Sole representative of an overseas company
If a company is looking to enter the UK market but does not have an existing branch or subsidiary in the UK, it is possible to apply for an employee to enter the UK as a sole representative. The sole representative must have the intention of establishing a registered office of the overseas employer.
The requirements to be met by a sole representative are that he:
- has been recruited as an employee outside the UK as a representative of a company which has its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK and which has no branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK;
- is a senior employee with full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas firm as its representative in the UK;
- will establish a branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas firm;
- will be employed full time as a representative of the overseas firm;
- does not intend to take any other employment;
- is not a majority shareholder in the company; and
- he will not be reliant upon public funds.
Applications to enter the UK as a sole representative should normally be made at the nearest British diplomatic post in the applicant’s country of usual residence. The Entry Clearance Officer will require detailed evidence regarding the applicant’s intention to set up a UK branch or subsidiary. Such evidence would normally take the form of a business plan, company accounts, etc. In addition, it is necessary to provide two notarised statements; one from the parent company confirming that the applicant will be its sole representative in the UK; the second from the applicant himself confirming that he will not engage in business of his own and will not represent any other company’s business.
A sole representative will normally be granted entry to the UK for up to 18 months. It is possible to extend this leave providing that a UK branch or subsidiary has been established and the overseas company has not transferred its principal place of business to the UK.
After five years of continuous employment in the UK, sole representatives may apply for 'indefinite leave to remain'. Once granted, this allows individuals to remain in the UK indefinitely and to switch jobs freely, without the need to obtain further approval from the Home Office.
Dependent family members
The spouse and any unmarried children under 18 of a sole representative may accompany him to the UK. However, they must obtain entry clearance from the relevant British diplomatic post before they travel. They will be allowed to remain in the UK for the same period as the sole representative and will also be granted any extensions or indefinite leave to remain in line. They may work in the UK if no special restrictions have been placed on their stay.
Please contact David Robinson or Evan Remedios on +44 (0)20 7038 3980 or at email@example.com if you would like to discuss your immigration requirements.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this brief guide is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief. However, it is written as a general guide only and it is strongly recommended that specific advice is sought before action is taken.