UK Expansion Worker Visa

The UK Expansion Worker Visa is one of the new visa options under the Global Business Mobility Visa routes. This is the best worker visa suited for overseas businesses who wish to start trading in the UK and require employees to set up a branch of the business.

This visa may allow workers to stay up to 12 months from the job starting date, 14 days after the end of the job, or the time specified on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), whichever is the shortest of the two. If you want to extend your visa once it is coming to the expiry date, you will be able to do this for a maximum of 12 months. The maximum time you are able to stay in the UK with an expansion worker visa is 2 years. Thereafter, you may switch to the Skilled Worker Visa route which gives you the opportunity to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain in 5 years.

UK Expansion Worker Visa requirements

While specific eligibility requirements may vary depending on the job you will be carrying out, the main criteria to meet if you are wanting to go down the UK expansion worker route are the following:

  • Your job must be on the list of eligible occupations.
  • The minimum eligible salary is either £48,500 or the going rate for your job, whichever is the highest of the two.
  • The UK business has not started trading yet.
  • You will establish a new UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of an established overseas business.
  • Your employer must provide you with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • You must have worked for the business outside of the UK for at least 12 months, (unless you are a high earner receiving over £73,900; or are a Japanese national seeking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, or an Australian national or permanent resident seeking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary under the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement)
  • The overseas business must normally have been trading abroad for a minimum of 3 years (or 1 year for a Japanese business under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement; or an Australian business under the Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Australia - the latter is limited to sponsoring 1 employee if showing less than 3 years’ trading)

You will first need to apply for a provisional Employer Sponsorship Licence for the UK branch.

Proving you are eligible

To prove that you meet the eligibility requirements for UK Expansion Worker Visas, you will be required to submit certain documents and information as evidence. These may include:

  • Information about your job title, annual salary, and occupation code.
  • Information about your employer and their sponsor licence number.
  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number (and details of your UK expansion worker sponsor).
  • Evidence that you have worked for your current employer outside of the UK, if applicable.
  • Any valid official documents to prove your identity, such as a passport.
  • Documents showing that you and any dependants have enough money to support yourselves, such as bank statements.
  • Proof of relationship, if you are bringing your partner and/or children with you.
  • Nationals from certain countries may also be required to provide a tuberculosis test result.

Depending on your occupation, your employer may tell you that you need additional documents such as an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

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How to apply

You will need to apply on the Home Office website. You may submit your application up to 3 months before you are due to start working in the UK.

You will also need to ensure you and your dependants have enough money to support yourselves when you come to the UK. Unless exempt, you will need to have evidenced that you have maintenance funds of £1,270 or more.

UK Expansion Worker Visa application costs

There are several fees you will have to pay when applying for an Expansion Worker Visa. You will need to pay the application fee of £298. You will also have to consider additional costs such as the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (usually £1,035 per year), Priority service, or the cost of any certified translations you may need.

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Can I extend a UK Expansion Worker Visa?
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If you require to stay in the UK for longer, you may apply to extend the visa for a further 12 months. The maximum stay on this visa is 2 years, so if you need to stay longer, you may need to switch to another suitable visa.

Can I bring dependants on a UK Expansion Worker Visa?
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If you wish to bring your partner and/or children to the UK, they will each need to apply separately, pay the application fee and show they meet the requirements, such as proof of relationship and financial requirements. They will need to provide your application number and must complete their application before they travel to the UK.

Can I switch to a UK Expansion Worker Visa?
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If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to switch to a UK Expansion Worker Visa if you are already in the UK on a different visa. If you are on a short-term visa, such as Student Visas or similar, you may not be able to switch.

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