UK Expansion Worker visa for expanding overseas companies

Russian Democratic Society Protest 25 02 23 in London

Russian Democratic Society Protest 25 02 23 in London

Anna Shilonosova, Russian Democratic Society

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Sanwar Ali Comments:

The UK Expansion Worker visa one of the Global Business Mobility routes, replaced the previous Sole Representative visa scheme.  There is also the Senior or Specialist Worker visa under Global Business Mobility which replaced the intra-company transfer visa. Probably the Senior or Specialist Worker visa will turn out to be as unpopular as the previous intra-company transfer visa. 

Many employees and employers would like to have the ability to gain indefinite leave to remain in the UK at the end of five years in the UK.  To gain indefinite leave to remain a UK under a Global Mobility visa route for those already in the UK, you will firstly need to switch to a different visa category.  Most wishing to stay in the UK permanently will most likely wish to come under the Skilled Worker visa route. 

Thanks to Anna Shilonosova of the Russian Democratic Society of the UK for use of their photo.  Where we can we will try and use pictures relating to Ukraine to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their fight against Putin's invaders, and of course brave Russians opposed to the Putin regime.

On 11 April 2022 the UK Expansion Worker visa was launched, replacing the Sole Representative visa. The change directly affects international organisations looking to send an individual representative to the UK to establish a subsidiary of an overseas parent company or a branch office.

If a non-UK based business wants to send a representative of their company to Britain, they will need to use the Expansion Worker route. However, if a business already has an employee in the UK on a Sole Representative visa, nothing needs to be done.

An employee on an existing Sole Representative visa will be able to apply for an extension of their current visa. Plus, they have the option to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK towards the end of 5 years in the country.

Intra company transfer visa

Following the launch of the Senior or Specialist Worker visa under Global Business Mobility, the Intra-company Transfer visa route has also been closed. While there is no change for existing Sole Representative visa holders, parent companies wanting to transfer overseas employees to a UK branch of their business will no longer be able to sponsor an employee on an Intra-company Transfer visa.

Instead, the Global Business Mobility visa programme, allows overseas organisations to transfer employees to a UK-based branch of their business.

Statement of UK immigration changes

Details of the new UK Expansion Worker visa were initially published in a Statement of Changes to the UK immigration rules issued on 15 March 2022. The statement introduced the Global Business Mobility programme, which includes several new UK immigration routes, including:

  • The senior or specialist worker
  • Graduate trainee
  • Service supplier
  • Secondment worker
  • High potential

In addition to the Global Business Mobility visa, the Expansion Worker visa route was also opened.

A Home Office statement said: “The Expansion Worker visa is part of a package of measures designed to attract new business and the brightest and best to the UK.”

Sponsor requirements

All visas under the Global Business Mobility programme, including the Expansion Worker visa, require employers to have a sponsor licence. However, uncertainties remain about the practicalities of sponsorship across these visa routes.

However, there are some benefits that come with the Expansion Worker visa compared with the Sole Representative visa. Whereas the Sole Representative visa had rules on visa applicants holding majority shares in the overseas company they’re working for, the same rules don’t seem to apply to the Expansion Worker visa.

Meanwhile, an Expansion Worker visa holder no longer has to be a ‘sole representative’ of a business. They can come to the UK with a team. However, the entire team must meet the relevant eligibility criteria. can help with Sponsor Licences

If you need help with employing Skilled Workers and help to apply for a Sponsor Licence, including complying with your Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at