1. Immigration Rules forthe Sole Representative Migrant Scheme
According to the Immigration Rules, the sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary in the UK may apply for a sole representative of an overseas business visa.
During his visa period, the applicant can only work for his employer on a full time basis and is not allowed to take any other employment or work as a self-employed. His dependants can work or engage in self-employment activities during their visa periods but they cannot work as trainee doctors or dentists or professional sportspersons or sports coaches in the UK. In addition, the applicant and his dependants are not entitled to the welfare of any government allowances in the UK during their visa periods.
After his application is approved, the applicant and his dependants can enter the UK with an initial visa (“Leave to Enter”) for3 years. Subject to fulfillment of the required conditions of the Scheme, they can extend their visas (“Leave to Remain”) for another 2 years every time before their initial or extended visas expire thereafter.
After continuously living in the UK for5 years, subject to fulfillment of the required conditions of the Scheme, the applicant and his dependants can apply for settlement in the UK. Absence from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 months will not be counted as continuously living in the UK. In addition, the applicant and his dependants should have passed “the Life in the UK” test and English language test when applying for settlement.
After settlement in the UK for at least one year, the applicant and his dependants can apply for British citizenship provided that they have spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years before their applications for British citizenship.
2. Advantages the Sole Representative Migrant Scheme
(1) No requirements on investment amount.
(2) No requirements on creation of any employment.
(3) The applicant can move to the UK together with his dependants (spouse and unmarried children under 18 years old).
(4) The applicant and his dependants can apply for settlement in the UK through this route and apply for citizenship afterwards.
(5) The applicant and his dependants can enjoy the benefits of UK citizens and travel to more than 180 visa free countries when they have their UK passports.
3. Eligibility Requirements
The applicant must：
(1) be recruited and employed outside the UK by the employer he intends to represent in the UK;
(2) intend to work full-time for the organization;
(3) not intend to take any other employment;
(4) be applying to be the sole representative in the UK of an overseas employer who intends to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK and that branch or subsidiary will operate the same type of business activity as the overseas business;
(5) not be a major shareholder in that overseas business;
(6) be a senior employee of the overseas company;
(7) have full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business for the purpose of representing it in the UK;
(8) be able to maintain and accommodate himself and his dependants adequately without recourse to public funds; and
(9) meet one of the following English standard requirements:
being a national of one of the majority English speaking countries, i.e. USA, Australia, Canada, etc.;
having a degree level qualification from an English speaking country;
having passed an English language Test level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference(CEFR) required (IELS 4 Points).
His employermust have：
(10) its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK; and
(11) no active branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK.
4. Application Procedures
(1) Preparation of application documents;
(2) Going through medical examinations including tuberculosis test;
(3) Submission of application;
(4) Attending to a Visa Centre for collection of biometrics details (fingerprints and photographs);
(5) Approval of application and issuance of the representative of an overseas business visa for 3 years;
(6) Entering the UK with the visa;
(7) Registering with the Police;
(8) After arrival to the UK, setting up a branch or a wholly owned subsidiary in the UK;
(9) Applying for extension of visa for another 2 years every time before the initial/extended visa expires;
(10) Applying for settlement in the UK after continuously living in the UK for 5 years; and
(11) Applying for naturalization as a British citizen 12 months after settlement in the UK.
It usually takes 2 to 4 months to obtain a representative of an overseas business visa which has a validity period of 3 years and the applicant shall enter the UK within 3 months after obtaining the visa.
Note: This document is for reference only, all terms are subject to written contract.