The pandemic radically disrupted commercial activity across the globe, with many businesses unable to survive. The businesses that are still standing are struggling to regain their previous position. Expansion plans, in the highly competitive global market, have to be thought about very carefully when considering tackling a new market in another country.

Following Brexit, trade between Europe and the United Kingdom has been dogged by red tape and delays. However, an overseas company setting up a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom may make it far easier.

Global Business Mobility (UK Expansion Worker) Visa was introduced by the Home Office in April 2022 and provides an overseas business considering expansion into the United Kingdom with the opportunity of sending up to five existing members of staff in key positions in the parent company to the United Kingdom to assess and evaluate the viability of the market without the necessity of having a business presence in the United Kingdom.

Vincenzo Senatore, senior partner, pointed out "the advantage of being able to assess all the commercial aspects in a potential marketfrom legal and regulatory environment, operating costs, commercial real estate costs, workforce skills and consumer demand and more, without having the costs of setting up a company is invaluable." Vincenzo also remarked "once all the key research has been carried out the new branch has the best chance of success in a crowded market. The key employees can remain in the United Kingdom for a period of 12 months, with the possibility of renewing the visa for a further 12 months. Also, certain dependent family members of an applicant can apply for visas providing there is adequate financial provision for them"

In order to qualify for a Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) Visa there are various requirements, an individual must be sponsored by an organisation with a presence in the United Kingdom. Giambrone & Partners expert immigration lawyers can advise on attaining a sponsor licence. An overseas business can acquire such a presence by either buying or leasing a business premises or registering a business in the United Kingdom with Companies House either as a new company or a subsidiary of the business overseas.

Sponsor Licence

There are further obligations that the Home Office requests before a Sponsor licence is granted:

  • Certified translations of all supporting documents that are not in English
  • Evidence of the business's overseas trading presence
  • A convincing and detailed business plan outlining the intention to establish a trading presence in the United Kingdom within the following two years, in the same industry sector as the parent company
  • Evidence that the business has been actively trading for at least three years with evidence of constant trading in the previous 12 months

Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) Visa

There is no obligation to speak English but employees eligible for the Global Business Mobility (Expansion Worker) Visa must be senior staff and be able to fulfil the criteria as follows:

  • The applicant must be qualified to - Quality Framework (RQF) at level 6 or over – graduate level.
  • They must have been employed by the company for at least 12 months prior to their application or have a salary of £73,900 or over per annum
  • The general salary level must equal or exceed £48,800 per annum
  • You are able to support yourself without relying on State funding
  • Start date no later than three months after receiving your visa
  • You hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship

Our immigration lawyers point out that a company should allow adequate time to prepare for each step. Once the business is up and running there are other visas for workers that can be applied for depending on their skills and seniority.

Vincenzo Senatore is dually qualified Italian Avvocato (with Higher Rights of Audience) and English Solicitor and also qualified to plead before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

He is well-regarded for his astute analysis of complex situations and his agile ability to navigate the intricacies involved in cross-border disputes and advises clients in a broad range of matters including national and international businesses, focusing on complex cross-border issues, assisting in contentious commercial issues involving share price disputes, breaches of contract and merger and acquisition disputes.

He also advises on business immigration and the associated issues when setting up a business in the UK including guidance on the most suitable type of entity, the employment related issues and compliance with regulatory obligations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.