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A guide to Business Immigration

What is business immigration?

In the United Kingdom (UK) it is illegal to employ an undocumented immigrant or someone who does not have the right to work in the UK. It is also a criminal offence to set up a business in the UK whilst being an undocumented immigrant. Business immigration concerns issues where an employer wishes to employ a foreign national already in the UK or outside the UK to work in the UK, and where a foreign national wishes to apply for a visa to come to work in the UK/ set up a business in the UK.

Employing a worker from outside the UK or coming to a new country to work or to start a new branch or subsidiary of a business is a big step. The immigration process is complex, and it is vital to follow the rules to avoid legal action or penalty fees. Pure Business Law will provide you with the necessary expertise and work efficiently with you and your business to ensure that your application goes as smoothly as possible and that you comply with the complex immigration laws.

Since Brexit it has become significantly harder for employers recruiting workers from foreign countries for low-skilled jobs or low paid vacancies due to the adoption of the points-based system.

But what is the points-based system and how does it work? The points-based system was enacted when we left the EU and it applies to skilled workers, people under the global talent scheme, international students/graduates, those visiting the UK and people getting married.

However, those who are graduates from the top non-UK universities can immigrate without needing a job offer. This is available to them under the high potential individual scheme. Examples of these top universities would be Harvard (USA), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Kyoto University (Japan), Yale University (USA) and the university of Toronto (Canada). Successful PHD studentsunder this scheme will be given a three-year work Visa to be able to move to the UK and people with Bachelors/ Master’s degrees would be given a two-year work visa.

To obtain a skilled worker visa, you would need seventy points, fifty of those points come from both being able to speak English and having a skilled job offer from the UK from an approved employer. Extra points can come from having better qualifications, working for a sector in the UK in which they are lacking workers, such as jobs in the health industry, and the education industry.

What are the diverse types of worker visas?

Skilled worker visas

A Skilled worker visa will allow you to come and stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved and qualified employer.

As mentioned previously, you can apply for a skilled worker visa using the points system. To qualify for a skilled worker visa via the points system, you will be obliged to acquire seventy points. To figure out if the job is eligible for the skilled worker route, the sponsor will need to look at the standard occupational classification code for the role. When the code has been identified it should be cross-referenced with the list of eligible jobs.

UK expansion worker visas

This visa allows you to come to the UK to set up a branch of an overseas business that has not yet started trading in the UK.

To apply for a UK expansion worker visa, you would need to complete an online application using your certificate of sponsorship reference number. The applicant must be over 18 years old, must be working for a linked overseas business during the time of application and must have worked for that business for a prescribed minimum period. The UK expansion worker visa can only be used if the business has not already begun trading goods and services in the UK. This route only requires sixty points unlike the skilled worker route which requires seventy points.

Innovator visas

This allows you to start up a business in the UK. It replaced the tier one visa, and it aims to help entrepreneurs hoping to migrate. A remarkably similar visa to this would be the start-up visa

To qualify for an innovator visa, you must have a business that is different from anything else in the market. An endorsing body must approve your business idea, and you must meet other eligibility requirements. Under this visa you can stay for up to three years in the UK, but you can apply to extend your stay if you wish to stay longer than three years.

Scale up visas

This visa is for talented individuals recruited by a UK scale up sponsor, who have the skills needed to enable the scale-up business to keep growing.

To apply for a scale-up visa, you must be sponsored by a job that operates above the minimum skill level. To qualify for the visa, you should be eighteen or over, have a valid certificate of sponsorship, your job needs to be genuine, your salary needs to be £33,000 or above, you must have a good understanding of the English language and enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds.

Child student visas

This visa is for children aged between four and seventeen years of age who wish to study at an independent school in the UK.

To qualify for the visa, the child must have an unconditional offer from an independent school in the UK, have the funds to pay for the course and have consent from their legal parent/guardian to study in the UK.

Temporary work visas

This visa is used by people who come to the UK to work temporarily.

