Gherson LLP’s ‘Friday FAQs’ – Starting a Business while on a Skilled Worker Visa; and Travelling to the UK with a Pending Visa Application

29 Sep 2023, 24 mins ago

This week our immigration specialists provide insight into the following matters:

  • I hold a Skilled Worker Visa, can I set up a business in the UK?
  • Can I travel to the UK while my UK visa application is pending?

I hold a Skilled Worker Visa, can I set up a business in the UK?

Skilled Worker visa holders are not permitted to take up self-employment in the UK.

In general, holders of Skilled Worker visas are only permitted to work for the company that sponsors them. However, it is possible to work for a business other than the one that sponsors you, provided it falls under the definition of ‘Supplementary employment’ with the following strict conditions:

  1. The supplementary work must not take more than 20 hours a week; and
  2. Either the supplementary work:
  • is in the same occupation code and at the same skill-level as the job stated on the individual’s Certificate of Sponsorship; or
  • it falls under the Shortage Occupation List.

Importantly, the definition of “work” includes paid and unpaid employment, as well as engaging in business or any professional activity.

Therefore, your ability to open and work for a business depends on whether your role in the new company complies with the conditions of supplementary employment set out above.

If the work does not fall into the definition of supplementary work, you would need to obtain a second certificate of sponsorship from the new business. In order to sponsor migrant employees, the business must apply for a valid sponsor licence from the Home Office. However, it is likely to be difficult for the company to obtain a sponsor licence to issue a certificate of sponsorship to you, if you are the majority shareholder or ultimate beneficial owner of the company.

There may be other available immigration options for you, and we recommend that you contact us for a detailed assessment of your circumstances.

I have applied for a UK visa. Can I travel to the UK while my application is pending?

As a non-visa national or a multiple-passport holder, it may be tempting to travel to the UK while your visa application is pending. The Home Office may take a long time to make a decision on your application, and while there may be matters in the UK requiring your urgent attention, travelling to the UK is not advised as it could be considered a declaration of inconsistent intentions, which may create issues on arrival at the border.

When entering the UK as a visitor, you must have an intention to leave the UK at the end of your trip. If you have an outstanding residence visa, it would be at odds with such an intention, and you may be questioned at the border and refused entry.

It is therefore not advised to travel to the UK whilst you have an application for a residence visa pending.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have not found an answer to your question, or if you would like to talk to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, 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.

©Gherson 2023