Businesses that do not, yet, have a presence in the UK but have a viable and beneficial reason to expand to the UK may wish to send a representative of their company. This representative will typically be employed on a fact finding, planning, and development basis, looking for the best way to expand into the country and then developing the initial plan to help the company start a UK branch. The Sole Representative Visa for Employees is designed for this specific purpose.
The UK is always looking for successful businesses and enterprises that wish to expand into their territory. As such, they will allow companies to send representatives to scope the business industry, and to investigate whether expansion is viable. In order to send an individual to the UK, for this purpose, it is necessary to ensure that they have the appropriate sole representative visa.
The company itself must be established and successful in another country. New companies, which are those that have only been established for a year or less, are unlikely to be considered suitable. Expansion into the UK must also be considered both viable and beneficial, and that expansion should be considered an extension of existing business, so if the work that would be undertaken is considered too diverse, then this is another reason that an application might be rejected.
The individual must also meet certain requirements. They must be a senior member of the company, must be recruited outside the UK, and must usually not be a controlling shareholder or joint owner of the company. The visa is designed for employees, and not for business owners themselves.
You are able to apply for your spouse and children to accompany you under the sole representative visa, and successful application will allow your child to enjoy the same free education and healthcare as UK citizens, and your spouse is entitled to take up full time employment.
The sole representative visa is aimed at employees of established overseas companies that are looking to establish a new UK branch or office. The visa is geared towards individuals and not owners or controlling stakeholders, and it is common for the employer to arrange the visa, rather than the employee themselves.