After Brexit people migrating from Europe to the UK now need to have a temporary work visa if they wish to work in the UK for a brief period. Those who are migrating to work temporarily will need to have a job offer from a UK employer who holds a sponsor’s license. There are sub-categories under the temporary work visa, such as: the charity worker visa, the creative and sporting visa, the government authorised exchange visa and much more. To be eligible for the visa you will need to provide proof of a job offer, a certificate of sponsorship, bank statements that show you have at least £1,270 in savings and proof of that you have passed the obligatory English language test.

What can Pure Business Law do to help?

Our Business immigration solicitors at Pure Business Law can help you with complex areas of immigration law. To summarise, our immigration solicitors can advise you on various immigration routes including:

  • The Innovator visa or Start-up visa – This replaces the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. These visas are for businesspeople, investors, and those with exceptional talent. You can no longer apply for the old Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, but you can still apply to extend an existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa for two years before 5 April 2023. Our immigration lawyers can help you extend your visa or apply for the Innovator visa or Start-up visa

  • The Business Visitor visa – allows you to visit the UK for business and work-related reasons for a maximum continuous period of 6 months. Unlike Tier 2 visas they do not need formal sponsorship from a UK sponsor. Our business immigration lawyers can ensure that you get your visa in good time for your important business trip.

  • The Sole Representative visa – You can come to the UK on this visa if you intend to set up a branch or a subsidiary of an overseas business. Once you have obtained your visa you can live and work in the UK but you can only work for the branch or subsidiary that you set out in the UK. We have the expertise to ensure that you meet all of the legal requirements so that your application is a very strong one.

  • The Tier 1 Investor visa – allows individuals over 18 years of age to come to the UK if they are from a non-EEA country, can invest at least £2million in the UK and are able to show that they have controlled their investment funds for a period of at least two years. An application for a Tier 1 investor visa is not as complex as an Innovator visa provided the individual can make a minimum investment of £2million in UK businesses. This visa allows the holder to work, live and study in the UK and bring their dependants including civil or unmarried partners and children under 18 years of age.We can help you prepare your application and refer you to some of our regulated partners who can provide you with the appropriate investment advice.

  • The Tiers 2 (aka the skilled worker visa) and 5 sponsorship licences allow UK businesses to employ non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals to work eligible jobs under a qualified employer. A Tier 2 sponsor licence allows UK businesses to sponsor skilled non-EEA nationals to work for them in the UK if they cannot find someone with the necessary skill set already resident in the UK to fill the role. A Tier 5 sponsor licence (aka the temporary worker visa) allows UK businesses to employ non-EEA nationals such as charity workers, workers on a government authorised exchange, creative individuals, talented sport individuals and religious workers on a temporary basis to work for them in the UK. Your business can have a Tier 2 and a Tier 5 sponsor licence at the same time however you must meet certain criteria to get these sponsorship licences.

  • The Tier 4 Sponsor Licence (A.K.A the student visa) =A Tier 4 licence allows UK education providers to sponsor non-EEA (European Economic Area) students to come to the UK to study on a part-time or full-time basis. There are two categories of Tier 4 sponsor licence:

(a) A child student visa – for students who come to the UK to be educated by independent schools only or

(b) an adult student visa – for students aged 16 and over who come to the UK for post-16 education or those wishing to travel to the UK to study for their post-16 education. Please note that state funded schools and academies are unable to apply for these visas.

We can also help with:

  • Immigration employment documents.

  • British Citizenship applications and

  • Residence applications.

We can help your business apply and manage its sponsor licence so that you can focus on running and growing your business without the hassle of worrying about immigration issues.

We also have a range of business legal services that will help your business be successful in the UK. Our employment solicitors can help you with drafting your employment contracts and staff handbooks, our commercial conveyancing solicitors can advise you on leasing or buying your business premises and our expert contract lawyers can help you draft contracts for your products and services.

We also work on a fixed fee basis and have retainer fee packages suitable for growing businesses who require legal advice as they go through the stages of growing their businesses.

If you need advice on any of the information provided in this blog, get in touch with our Business Immigration solicitors, Employment solicitors, Conveyancing solicitors and Contract solicitors today by email, telephone or online to discuss how we can help you. We will have a specialist expert helping you in no time.

Pure Business Law is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is a licensed member of the Law Society of England & Wales.

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