding your application will be dealt with quickly and professionally.

The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa affords companies outside the EEA an opportunity to expand their organisation into the wealthy and buoyant UK market. By sending over a single highly experienced employee to launch your products and services in Britain, you will mitigate the challenges that are commonly associated with setting up a full team in a foreign country, achieving your goal in less time and with less cost.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London.  By making an appointment with one of our immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960.