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2021 Guide on UK Business Immigration Process & Procedure

by UK business immigration lawyers in India & UK

Published on: 12 Oct 2021
Reading time: Approx 7 mins

In a bid to encourage and provide a conducive environment for new businesses, the UK government have opened up many routes for investment, start-ups and entrepreneurs. Applicants are encouraged to invest in or join a running business in the UK. While also making it easy for potential immigrants to move there for business and settlement through UK business immigration.

In this article we have covered the following topics:

What is UK Business visa or Business Immigration?

A UK business visit visa is suited for applicants looking to visit the UK for business-related activities like attending contract-related meetings or training, while a UK business immigration visa allows business owners and highly skilled professionals to invest, join or help run a company in the UK. This is a great way for entrepreneurs and innovators to take part in UK’s growing economy and eventually, settle there permanently.

Although, it is important to note that UK immigration rules for a business visa are determined based on the duration, purpose and eligibility of your visit.

A business visit visa is not only suitable for those who are in business only, you can apply for a UK business visa if you are:

  • Performing as an artist, musician or entertainer.
  • Visiting as a clinical performer or observer–if you are a doctor or dentist
  • Visiting for research or accompanying students on a study abroad program. They will require you to showed that you are an academic.
  • Visiting to get funding to start, take over or join a business in the UK. (this refers to getting funding from the UK to start, take over, or join a running business and not actually running a business)

To apply for a visa, for any of the above reasons, you must have the right documentation to prove so.

Record of Visas granted

UK has come up with some of the finest opportunities and convenient routes to do business and settle in the UK. According to statistics, many people have applied for various business visa categories to explore these entrepreneurial opportunities, in the past year.
By the year ending June 2021, 172,045 work-related visas were granted (dependent included). Leading a 19% increase on the year ending June 2020.

Skilled work accounts for 60% of work-related visas, was the category with the largest increase in application numbers going up to 16,775 which is 19%.

Let’s look at the statistics for granted work-related visas, by types of visas, in the table below.

Table 1 – Granted work-related visas, by types of visas

Visa Type Change Year Ending Year Ending Change
June 2020 June 2021 %
Skilled Worker 87,044 103,819 +16,775 +19%
Temporary Worker 33,672 38,180 +4,508 +13%
Other work visas & exemptions 20,139 25,070 +4,931 +24%
High Value 4,083 4,976 +893 +22%
Total 144,938 172,045 27,107 +19%

Some UK business Immigration requirements and types of visas

Standard visit visa

A standard visit visa is a replacement of Family Visitor visa, Child Visitor visa, Sports Visitor visa, Business Visitor visa, Entertainer Visitor visa, Prospective Entrepreneur visa and Medical Treatment Visitor visa. It permits you to conduct certain business activities, conditions applied. It also allows you to represent a business in the UK, for up to 6 months. The applicant is also permitted to study for up to 30 days, provided that’s not the major purpose of your visit.

To apply for a Standard visit visa, you need to validate:

  • Your intent behind coming to the UK – depending on your needs such as visiting family, visiting for business-related purposes or leisure.
  • You have the funds to support your travel, your accommodation, and other needs, receiving no public funds from the UK.
  • You will leave the UK in the given period, which is not over 6 months.
  • If you are visiting for business-related purposes, you must conduct the above-said actions only.

To know more on applying for a Standard visit visa, click on the link here

Representative of overseas business (UK Sole Rep visa)

This visa allows representatives of overseas businesses to live and work in the UK. It is a route suitable for almost all businesses, enabling them to develop a presence in the UK by opening a branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for the parent company.

You are eligible to apply for a Sole Representative visa if you are

  • The sole representative of an overseas company, intending to set up a wholly owned subsidiary or register a branch in the UK for an overseas parent company; or
  • An employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organization posted on a long-term assignment in the UK.

To know more about applying for a Sole Representative visa, click on the link

Sponsor License

A sponsor license is required to allow someone to work for you, coming from overseas. If you are employing a skilled worker who is based outside the UK, you will need to apply for a sponsor license.

