A guide to switching from a Sole Representative to a Skilled Worker visa

19 Apr 2024, 45 mins ago

The Sole Representative category closed two years ago and employees working in the UK are increasingly looking to move away from this category, often to a Skilled Worker visa. This blog outlines some of the steps and key considerations to bear in mind if you are considering this.

Prior to April 2022, the Sole Representative category allowed a senior employee of an overseas business to come to the UK to set up and run a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary. This route closed to new applicants on 11 April 2022 and those with permission have been able to extend and settle since.

You might now want to move away from this category, and a common pathway after being a Sole Representative is to become a Skilled Worker.

To be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, there are certain requirements you must fit:

  • Minimum Salary Requirement: You must meet the minimum salary requirement for your role, which is designed to ensure that individuals are fairly compensated for their work according to industry standards.
  • English Proficiency: This is typically proved through a proficiency test or by holding a degree from a recognised institution where English is the primary language of instruction.

If you are eligible, there are a number of steps to take when switching from the Sole Representative to the Skilled Worker visa:

  1. Applying for a Sponsorship Licence
  2. Assigning the proposed applicant a Certificate of Sponsorship
  3. Applying for a Skilled Worker visa

Important Considerations:

  • If the branch or subsidiary is a one-person operation, this will need to change as you will need a UK-based British or settled employee or office holder to take on the Key Personnel roles to apply for the Sponsorship Licence.
  • Leave enough time to start this process, as each step is separate and reliant on the completion of the previous one, you need to start early enough that the process is completed before the applicant’s current permission expires.
  • Salary: Due to the Skilled Worker minimum salary requirements, the Sole Representative’s salary might need to be increased, especially in line with the increases from April 2024.
  • Business Bank Account: If your UK branch or subsidiary was incorporated less than 18 months before the Sponsorship Licence application is made, it needs a UK business bank account with an FCA and PRA regulated bank. This needs to be factored into the timeframe you have for the process.
  • Business viability: You will need to provide evidence that the business can afford the potentially higher Skilled Worker salary.

This can be a complicated and lengthy process, so if you have any questions about the content of this blog, seek specialist advice from an immigration solicitor.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on XFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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