Latest changes to the Sole Representative visa effective 4 June 2020

In the latest Statement of Changes, the Home Office has made a number of changes to the requirements of a Representative of an Overseas Business visa. This visa is also often referred to as the Sole Representative visa. This visa was designed for overseas companies planning to establish a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK. The changes will take effect from 4 June 2020 and is likely to make the process more challenging. Our specialist immigration team has ample experience in preparing these types of applications.

What is the Sole Representative visa?

A Sole Representative visa is a popular business visa for senior employees of overseas companies who wish to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK. Once the visa is granted the chosen Sole Representative of the overseas business will have permission to start business operations in the UK.

What are the requirements for a Sole Representative visa?

A Sole Representative visa application is made in accordance with paragraph 144 of the Immigration Rules. There are a number of requirements that must be satisfied. The Sole Representative must be applying to be the Sole Representative in the UK of the overseas employer who intends to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of the overseas business. The main requirements are:

  • The Sole Representative must have been recruited and employed from outside the UK by the overseas employer. The Sole Representative must intend to work full-time for the UK branch and not engage in any other employment;
  • The Sole Representative must be a senior employee and have the power to make operational decisions but must not be a majority shareholder in that overseas business;
  • The overseas business must have its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK and must not have an existing branch or subsidiary in the UK; and
  • The Sole Representative must meet the maintenance and the English language requirement.

Applicants must comply with the conditions of their leave once Entry Clearance is granted. Applicants must have no recourse to public funds and must register with the police under paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules (if requested).

Can you apply for a Sole Representative visa in the UK?

Unlike other business visas such as the Tier 1 Innovator and Tier 1 Start-up, a Sole Representative visa must be submitted from outside the UK. Entry Clearance is mandatory and there is no possibility of switching from within the UK. Applicants will be granted an initial visa for 3 years with an option of extending the visa for a further 2 years. After 5 years applicants and their family members can apply for indefinite leave to remain under paragraph 150 of the Immigration Rules. The Entry Clearance visa costs £610 per applicant. Family members can accompany the main applicant as long as the family members meet the requirements under paragraph 8 of the Immigration Rules.

What are the latest changes to the Sole Representative visa?

The latest Statement of Changes published earlier this month has further clarified the existing requirements and has also amended the wording within the Immigration Rules of various sections under Paragraph 144 of the Immigration Rules. One of the minor changes is that Applicants will be required to show that the overseas business has its principal place of business outside the UK and “will continue to have”. The main changes were in Paragraphs 144 (ii) (a) to Paragraph 144 (iii) (c). The paragraphs will be amended to state the following:

Paragraph 144 (ii) (a) will be amended to state “as a senior employee of an active and trading overseas business which has no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the United Kingdom for the purpose of representing that business in the United Kingdom by establishing and operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of it, where that 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; or”.

Paragraph 144 (iii) (a) will be amended to state “will be the sole representative of that overseas business present in the United Kingdom under the terms of this paragraph, with 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;”.

Paragraph 144 (iii) (b) will be amended to state “is an existing senior employee of that overseas business who intends to Page 4 of 24 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;”.

Paragraph 144 (iii) (c) will be amended to state “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;”.

The changes will be implemented for all applications submitted on or after 4 June 2020. Therefore, it is advisable that if you meet the requirements for a Sole Representative visa now you submit an application before 4 June 2020 under the old rules. However, if you wish to submit an application after 4 June 2020 you should contact our immigration team for assistance in submitting a successful application.

You can read the full Statement of Changes May 2020 here: Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules CP 232 May 2020| LEXVISA Immigration Solicitors in London

How our immigration solicitors can help with a Sole Representative visa application?

Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in Sole Representative visa applications and prepare applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful visa applications for a range of different small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The key to submitting a successful Sole Representative visa application is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules and submitting the correct supporting documents. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.

Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to submit a successful Sole Representative visa application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with an application to apply for a Sole Representative visa. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Sole Representative visa applications with our Immigration Solicitors in London

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a Sole Representative visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a Sole Representative visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements under the Immigration Rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a Sole Representative visa application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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