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Legal Updates

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa: Choosing an appropriate representative

21 August 2019 #Immigration

The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is aimed at overseas companies intending on setting up their business in the UK. This visa allows those companies, which do not already have an active presence in the UK, to send a sole representative for this purpose.

Who to send?

The first question to ask is, who to send? This is primarily a question for the business as they may want to send someone who is capable in setting up the business for them in the UK. However, the visa requirements expressly require this individual to have:

  • Been employed by the overseas (parent) company in a senior job role
  • A track record of setting up branches for other companies, if employed specifically for this purpose
  • Authority take operational decisions once in the UK which should be demonstrated by the company hierarchy.

Overseas Companies should however note that the sole representative cannot be an agent who has been hired as a consultant to market the company’s services, neither can they be sales representative as the purpose of this representative is to have broader responsibility in setting up the business. 

How many representatives can you send?

The route only allows one individual on this visa, but once the company is set up, the individual can then obtain a Tier 2 sponsor licence to sponsor further employees of the overseas company.

It is important to note that if during the course of this visa, the individual is no longer the sole representative, he should switch to a Tier 2 visa, provided the company has a sponsorship licence.

Can you send a shareholder?

This route is not for majority shareholder of a company, and the Home Office guidance says that applications from shareholders who own more than 50 percent of the company will be rejected.

Clarkslegal, specialist Immigration lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Immigration matter please contact Clarkslegal's immigration team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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