What is the UK Expansion Worker visa?
The UK Expansion Worker visa allows senior managers and specialist employees of overseas businesses to come to the UK to set up a branch of the overseas business (providing that it hasn’t already started trading in the UK).
The UK Expansion Worker visa is a sub-category of the Global Business Mobility visa which has been designed to allow overseas businesses to establish a trading presence in the UK and to transfer overseas staff to the UK.
Requirements for a UK Expansion Worker visa
To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You are 18 years old or older.
- You have a certificate of sponsorship from an approved UK sponsor.
- You have worked for your employer outside of the UK for at least 12 months (unless you are earning over £73,900 per year, or you are relying on the UK-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, or you are a national or permanent resident of Australia doing work for an Australian company which is expanding to the UK).
- The job you are planning to do in the UK is skilled to at least RQF Level 6.
- The job you are planning to do in the UK is featured on the list of eligible occupations.
- You will be paid at least £45,800 per year of the ‘going rate’ for the job (whichever is higher).
- You have enough money (at least £1,270) to support yourself while in the UK. If your UK sponsor can certify that they will accommodate and financially support you during your first month in the UK then this does not have to be met.
Certificate of sponsorship requirement for UK Expansion Workers
To be eligible for this visa, UK Expansion Workers must have a valid certificate of sponsorship for the job you are planning on doing in the UK.
Your employer will give you your certificate of sponsorship and you will be required to provide your certificate of sponsorship reference number as part of your UK Expansion Worker visa application.
The certificate of sponsorship which is issued to you must contain the following information:
- Your name, job and salary.
- Confirmation that you have worked overseas for your employer for at least 12 months (unless you are earning over £73,900 per year, or you are relying on the UK-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement).
- A start date which is within 3 months from the submission of your Global Business Mobility - UK Expansion Worker Visa application.
- Verification that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been previously utilised in any granted, refused, withdrawn, or cancelled visa application, either by the sponsor or the Home Office.
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How to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa
To apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa, you must complete an online application.
To complete the application, you will be required to:
- Provide the required documents.
- Prove your identity which can be done either by attending a visa application centre or by using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.
Required documents for the UK Expansion Worker visa
When you apply for the UK Expansion Worker visa, you will be required to provide the following documents and information:
- Your certificate of sponsorship reference number.
- A valid passport of another document which confirms your identity and nationality.
- Your job title and annual salary.
- The occupation code for your job.
- Details of your employer and their sponsor licence number.
- Proof that you can financially support yourself while in the UK.
- Proof of your relationship with any dependents who are applying with you (if applicable).
- TB test results (if from a listed country).
How long can you stay in the UK with a UK Expansion Worker visa?
With a UK Expansion Worker visa, you can stay in the UK for whichever is shorter:
- 12 months; or
- The time listed on your certificate of sponsorship (plus 14 days).
If you wish to stay in the UK then you may be eligible to extend your visa by 12 months.
It is important to note that the maximum time you can spend in the UK as a UK Expansion Worker is 2 years. Moreover, as with all Global Business Mobility routes, the maximum duration of stay in the UK is 5 years within a 6-year period. Therefore, if you previously resided in the UK through a GMB route (Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa, or Intra-company Transfer visa) then you may not be able to stay in the UK for as long.
Can you switch to the UK Expansion Worker visa?
If you are in the UK on a different visa, you may be able to switch to the UK Expansion Worker visa. To be eligible to switch to this visa you must meet the eligibility requirements.
If you are currently in the UK on a Student Visa, in addition to the eligibility requirements you must meet one of the following:
Completed the course you were sponsored to study; or
The start date of your job is after your course has finished; or
Studied for a PhD for at least 24 months.
However, if you are in the UK on one of the following then you will be required to make an application from outside of the UK:
- A visit visa.
- A short-term student visa.
- A Parent of a Child Student visa.
- A seasonal worker visa.
- A domestic worker in a private household visa.
- Immigration bail.
- Given permission to stay outside of the immigration rules.
UK Expansion Worker Fees
UK Expansion Worker Visa: FAQs
Can you extend the UK Expansion Worker visa?
Individuals can extend the UK Expansion Worker visa by an additional 12 months. However, with this visa individuals can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 2 years.
Can you switch to the UK Expansion Worker visa?
Yes, providing that the eligibility requirements are met, individuals may be able to switch to the UK Expansion Worker visa.
Can I bring my dependents with me with the UK Expansion Worker visa?
Individuals with a UK Expansion Worker visa are able to bring their dependents (partner and children) to the UK with them (providing they are eligible). If dependents make a successful application, then they will be able to work in the UK full-time and their visa will end on the same date as the main applicant (the individual with the UK Expansion Worker visa).
How much does it cost to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa?
An application for the UK Expansion Worker visa costs £259, however, as part of the application individuals are required to pay £624 per year as part of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
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