The main visa types to start a business in the UK

16 Dec 2022, 48 mins ago

United Kingdom, and especially London, has been one of the major global financial and business centres for decades. Many individuals and companies strive to either start a new business in the UK or expand their current business to this country.

The current UK Immigration Rules offer several immigration routes that will allow individuals to come to the UK to establish a business. We focus here on the three main routes for business – the Innovator visa, UK Expansion Worker visa and Skilled Worker visa.

Innovator visa

The UK Innovator visa is aimed at established entrepreneurs who are planning to launch a new business in the UK or potentially to expand an existing UK business that they have already founded. To be eligible for this visa, applicants will need to have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their business. Their UK business idea needs to be innovative, viable and scalable and must be approved by an endorsing body. There is a number of authorised endorsing bodies, and the choice of which body to apply to often depends on the type of business; therefore, it is recommended that the potential applicants research the relevant endorsement body and prepare the required documents accordingly.

UK Expansion Worker Visa

This visa route has been introduced to allow an established overseas businesses that has been operating for at least three years, to set up a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK. This UK entity can then sponsor an existing senior manager or specialist employee of the overseas business to be assigned to the UK for a temporary period of time to establish and expand the UK presence.

If the UK establishment is already trading, this route is not an option.

Skilled Worker visa

The Skilled Worker visa is the main immigration route used by UK companies to employ non-UK resident workers.

A UK business can apply for a licence in order to sponsor employees in skilled roles, and this can include someone who has founded, owns, or has a significant stake in the business. However, there is likely to be careful scrutiny of whether the business is a ‘sham’, and whether it has a genuine need to employ the particular individual in the UK.

The business must be trading, and will also need at least one employee or Director who is based in the UK and is British or settled here, as well as an account with a bank that is FCA and PRA regulated.

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 TwitterFacebook, 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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