The Sole Representative Visa allows an overseas companies to send one key individual to the UK. This individual can then 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
To qualify for the sole representative visa, the non-EEA applicant must have been recruited as an employee outside the UK. The recruiting firm must have its headquarters and principal place of business 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 has to have extensive related industry knowledge and experience.
The visa holder 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. There is also a maintenance funds requirement.
Spouses and dependants of the Sole Representative
The dependents will receive the same period of leave as the main applicant. They 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. It is possible to apply for an extension of an additional two years.
The visa holder can only work for the overseas office. He/she may not engage in self-employment or work for another company. If the sole representative arrangement ends, the visa holder has to leave 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.