Businesses around the world find the UK as a lucrative destination to expand and establish their global presence. Many foreign investors feel encouraged to set up their businesses in the UK because of the country’s advantageous foreign investment policies. Combined with low corporate tax rates and flexible employment laws, UK is sought as a highly competitive market for businesses.

For business immigration purposes, the UK also offers Representative of an Overseas Business visa scheme, which makes it easier for businesses to establish their presence in the UK. The scheme is especially useful for businesses outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) region as it allows them to send representatives to the UK. 

Here are some of the major aspects that businesses should consider when establishing their presence in the UK.

Incorporating a Legal Entity

The first step is to plan and consider the structure of your business. You can decide to establish a UK business as a branch if you want it to be an extension of your overseas company. The other option is to incorporate a UK registered subsidiary company. The ultimate decision will depend on a number of circumstances.

Opening a branch will help you retain direct liability of your parent company whereas, with subsidiary, the limited liability remains at the subsidiary level itself. Both of these structures don’t need any UK directors and cost the same amount to establish in the UK.

While there are several other factors that differentiate these structures, both of them allow you to send a representative of your business to the UK. Additionally, the proposed UK business must be in the same category as abroad and the intention should be to keep the main centre of business abroad.

Representative of an Overseas Business

This UK visa category allows your business representative to enter the UK as a sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a commercial presence by operating a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary. Few requirements you need to consider while selecting a sole representative is that he or she must:

  • Be employed by your company outside the UK as a senior employee (but not as a major shareholder);
  • Have the authority to take the majority of key operational business decisions locally;
  • Have extensive experience and knowledge in your business industry.

The representative must also fulfil other requirements such as the English language and provide several evidential requirements with regards to the company’s activities and business plan to successfully obtain a visa under this category.

Seeking legal and professional advice from business immigration specialist firms is highly recommended if you are planning to expand your business to the UK and comply with business immigration laws and regulations.

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