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The Ultimate Guide to the UK Expansion Worker Visa

Updated 04.06.24 12 minutes read

The UK Expansion Worker Visa is designed for foreign nationals who are coming to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary of an overseas business that has not yet started trading in the UK. This visa is part of the Global Business Mobility route, aimed at facilitating international businesses to expand their operations in the UK.

By allowing key personnel to enter the UK and set up new operations, this visa supports international business growth and enhances economic connectivity between the UK and other countries.

The information provided here is meant as an outline of the program. See the official website for more information or consult with an immigration professional for legal advice

What the Expansion Worker Visa Does

The UK Expansion Worker Visa is designed to support the establishment and growth of international businesses in the UK. The primary purposes of this include providing support for these areas:

Economic Development
The Expansion Worker Visa Promotes economic development in the UK by attracting foreign investment and creating jobs while enhancing trade relations between the UK and other countries, fostering a more connected global economy.

International Business Expansion
The visa allows foreign companies to enter the UK market by establishing a branch or subsidiary, thereby promoting the strategic growth objectives of international businesses and creating jobs in the UK. 

Knowledge and Skill Transfer
The program lets key personnel with specialized knowledge and skills transfer their expertise to the new UK entity, ensuring effective setup and operation. Additionally, it facilitates the training and development of local employees, contributing to skill enhancement within the UK workforce.

Streamlined Processes
The Expansion Worker Visa provides a regulated framework for businesses to establish a presence in the UK, ensuring compliance with immigration laws and business regulations and offers a supportive environment for businesses to navigate the complexities of setting up a new operation in the UK. 

Global Mobility
As part of the Global Business Mobility route, this visa encourages the movement of skilled workers across borders, facilitating global business operations and talent exchange.

UK Expansion Worker Visa

Eligibility for the Expansion Worker Visa

Eligibility for the UK Expansion Worker Visa depends on both the applicant’s qualifications and the sponsoring employer’s compliance with UK immigration rules. By meeting these criteria, businesses can successfully bring key employees to the UK to establish new branches or subsidiaries, thereby facilitating international expansion and contributing to the UK economy.

These are the main eligibility criteria for the Expansion Worker Visa program:

  • The applicant must be currently employed by an overseas business that intends to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. A valid job offer for a role in the UK branch or subsidiary is also required.
  • The applicant must hold a senior or specialist position within the company and be responsible for establishing the UK branch or subsidiary.
  • The role must be at the required skill level, typically equivalent to RQF Level 6 or above. This generally includes managerial or specialist roles.
  • The job must meet the minimum salary threshold specified by the UK government for the visa category. This ensures that the applicant will be adequately compensated while working in the UK.
  • The overseas business must have a valid sponsor license under the Global Business Mobility route. This license allows the company to sponsor the applicant for the visa.
  • The applicant must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from the employer. This document contains details about the job role and confirms that the employer meets the sponsor requirements.
  • The applicant may need to demonstrate that they have sufficient personal savings to support themselves in the UK. This requirement can be waived if the sponsor certifies that they will cover the applicant’s maintenance costs.
  • Depending on the specific role and circumstances, the applicant may need to prove their proficiency in the English language. This can be done through recognized English language tests or relevant academic qualifications.
  • The visa application must demonstrate that the purpose of the applicant’s visit is to establish a new branch or subsidiary in the UK and not to engage in other activities.
  • The applicant must provide necessary documentation, including a valid passport, proof of employment, a certificate of sponsorship, and evidence of financial means.

Duration of the Expansion Worker Visa

The Expansion Worker Visa in the UK, part of the Global Business Mobility route, is typically granted for a duration of up to 12 months. It allows overseas businesses to send a senior employee to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary. However, the visa can be extended for an additional 12 months, bringing the maximum stay to two years. 

It’s important to note that this visa does not lead to settlement in the UK.

