The Sole Representative Visa is an ideal UK Immigration category for overseas companies that wish to send one key individual to the United Kingdom to establish a UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary for the overseas company.
Overseas newspapers, news agencies, or broadcasting organisations who want to post an employee on a long-term assignment to the UK, are also able to do so, making use of this UK Immigration category.
How to qualify for the Sole Representative Visa
In order to qualify for the sole representative visa, the non-EEA applicant must have been recruited as an employee outside the United Kingdom by a firm whose headquarters and principal place of business is outside the UK. The firm must not have another branch, subsidiary or representative in the UK.
The applicant must be a senior employee, intending to be employed full time, with full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas firm. The applicant’s presence in the UK must be to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas firm. The applicant will also be required to have extensive related industry knowledge and experience.
The applicant is allowed to be a shareholder in the overseas firm, but may not be a majority shareholder.
The applicant will have to fulfill an English language requirement and proof that he/she has enough money to support him/herself without recourse to public funds.
Spouses and dependants of the Sole Representative
The dependents will be granted the same period of leave as the main applicant and will be able to work without restriction in the UK.
If you have children of school going age, you can read our article on choosing a UK school for your child.
Length of stay and right to work
The Sole Representative visa is granted for an initial period of three years which then may be extended for an additional period of two years.
The visa holder will only be allowed to work for the overseas office, and may not engage in self-employment or work for another company. Should the employer end the sole representative arrangement, the visa holder will no longer be able to stay in the UK.
There is no recourse to public funds, whilst in the UK as the holder of a Sole Representative visa.
Permanent Residence in the UK
At the end of successful completion of a five-year period on the Sole Representative visa, the holder can, subject to certain requirements, qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.