One of the key issues facing most business thinking about sending an employee to the UK is trying to work out the most appropriate visa for the type of work that their employees is coming to do in the UK.
This article will provide an overview of the current UK immigration categories, which employers will need to consider.
This visa category is suitable for employees travelling to the UK as ‘business travellers’. If you are a non-visa national you are not required to make a visa application prior to your arrival and will simply be granted entry at the UK border although you may be asked about the purpose of your visit and on some occasions required to provide documentary evidence regarding your stay in the UK.
For nationals requiring a visa one will usually be required to make an application prior to coming to the UK and would be usually expected to provide evidence of their employment overseas together with supporting evidence regarding their visit to the UK.
Once the application has been approved (at the border or via the overseas visa application centre), the visa is granted for 6 months (on a multiple entry basis) and will allow business travellers to hold meetings, attend site visits, sign contracts, fact find, troubleshoot or attend conferences in the UK.
This visa category is usually the most appropriate for those organisations looking to establish their first UK presence and would like to assign a senior employee or senior executive from their overseas operations to do this.
The employee or executive will need to apply for this particular visa category in advance of arriving to the UK and they will need to satisfy the Home Office that the business will remain headquartered overseas and provide some information about what they are intending to do in the UK on behalf of their employer. Usually a business plan will suffice.
An applicant will also need to provide some evidence of their previous employment history with the organisation why they have been chosen for this project. The employer will also need to confirm that employee coming to the UK will have the authority to take decisions in relation to the UK entity once established.
Following approval of the application the visa allows the employee or executive the right to live & work in the UK (along with their family members) together with an opportunity to settle permanently after 5 years.
Organisations with multiple international offices will usually utilise the Intra-company category, as it allows them to post /relocate existing employees to work in the UK for a period between 1- 5 years provided that the employee will return to their original location or be assigned to another post elsewhere.
In order for the organisation to do this, the UK entity must have in place a Sponsor Licence (granted by the Home Office) and the role for which the employee is being posted to the UK must be for a skilled role as defined on the Home Office list.
The employee will only be allowed to undertake the work associated with his role as set out in the Home Office list.
This category allows a UK entity to hire from overseas a skilled migrant worker (this can include employees working for you already outside the UK).
Much like the Intra-company category in order for the organisation to do this the UK entity must have in place a Sponsor Licence (granted by the Home Office) and the role for which the employee is being posted to the UK must be for a skilled role as defined on the Home Office list. The employee will only be allowed to undertake the work associated with his role as set out in the Home Office list.
The key differences of this category from the Intra-company category is that the UK entity will need to be able to demonstrate that they have tried to recruit locally but were unable to find suitable candidates and perhaps more importantly for the employee, this category would allow them and their family members to settle permanently in the UK after 5 years.
For any questions on Business or Private Immigration to the UK or if you require assistance with your existing application, please contact Head of Business & Private Immigration at GSC Solicitors LLP Hateem Ali on [email protected] or +44(0)207 822 2209.
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