Applying as a Representative of an Overseas Business

This category provides a route of entry and stay in the UK for individuals who will be the sole UK representative of an overseas business which seeks to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK, and
media employees of overseas newspapers, news agencies or broadcasting organisations who are being posted by their overseas employer on a long-term UK posting
This category is an employment category remaining outside of the Points-Based System (PBS). No sponsorship by a UK-based employer is required.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like assistance.

Business Visas

If you are a substantial trading company located outside the UK, and have no current UK presence, you may be able to send a member of staff to the UK on a 'Sole Representative Visa'. These days in many cases it is preferable to come under the HSMP visa category which is both more flexible and easier to obtain than the sole representative visa.

Does my Company Qualify to send a Sole Representative to the UK?

You must be a genuine existing enterprise. If you have been established for less than a year you are unlikely to be considered suitable sponsors under this category.

The sending of a Sole Representative to the UK must be for your benefit, and not for the immigration convenience of the candidate, so the budget allocated to the UK expansion should not be unrealistic in the context of your size, trading activities or profitability.

In general, the commercial logic of the proposed expansion into the UK will be called into question if you are a small concern and the new UK presence will represent a diversification into an area in which you have no existing overseas involvement.

Once you have sent the representative to the UK, the majority of your business should continue to be overseas. If it appears that the sending of the representative to the UK will result in a general move of your operations so that they are based/headquartered in the UK, the application will not be approved.

Who can be sent to the UK as a Sole Representative?

The candidate should be a senior employee recruited outside the United Kingdom. In most cases, he or she will have been employed by you overseas for a significant period of time and be fully familiar with your business and procedures. This may not be the case when the individual has been recruited specifically to fulfil the role but in these circumstances, the applicant will need to demonstrate a background appropriate to the role.

If you are a family concern, the attempt to use a Sole Representative visa to send a junior member of the family to the United Kingdom will attract particularly rigorous scrutiny and will generally not succeed where they are unsuitably qualified or experienced

The Sole Representative visa is not designed for owner-managers or entrepreneurs (if you fall into this category, please click here). The rules prohibit the candidate from owing a majority or a controlling interest in either the Overseas firm, or the proposed new UK entity. In practice the maximum permissible shareholding is not 49% but 30-35%

A Sole Representative will normally be granted an initial visa for two years. Once in the UK the sole representative and their family will usually be entitled to healthcare from the UK's National Health Service.