UK immigration routes for South African companies

Whether you might be beginning a brand new enterprise or increasing an present enterprise into Britain, there are a selection of enterprise immigration visas you need to use, together with the UK Start-up visa, the UK Innovator visa and the newly launched Global Business Mobility visa route.

Darren Faife, MD of Business Immigration at Sable International, advices on the most recent UK enterprise visa choices and necessities.

The UK’s new Global Business Mobility visa

The UK authorities has just lately printed adjustments to its immigration guidelines, introducing the Global Business Mobility visa. When asserting the route, the Home Office admitted that “immigration routes that may once have worked for business, no longer do; they have not evolved in tandem with businesses”.

The Global Business Mobility visa, which got here into drive in April 2022, gives new options for abroad companies transferring employees to the UK. It provides 5 pathways for abroad companies to determine a UK footprint or switch employees to the UK:

  1. Senior or specialist employee – to satisfy particular enterprise wants
  2. Graduate trainee – as a part of a coaching programme
  3. Secondment employee – to UK companies in high-value contracts or investments
  4. Service provider – to the UK consistent with UK commerce agreements
  5. UK growth employee – to determine a UK presence

The first three are choices for companies with a UK presence, the final two are for companies with no UK presence. However, secondments shall be an choice for each. The employee would require sponsorship in all instances.

In apply, the brand new visa route consolidates the prevailing intra-company switch, Intra-Company Graduate Trainee, Representative of an Overseas Business and International Agreement visas.

Of the 5 pathways, solely UK growth employees and secondments (to make use of the brand new terminology) are altering considerably. The route that has modified most within the new guidelines is the UK growth employee, which replaces the Sole Representative visa provisions.

Unlike the outdated Sole Representative visa route, the UK growth employee visa will not be a path to indefinite depart to stay (ILR). It can solely be granted for one yr at a time, and as much as two years in complete, earlier than candidates can be required to modify into one other route (e.g. Skilled Worker visa).

A UK growth employee visa will even require sponsorship, in contrast to the outdated route, and may have the identical minimal wage and talent stage necessities because the senior and specialist employees route (previously Intra-company switch visa).

Prospective sponsors should not but be buying and selling within the UK, however should have established a “footprint” by registering the UK department or subsidiary or by buying or leasing premises.

Organisations should additionally show they’ve been buying and selling for a minimum of three years abroad and supply proof referring to the deliberate growth within the UK, together with a marketing strategy and proof that they’re able to fund the worldwide growth.

The “controlling mind” of the enterprise should additionally stay abroad, that means that any UK growth employee should not be a majority shareholder within the abroad enterprise.

UK Start-up visa

The Start-up visa is for entrepreneurs eager to arrange their first UK enterprise and lasts two years.

This visa doesn’t have schooling or monetary necessities, however what you are promoting will should be accepted by an endorsing physique that might want to affirm that the enterprise thought is new, progressive and viable. After the preliminary two years, it isn’t doable to increase this visa, though it’s doable to modify to the Innovator visa class in the event you meet the necessities.

UK Innovator visa

The UK’s Innovator visa permits enterprise individuals to relocate to the UK offered they’ve an thought in contrast to something within the UK market. An Innovator visa is legitimate for 3 years and there’s no restrict to the variety of occasions you’ll be able to lengthen the visa. After three years on this visa, you could apply for ILR, do you have to meet all the necessities.

Starting a enterprise within the UK

Your first consideration when expressing an curiosity in establishing within the UK, is to show what you are promoting is respectable. This course of contains:

  • Incorporating the UK entity
  • Creating a UK checking account
  • Registering for the related tax comparable to PAYE, VAT, and company tax
  • Registering for auto-enrolment (the UK’s obligatory pension scheme) for qualifying staff

UK Subsidiary or department: Which enterprise construction?

UK branches and subsidiaries are the most well-liked strategies of enterprise growth into the UK. There are others – it is determined by your distinctive necessities. Once what you are promoting is established, you might be prepared to rent your first employees member.

You should have a employees member already in place earlier than you’ll be able to apply for the corporate’s sponsor licence, as this employees member might want to fill “key personnel” roles as a part of the licence utility course of.

Hiring overseas employees as a UK enterprise

To rent overseas nationals, comparable to South Africans, to work within the UK, what you are promoting must register as a licensed sponsor. From right here, you’ll be able to subject a Certificate of Sponsorship which permits the worker in query to use for a Skilled Worker visa or an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa.

This is the place you may be employed by your UK firm. After dwelling within the UK for 5 years on a Skilled Worker visa, you could be eligible for ILR. You could then apply for British citizenship by naturalisation one yr after acquiring ILR or instantly after ILR do you have to be married to a UK citizen.

Ensuring compliance increasing a enterprise into the UK

If you wish to put money into the UK by means of a enterprise immigration visa, make sure that you get professional help in navigating course of, particularly relating to UK immigration legislation and the problems that might result in non-compliance. The UK authorities commonly implements coverage adjustments that might have a big impression on what you are promoting.

Sable International tracks all new and proposed laws and the necessities of the Home Office.

  • By Darren Faife, MD Business Immigration, Sable International

Read: 104 international locations you’ll be able to journey to visa-free on a South African passport – and the place there are nonetheless journey restrictions

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