A sole representative is an employee of an overseas employer who intends to be the ‘sole representative’ of that employer in the UK. This individual must intend to establish a commercial presence in the UK by operating a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK. This UK branch will be expected to operate the same type of business activity as its overseas parent.
This is an employee of an overseas media company, such as a newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organisation, who is being posted by their employer on a long-term assignment in the UK. A media company can have more than one representative in the UK at the same time.
For both categories of applicant, the individual must have been recruited and employed outside of the UK, and must intend to work full-time for their employer whilst in the UK. It should be noted that the applicant must not be a majority shareholder of their employer’s business.
Should the application be successful, the applicant will be granted permission to enter and remain in the UK for up to three years, with the option to extend this leave for another two years. After this five-year period the applicant may wish to consider applying for indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”).
Encouragingly, successful applicants for this visa are allowed to bring dependants (such as a spouse and/or children under the age 18) to the UK with them. This will of course entail various financial requirements, not least because the applicant will not have recourse to public funds.
The applicant will be required to show that they meet the English language requirement. We would be happy to discuss and provide details of what this requirement entails.
Consultant & Trainee Solicitor, specialising in all aspects of corporate immigration
Solicitor in our Corporate Immigration team
FAQs For Sole Representatives
How do I show that I will be a sole representative of an overseas business in order to obtain a visa in this category?
Sole representatives of overseas businesses should be able to provide evidence (usually an employment contract) that they have been hired in a senior job role within the company you intend to represent, and that you have authority to take operational decisions for the business in the UK. It may help if you are experienced in setting up branches for other companies.
What would the business need to show in order for me to obtain a visa as a sole representative?
The parent company must be a genuine commercial enterprise with its principal place of business outside the UK. The Home Office will consider evidence of the parent company’s turnover, registered offices and the type of business being operated to be satisfied the company is actively trading.
What are the minimum salary and working hours for sole representatives of overseas business?
Although there are no pre-set requirements for salary and working hours for sole representatives, it is intended that these should be in line with the role of a person of authority. The salary must also be sufficient to support the applicant and their family without recourse to public funds.
Can I take additional employment outside of the business that I am representing?
No. You will be unable to take up any other employment.
Can I move the entire business to the UK if I am granted a visa as a sole representative of an overseas business?
The company must intend to keep its main centre of business abroad. However, there is no barrier to the UK branch or subsidiary overshadowing the parent company in the long term.
I am a shareholder in the parent company, will my sole representative visa application be refused?
You will be refused a visa as a sole representative of an oversee business if you own more than 50 per cent of the shares in the parent company.
The business already has a branch in the UK, can I still apply for a visa as a sole representative?
You may be able to obtain a visa as a sole representative of an overseas business even after a branch has been set up in the UK, provided that the branch exists only as a legal entity, no staff have been employed there and it has not yet conducted any business.
FAQs For Media Representatives
Can I take up additional employment when in the UK with a Media representative visa?
You will not be permitted to take up any other employment outside of your work for the overseas media organisation.
Are there minimum working hours requirements for a Media representative visa?
As a representative of an overseas media organisation, you must be employed on a full-time basis, usually a minimum of 35 hours per week.
Can I travel abroad for work when in the UK as the representative of an overseas media organisation?
The media representative of an overseas media organisation visa route does not prevent international travel for work, however the representative should be based mainly in the UK and working on a UK long-term assignment.
I am not a journalist. Can I apply for a visa as the representative of an overseas media organisation?
Although applicants in this category are usually journalists, other employees are also eligible to apply. Some examples include producers, news cameramen and front-of-camera personnel. However, administrative support staff do not qualify and must apply under an alternative immigration route.