If you’ve spent time in the UK on this or another visa, you might not be able to stay on a UK Expansion Worker visa for as long. Stays in the UK are limited to a maximum of 5 years in any 6-year period for anyone who has spent time there on any of these visas:

  • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
  • Intra-company Transfer visa
  • Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

What the Expansion Worker Visa Provides

The UK Expansion Worker Visa offers several significant advantages for both the individuals who obtain it and the businesses they represent. Here are the key benefits:

  • A streamlined process for starting a new business in the UK. The visa is designed specifically for businesses that have not yet started trading in the UK, simplifying the requirements for initial establishment.
  • Access to skilled personnel. The program enables businesses to bring key employees and skilled personnel to the UK, ensuring the new branch or subsidiary is set up effectively thanks to that employee’s abilities and experience.
  • Knowledge Transfer. It’s easier to transfer knowledge and expertise from the parent company to the new UK branch.
  • Flexibility / Good for temporary situations. The Expansion Worker Visa is granted for up to one year, with the possibility of extension, providing enough time to establish operations but also short enough to allow businesses to evaluate the UK market before committing to long-term operations.
  • Simplified compliance and transparent structure. The visa operates under a regulated framework, ensuring compliance with UK immigration laws and providing a clear structure for businesses.

The UK Expansion Worker Visa is a valuable tool for businesses looking to expand into the UK. It offers numerous benefits, including facilitating market entry, supporting economic connectivity, providing access to skilled personnel, and simplifying the process of establishing a new branch or subsidiary. By leveraging these advantages, businesses can effectively expand their operations and contribute to the UK economy.

UK Expansion Worker Visa

The Role of a Business Plan in the Expansion Worker Visa Program

While not formally required, immigration experts advise their clients to include a business plan as part of their application package for the Expansion Worker Visa program. 

This is because business plans clearly make the case for the legitimacy of the need to post an existing employee in the UK and the company’s plans for success once the operation is established. 

An Expansion Worker Visa business plan clarifies points that are relevant to UK immigration authorities while evaluating an application and shows that the proposed employee move is aligned with the goals and purpose of the visa program.

Joorney can provide a compelling Expansion Worker Visa business plan that maximizes your chances of getting approved. We’ve written nearly 30,000 business plans to satisfy the requirements of business immigration visa programs around the world. 

Business plans from Joorney are:

  • Tailored to your specific situation and goals. We understand that every applicant’s situation and the business behind them are unique. That’s why we work closely with each client to create a customized plan that explains their ambitions and maximizes their chances of success.
  • Based on experience in over 180 industries and fields. Our team of writers has experience in just about any business sector you can think of. This varied experience helps us to craft plans specific to each applicant’s needs and understand the nature of their business. 
  • Comprehensive and detailed. We understand the importance of both presenting a compelling case for your proposed venture and attention to detail in business plans for Expansion Worker Visas. Our team of writers and editors thoroughly reviews each plan to ensure that it meets the specific requirements of the visa program.

Look to Joorney to Help Start Your UK Business Ambitions 

A well-written business plan can make all the difference when it comes to an Expansion Worker Visa application. It can showcase your project’s potential and the need to start with a particular employee, all within the framework of the visa program. 

Our team of international, multilingual consultants at Joorney understands the importance of crafting a high-quality business plan that meets the specific requirements of the Expansion Worker Visa application process. We want to help you move your business forward and take the next steps toward establishing a presence in the UK.

If you’re interested in learning more about our business plans, reach out to us today.

Joorney Business Plans is not a law firm nor an immigration consulting firm, and no information provided in this document should be considered as legal advice or recommendation regarding any immigration application program. All information provided in this document should be verified by a licensed or certified immigration professional before the reader can act on this information. As such, it is understood that Joorney Business Plans Inc. shall not be liable for any loss or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential, or other), whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, which may arise as a result of your use of (or inability to use) this document, or from your use of (or failure to use) the information on this document.