UK Expansion Worker Visa: Your Gateway to Working in the UK

Are you considering expanding your business to the United Kingdom? The UK Worker Expansion Visa could be your gateway to success. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of the UK Worker Expansion Visa, providing you with valuable insights and information to navigate the complexities of this visa category. Whether you are a senior manager or a specialist employee, understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and benefits of this visa is essential for a smooth and successful expansion.

The expansion worker visa is a UK visa that allows eligible foreign nationals to come to the UK to work in certain occupations. The visa is valid for two years and allows the holder to switch jobs and employers within that time. The expansion worker visa was introduced recently in response to the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. The visa is part of the government’s plans to expand the UK’s skilled workforce and attract more investment from abroad. The expansion worker visa is open to citizens of any country except those on the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) list of countries. To be eligible for the visa, applicants must have an offer of employment from a licensed sponsor and meet the English language requirements. The expansion worker visa allows holders to bring their spouse or partner and dependent children with them to the UK.

Eligibility and Requirements for the Expansion Worker Visa

To be eligible for the UK Expansion Worker Visa, applicants must fulfil specific criteria. This visa is designed for senior managers or specialist employees of overseas businesses that have not yet commenced trading in the UK. It is important to note that if the business is already operating in the UK, alternative visa options such as the Senior or Specialist Worker visa should be explored.

For citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein who started living in the UK before December 31, 2020, the EU Settlement Scheme may be applicable. However, it is crucial to understand the application deadlines. Irish citizens, on the other hand, do not require a visa or need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.


Several requirements must be met to be considered for the UK Expansion Worker Visa. These include obtaining a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from the employer, having a work history with the employer outside the UK, and having a job that falls within the list of eligible occupations. Additionally, applicants must meet the minimum eligible salary required for their specific role.

Duration and Extension

The UK Expansion Worker Visa grants individuals the opportunity to stay in the UK for a predetermined period. The duration is generally determined by the start date indicated on the certificate of sponsorship, with the maximum period being 2 years. However, individuals can apply to extend their visa for an additional 12 months if they wish to stay longer in the UK.

It is important to note that there are restrictions on the maximum time an individual can stay in the UK on certain visas. If an applicant has previously spent time in the UK on specific visas, the maximum stay on a UK Expansion Worker Visa might be affected. The allowed maximum is typically 5 years within any 6-year period.

Application Process

The application process for the UK Expansion Worker Visa involves applying online. The specific steps depend on whether the applicant is outside the UK and coming to the country, inside the UK and seeking to extend an existing visa, or inside the UK and switching from a different visa category. It is worth mentioning that eligible dependents, such as partners and children, can apply to join or remain in the UK with the main applicant.

Cost of Applying for a UK Expansion Worker Visa

Applicants, along with their partners and children, are required to pay an application fee and the healthcare surcharge for each year of their stay. Adequate personal savings must also be demonstrated. It is advisable to consult the official UK government website for the most up-to-date fee information.

Regarding processing time, applicants can submit their visa application up to 3 months before their intended start date in the UK. The decision timeline typically ranges from 3 weeks for applicants outside the UK to 8 weeks for those already inside the UK. Expedited processing options are available for an additional fee, depending on the applicant’s location.

Work Opportunities in the UK with an Expansion Worker Visa

The UK is a great place to work, and the expansion worker visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to two years. There are many opportunities for work in the UK, and the expansion worker visa gives you the chance to experience working in a new country.

There are many different types of jobs available in the UK, and the expansion worker visa allows you to apply for any type of job that you are qualified for. You can also apply for jobs that are not advertised, and you can even start your own business.

The expansion worker visa also allows you to bring your family with you to the UK, and they can stay for up to six months. This is a great opportunity to spend time with your family while you are working in the UK.

If you want to extend your stay in the UK, you can apply for an extension of your visa, or you can apply for permanent residency. The process is simple and straightforward, and it only takes a few weeks.

Hence, if you are looking for an opportunity to live and work in the UK, then the expansion worker visa is a great option for you. There are many benefits of this visa, and it is a great way to experience working in a new country.

Family Reunion and Dependents with an Expansion Worker Visa

If you’re planning to bring your family with you when you come to the UK on an Expansion Worker visa, there are a few things you need to know. First, your family members will need to apply for their own visas. You can’t include them on your application. Second, they’ll need to meet the same requirements as you do, including the English language requirement. Third, they’ll need to show that they can support themselves financially while in the UK.

Once your family members have their visas, they’ll be able to join you in the UK. You can then all enjoy spending time together and exploring all that the UK has to offer. Just remember that dependent children will need to go to school, and adults will need to find work if they want to stay in the UK long-term.

Rights and Restrictions of Holders of a UK Expansion Worker Visa

Once granted the UK Expansion Worker Visa, individuals can enjoy several rights and privileges. They are permitted to work for their sponsoring employer in the job specified in their certificate of sponsorship. Furthermore, they can pursue studies, bring eligible dependents, engage in voluntary work, and travel freely abroad while being able to return to the UK.

However, there are certain limitations to consider. Applicants should be aware that most public funds or the State Pension are unavailable to them. Changing jobs requires eligibility and updating the visa accordingly. It is also not permissible to have a second job or apply for settlement, also known as “indefinite leave to remain,” while holding the UK Expansion Worker Visa.

Renewing a UK Expansion Worker Visa

If you’re planning to renew your UK expansion worker visa, there are a few things you need to know. The first is that you must have held your previous visa for at least 12 months. If you haven’t, you’ll need to reapply for a new visa.

Second, you’ll need to show that you’re still employed by the same company and in the same role as when you originally applied for the visa. If not, you may need to reapply for a new visa.

You’ll need to submit a new application form and supporting documents, including evidence of your employment and salary. Once your application is approved, you’ll be issued a new visa valid for another 12 months.


The UK Expansion Worker Visa opens up significant business opportunities for individuals and companies looking to expand their operations into the United Kingdom. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, extension options, and fees associated with this visa category, you can navigate the immigration process with confidence. It is always advisable to seek professional advice from an immigration specialist or law firm to ensure that your application is properly prepared and meets all the requirements. Embark on your journey to business expansion in the UK today!

Expert Immigration Solicitors for Skilled Work Visa Applicants

Our immigration lawyers have extensive experience in preparing visa applications for Expansion Worker Visa applicants either in-country or out. Our immigration team can offer the following service:

  • Consultation with an immigration lawyer who can advise on the eligibility criteria of such an application;
  • Provide the applicant with a bespoke supporting documents list which will assist them in collating documents required for the application;
  • Prepare the relevant application form and detailed legal representations to accompany the application form (either in the UK or abroad); and
  • If required (and available) accompany the applicant to the visa centre so they can submit the application in person and in most circumstances, receive a decision on the same day.

We are an Immigration law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our specialist immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02030110276.

Call Now Button search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close