The Expansion Worker visa is a Global Mobility visa that allows you to open a branch of a company that will start doing business in the UK for the first time. You must be a senior manager or specialized employee of the foreign company.
Expansion Worker Visa Overview
The Expansion Worker visa allows foreign workers to come to the UK and open a UK branch of a foreign company that has not yet started operating in the UK.
Only candidates who already work for the company as a senior manager or specialized employee are eligible for this visa.
Please note that if the company already operates in the UK, applicants will need to apply for a senior or skilled worker visa instead.
This visa is part of the UK Government’s Global Business Mobility work visa category.
What are the eligibility criteria for the Expansion Worker Visa?
To be eligible for the Expansion Worker visa you must:
Have a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer, who must be a UK sponsor
You have worked for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 months unless you are one of the following:
- Earning over £73,900
- A Japanese national working for a Japanese company that is expanding into the UK
- An Australian citizen or permanent resident who works for an Australian company that is expanding into the UK
- Work in a job that is on the list of eligible occupations
- Be paid at least £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for your job, whichever is higher
What can I do with an expansion worker visa?
When you are in the UK on an Expansion Worker visa, you will be able to do the following:
- Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
- Bring your partner and children with you as dependents, if they are eligible
- Do voluntary work
- I travel abroad and return to the UK
Please note that you will not be able to:
- Access most public funds or state pension
- Change jobs unless you qualify and update your visa
- Have a second job
- Apply to settle permanently in the UK through an indefinite leave to remain
Documents required for the Expansion Worker visa
To apply for an Expansion Worker visa you must have the documents listed:
- The reference number of the certificate of sponsorship.
- A valid passport with a blank page.
- Contract or job offer, which indicates the professional title and annual salary.
- The occupational code of your job.
- A document indicating the name of your employer and the sponsor’s license number.
- Bank statements as proof that you have sufficient savings to support yourself in the UK.
- Evidence of your relationship with your dependents (if applicable).
- Your tuberculosis test results if you are from one of the countries listed.
- Evidence of previous work with your employer outside the UK, such as:
- Printed pay slips.
- Bank or building society statements.
- A building society booklet.
- Online payslips accompanied by a letter from your employer signed by a senior staff number.
- A valid ATAS certificate, if your work includes research on a sensitive topic.
Note: You must submit a certified translation if your documents are not in Welsh or English.
How long can I stay in the UK?
You will be able to remain in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa for 12 months after the start date of work shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship, or for the time shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is longer. brief.
If you wish, you can extend your visa for another 12 months. However, the maximum time you can stay in the UK with this visa is 2 years.
Sponsorship and Sponsor Licensing Requirements
Expansion Worker visa applicants must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by their overseas employer. A CoS is an electronic document that contains the details of the sponsorship offer. If your employer is not currently on the list of approved sponsors, they will need to apply to the Home Office for a sponsorship licence. Your CoS must also have been granted within 3 months of your visa application.
In order for an overseas company to obtain a sponsorship license to sponsor a worker under the UK’s Expansion Worker visa scheme, it must demonstrate to the Home Office that it can offer employment that:
- meets skill level requirements
- meets salary requirements
- it’s genuine
Furthermore, foreign employers must demonstrate that they:
- comply with third party labor standards (if applicable)
- have a qualifying overseas business connection, i.e. they intend, and are able, to open a new branch in the UK or a wholly owned branch in the UK
- They do not currently trade in the UK
- have a UK ‘footprint’, i.e. evidence of business premises in the UK (e.g. a lease and registration at Companies House (a branch of an overseas company or a new company which is a branch of the activity connected abroad)
- have a commercial presence abroad, i.e. actively trading in the 12 months prior to applying for a sponsor licence, and
- Credible plans for expansion into the UK, i.e. a detailed business plan for expansion into the UK with financial projections
Duration requirement of the employment relationship
You must have worked for your overseas employer for at least 1 year, unless you earn more than £73,900 or you are a Japanese citizen working for a Japanese company looking to expand into the UK.
Suitable employment requirement
To successfully submit an Expansion Worker Visa application, you will need to ensure that your job is on the Home Office’s list of eligible occupations2. To verify this, you will need your employer’s Standard Occupation Code (SOC) and check that it is on the list of eligible occupations.
Minimum wage requirement
The Expansion Worker visa minimum salary is £42,400 or the “going rate” for their job role (whichever is higher). The amount will rise to £45,800 from 12 April 2023. This includes basic pay and any additional guaranteed benefits. The going rate is the average annual gross salary for your job role in the UK. The list of current tariffs is available on the Home Office website Office3.
Support fund requirements
You will need to demonstrate that you have a minimum of £1,270 in the bank as proof that you can support yourself when you first arrive in the UK. These support funds must have been present in your bank for at least 28 days before submitting the application. Those who have already been in the UK for 12 months or more may not need to meet this requirement.
Documents required for the UK Expansion Worker visa
Documents to prove your eligibility for the Expansion Worker visa may include (please note that this list is not exhaustive):
- your unique Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number (from your employer)
- your current valid passport
- details of job title and annual salary
- the standard professional code for your work
- details of your employer, including your sponsor’s name and license number
- bank statements showing personal savings of at least £1,270 to keep you in the UK when you first arrive
- evidence of your relationship with your dependent partner and/or children (if they form part of your application), e.g. marriage or civil partnership certificate and birth certificate
- tuberculosis test results (this only applies if you are from one of the countries listed for tuberculosis)
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to provide more documents.
How to apply for an expansion worker visa in the UK?
To apply for an Expansion Worker visa, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Make sure you have your employer’s certificate of sponsorship
- Complete and submit the UK Expansion Worker Visa online application form4
- Pay any registration fees (see below)
- Prove your identity by making and attending a biometric appointment at your nearest Visa Application Center (or UKVCAS) or by using the ‘UK Immigration: Identity Check’ mobile phone app. You will be told which options you can use when you apply.
- Upload all documents required by the Ministry of the Interior to support your application
- Depending on your circumstances, you may be invited to an interview to check your suitability before the Home Office makes a decision.