You are eligible to apply for a Sponsor License if

  • You have a lawfully running organization in the UK
    (In case your company has multiple branches, one license issued will be applicable to all of them, or you can choose to apply separately as well)
  • If you registered with / monitored by a statutory body for operating lawfully in the UK, you will need to provide proof of you and branches covered under your license (if any) are registered with the above said body.
  • There are rules and regulations that a Sponsor License holder must comply with and as a part of your application, you are pledging to accept all the duties and responsibilities associated with it.

To know more about applying for a Sponsor License, click on the link here.

UK Investor Visa

A Tier 1 Investor visa category is for high net-worth individuals looking to make a substantial financial investment in the UK. This category of visa has always been attractive for those looking to gain citizenship by investment. A business investment immigration UK requires you to provide all necessary documents. Although, you are not required to have a job to apply for this visa, but your application will be assessed based on your ability to invest £2,000,000 (£2 million) in the UK.
You are eligible to apply for an Investor visa if:

  • You are age 18 and above,
  • Provide proof that the money belongs to either you, your spouse, unmarried or same-sex partner;
  • Have a bank account in the UK
  • Evidence that the funds are held in one or more regulated financial institutions
  • Free to spend (disposable) in the UK

Click to know more about Tier 1 Investor Visa

There are many more protocols in relevance to documentation and application filling – that determine the status of your visa. In the events of a refusal, you can either re-apply or a judicial review. To know more about the procedure of the two, click on the link here.

In case of refusal
Judicial Review

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Since, permissions and allowances in various types of business visas differ from each other, it can get confusing as to which one suits you and your needs, the best. At such times, it is advisable to seek assistance from professionals who can assist you through your process.

Make the SmartMove2UK and consult our UK immigration lawyers who are here to guide you with the right advice and a team of experts to look over your documentation and application process.

We consult our clients from all over the world via Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp. We also have our offices currently in India – Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chandigarh and in the UK. You can also walk in for an offline consultation at our offices in Mumbai.


A sole representative visa allows representatives of a business overseas, to work in the UK for their company or expand their business in the UK.
Entry Clearance is a procedure used by Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) overseas, before the applicant arrives in the UK, to confirm if they qualify under the immigration Rules of entry.

To check certain qualifications criteria, you must:
· Be a senior employee
· Have authority to make significant decisions
· Should not be the majority shareholder or owner either directly or indirectly

Yes, you can sponsor your dependents on a Dependent Visa, to join you in the UK.
A branch is the part of a business, and performs the same operations, but with an office running in a company overseas. A subsidiary is a type of company where another company owns and controls the business.
To apply for a UK Business Visa, you must get your requirements straight. The categories differ in terms of validity, permissions and duration. Once you have picked your category, you can apply for a UK Business Visa. Make sure your documentation and application are consistent and valid, to avoid refusal.
To enter the UK, or any other country, you need to get all of their protocols and requirements right. Incorrect details in the form or inconsistency in the documentation are some examples of grounds of refusal. There are many other factors considered before approving/refusing a visa application.

If your application is refused, you have three options–admin review, judicial review or re-application. An admin or a judicial review depends on the type of application that was submitted.

To know more about the process for the three, click on the link.

A standard business visa is for a maximum of 6 months. In case your visa was approved for less than 6 months; you can apply for an extension.
A Tier 1 Investor Visa is for individuals looking to invest at least £2,000,000 in the UK.
A standard UK Business Visitor Visa fee is £95.
The requirements depend on the category of visa you choose from.
If you are going for a Business Visit Visa, you must

  • Have valid proof of your purpose, duration and funds to support your visit
  • Visiting for business-related activities
  • Be a performer, artist or musician

The requirements differ from needs, duration, fees, etc.

To know more information on all types of visas for the UK, click here.

You can reach out to our lawyer / expert to know more about UK business immigration process & procedure – you can contact them on:



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