News - UK

UK - March 2017

Investing in the UK: immigration routes to expansion

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has created uncertainty for businesses in the UK, and those considering a move to the UK.   

However, the recent growth figures for the UK economy in Q4 2016 demonstrate that this is still a good time for businesses to develop here. This, combined with the availability of a number of immigration routes into the UK for businesses seeking to create a presence here, creates a real opportunity for an expansion into the UK.

In defiance of some predictions, by December 2016 there had been more than £15 billion extra foreign investment since the referendum, in sectors including property, infrastructure and renewable energy.  Apple and Google have unveiled plans to open new headquarters in London, Nissan have announced they will be making new car models in Sunderland and DONG Energy, a Danish company, has committed £12 billion for investment into new renewable energy projects in the UK by 2020.

Given that UK sterling is trading much lower against most currencies since June 2016 foreign investors, visitors and staff paid in other currencies are getting more for their money.   This has led to a significant improvement in London’s relative affordability ranking, according to the Economist’s Worldwide Cost Of Living survey.

Representative of an Overseas Business visa

In many cases, the best way to send a senior employee to the UK to establish a new business here will be under a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

Advantages of this type of visa include:

  • Unlike other immigration routes such as the Tier 1 Investor, Entrepreneur and Exceptional Talent routes, the Representative Visa does not require a minimum investment in the UK (minimum investment for the Tier 1 Investor route is £2,000,000, for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs is £200,000).
  • There is no cap on the number of such visas.
  • There are comparatively few requirements to obtain this visa. The individual must apply from outside Europe, have sufficient funds to support him/herself for the trip, must have extensive related industry experience and cannot be a major shareholder in the company and the company must not have an existing presence in the UK.

Once the business is established in the UK and obtains a sponsor’s license, other employees can be brought over.  The application process can be fairly intensive in terms of documentation but we are experienced in assisting businesses to make this process as painless as possible. Within a short period of time and for comparatively small initial outlay the company can quickly establish itself in the UK.

Business Visitors

For those wanting to visit the UK to look at or further business relationships, the good news is that the visa process has been simplified. The standard visitor visa now incorporates the old business visitor category and allows for many varied purposes of trips to the UK.

What does this mean for employers?

To quote the UK Prime Minister, Teresa May, the UK remains “open for business” and immigration routes for skilled migrants remain available.

Nevertheless it is essential to properly select the correct route of entry and to submit an error-free application to maximise your business’ chances of successfully delivering the talent it requires as there is no appeal and it may be costly and time consuming to challenge decisions.

We at Abbiss Cadres act for immigration clients wishing to establish the right to work in the UK for themselves as individuals, or in the case of our corporate clients, for their staff.  We are experienced in dealing with the UK Visas and Immigration department of the Home Office to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible.

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