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Updated March 2023

The UK Expansion Worker visa is a Global Business Mobility visa for senior management and specialist workers of overseas businesses seeking to grow and establish their presence in the UK. The visa allows such employees to temporarily take up duties relating to expanding the company to the UK, like setting up a branch or subsidiary.

The UK Expansion Worker visa category replaced what was previously known as the Sole Representative visa and is only available for businesses yet to start trading in the UK.

At The Nathanson Partnership, our team of specialised immigration professionals are on hand to assist you with your Expansion Worker visa. We understand that applying for a UK visa can be a daunting process which is why we offer our clients friendly guidance and support throughout the whole process.

Who Can Apply for the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

To qualify for a UK Expansion Worker visa, you must have worked outside the UK for your employer for a cumulative period of 12 months, unless your yearly income is £73,900 or higher, then there is no minimum requirement. The 12-month period also does not apply if you are a Japanese national aiming to establish a branch or subsidiary of your business in the UK. The exemption is part of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

You also need a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), and the job must be genuine. It must be listed as an eligible occupation with a yearly salary of £42,400 or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher.

Does My Employer Need a Sponsor Licence to Employ Me on the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

Your employer must have a valid sponsor licence before employing you on a UK Expansion Worker visa. However, unlike other requirements for sponsored routes, the business must not be actively trading.

What Are the Sponsor Requirements for the Expansion Worker Visa?

To qualify for a UK sponsor licence, your employer must prove they can and intend to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or UK branch of an active business. They must have undertaken preparatory work for the expansion and provide proof of meeting the UK “footprint” requirements which say that they must have a Companies House registration or UK premises but are yet to start operating. The overseas business must have been trading for more than 3 years, although some exemptions exist.

You must be assigned a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer before you apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa which was issued to you 3 months before you make your application. Your Certificate of Sponsorship must detail your name, job, salary, and proof of working for the sponsor outside the UK for 12 months or more (unless exempt).

How Long Can I Stay on the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

Once your visa is approved, you can stay for 1 year after the starting date indicated on the CoS or for the time given on the CoS plus 14 more days, whichever is shorter. You can also apply for a visa extension for 12 more months providing you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

Can I Get ILR Through the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

You cannot get Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) through the UK Expansion Worker visa because it is not a direct route to permanently settle in the UK.

How Can The Nathanson Partnership Help You?

At The Nathanson Partnership, we can help you apply for your Expansion Worker visa. As long as your overseas employer needs your help expanding the business to a UK branch that has not yet started trading, you may be eligible to apply.

We provide a complete Expansion Worker visa service where we advise on all the documents needed to apply for the visa and will ensure that they meet the Home Office requirements. We will review your application and support you throughout the immigration process.

Please contact us for a free initial assessment with our qualified and experienced UK immigration advisors, or email [email protected]


Contact Our Expert Expansion Worker Visa Immigration Professionals

At The Nathanson Partnership, we have a team of regulated immigration professionals providing quality immigration advice. We are fully accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) which means that our practices must adhere to very high immigration standards.

We are proud to represent a range of clients and find it rewarding to help them obtain UK visas. Between us, our team of expert immigration professionals have extensive knowledge and experience and we are confident that we can assist you with your application.

If you need assistance with your Expansion Worker visa application, our team are here to help you.

Please contact us today on 020 3476 9523 or email us at [email protected]


Does My Sponsor Need to Pay the Immigration Skills Charge for the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

No, the Home Office does not require UK Expansion Worker sponsors to pay the Immigration Skills Charge.

How Long Does It Take to Get the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

You will receive a decision within 3 weeks after you apply online and provide your documents and proof of identity. The Home Office will contact you if your application takes longer. Delays often occur when you need to verify your supporting documents, attend an interview or have some personal circumstances that impede the process.

What Can You Do on the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

A UK Expansion Worker visa permits you to work in the specified job, volunteer, study and bring your dependants. However, you cannot change jobs or apply for public funds or permanent settlement.

How Long Do You Need to Have Worked for Your Employer to Get the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months. You are exempt if you earn more than £73,900 yearly or if you are a Japanese national working for a Japanese company seeking to expand to the UK.

You can have worked as an employee, a self-employed contractor or under another agreement. There is no time requirement for high-income earners or Japanese nationals working for businesses that want to establish their presence in the UK.

What Is the Salary Requirement for the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

The general salary requirement for the UK Expansion Worker visa is £42,400 per year or 100% of the going rate for that job, whichever is higher. Each eligible occupation has a specific annual going rate.

Can I Get a British Passport With the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

You cannot apply for a British passport on a UK Expansion Worker visa as this route does not lead to settlement.

Can I Bring My Family on the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

Your eligible children and partner can apply to come to the UK as your dependants. Their visa will last until yours expires if they succeed. You must also provide proof of relationship during the application. Dependant children include a child below 18 years and those above 18 years, registered as your dependants and living in the UK. Children over 16 years must be financially dependent on you, living with you, and not be in a civil partnership, married, or have children. An eligible partner can be your wife, husband, civil or unmarried partner. You must prove that you are married or in a UK-recognised civil partnership, or that you have been in a relationship for 2 years before your application and living together.


Please contact us today on 020 3476 9523 or email us at [email protected]


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