UK Home Office changes to Immigration Rules (May 2020) – Representative of an overseas business or sole representative visa
The Home Office published the ‘Statement of Changes CP 232’, on 14th May 2020 introducing certain changes to the existing UK Immigration Rules pertaining to certain categories of visas/immigration applications, these impacted the following categories including Representative of an overseas business or Sole representative visa, Tier 2 intra company transfers, Start-up, Innovator and Global Talent, Restriction for Tier 4 (General) Students applying within the UK, EU Settlement Scheme and EEA Family Permit, Family category (Spouse/Civil partner) [Appendix FM and FM-SE]
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Whilst a majority of these changes are aimed at further specifying and clarifying the underlying aspects of the Immigration Rules which were provided for within the guidance for those specific categories of visas or previously left for interpretation. The changes are to take effect from 4th June 2020 (majority of them).
They key focus of the changes (May 2020) to the Sole Representative category (entry clearance applications) is on the genuineness of the applicant.
- Particularly that the applicant has been recruited and taken on as an employee outside the United Kingdom, by a business which has its headquarters and will continue to have its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK;
- Clarifying the rule on who can be a sole representative the applicant should be a senior employee of an active and trading overseas business which has no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK for the purpose of representing that business in the United Kingdom by establishing and operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of it,
- the branch or subsidiary will actively trade in the same type of business as that overseas business and is not being established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay of the applicant;
The changes also emphasise that the applicant should be able to demonstrate the skills, experience and knowledge of the business necessary to undertake that role, and the full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of that business.
It continues to emphasise that the applicant is an existing senior employee of that overseas business who intends to be employed full time as a representative of that business and will not engage in business of his own or represent any other business’s interest in the United Kingdom;
To avoid this route being used by majority owners of the business, the changes clarify that the applicant should not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, that overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement;
The major change introduced to the Sole-Representative (dependent partner) category was clarifying that where the applicant is accompanying or joining a person granted entry clearance or leave to enter or limited leave to remain as the sole representative of an overseas business, the applicant does not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, that overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement.
This is a significant change as there were no previous specifications (Rules) regarding the overseas employment/self-employment of the dependent partners of Sole-Representative visa holders.
If you would like to expand your business in the UK and would like to set up a wholly owned branch or subsidiary in the UK, contact our UK Immigration experts. At The SmartMove2UK our UK Immigration experts have helped applicants apply for entry clearance as Tier 1 Investors, Tier 2 applicants, Sole representatives of overseas business and other business visas.
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