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Expansion Worker Visa

The UK Expansion Worker visa allows you to come to the UK and set up a new branch on an overseas business.

For more information about the Expansion Worker visa, including how you can apply for it, or more information about Global Business Mobility visas, reach out to our legal experts today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS For Your Work Visa

    Our team of immigration lawyers can provide the right support to ensure you secure a work visa for yourself or your employees.

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    Your immigration lawyer will consider your case and offer bespoke advice, and they will advise you on the optimum route to take to achieve your desired result.

    By working with IAS for your or your employee’s work visa, you make sure that you have an expert eye and hands on your case to boost your chances of success.

    We ensure you are applying for the most suitable work visa to boost your chances of success.

    We provide advice on the appropriate documentary evidence required to support your case.

    You get a personalised approach from a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer

    You work with you and liaise with the Home Office on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.

    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    Overview of the Expansion Worker Visa

    The Expansion Worker visa allows foreign workers to come to the UK and set up a UK branch of an overseas business that hasn’t started trading in the UK yet.

    Only applicants who already work for the business as a senior manager or specialist employee are eligible for this visa.

    Note that if the business is already trading in the UK, applicants should apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa instead.

    This visa is a part of the UK government’s Global Business Mobility category of work visas.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Expansion Worker visa application.

    What Is the Eligibility Criteria for the Expansion Worker Visa?

    In order 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
    • Have worked for your employer outside of the UK for at least 12 months unless you’re one of the following:
      • Earning over £73,900
      • A Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company that is expanding to the UK
      • An Australian citizen or permanent resident doing work for an Australian company that is expanding to the UK
    • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
    • Be paid at least £48,500 per year or the ‘going rate’ for your job, whichever is higher

    What Can I Do With an Expansion Worker Visa?

    When 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
    • Study
    • Bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
    • Do voluntary work
    • Travel abroad and return to the UK

    Note that you will not be able to:

    • Access most public funds or the State Pension
    • Change jobs unless you are eligible and you update your visa
    • Have a second job
    • Apply to settle permanently in the UK through indefinite leave to remain

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Expansion Worker visa application.

    The Points Requirement

    All applicants applying under the Expansion Worker visa must meet the points requirement for this route.

    In total, you must accrue 60 points across three categories. These categories are worth 20 points each.

    The categories are as follows:

    • Sponsorship: You must have a valid certificate of sponsorship that has been issued by your employer, who must be an eligible licensed sponsor (20 points).
    • Job at appropriate skill level: Your job must be at an appropriate skill level, and have a corresponding eligible occupation code (20 points).
    • Salary at the required level: You must be paid at least £48,500 per year or the ‘going rate’ for your job, whichever is higher (20 points).

    Note that as well as accruing 60 points total across the above metrics, you must also satisfy the other necessary eligibility requirements in order to qualify for this visa.

    How Long Can I Stay in the UK For?

    You will be able to stay in the UK with a UK Expansion Worker visa for either 12 months after the start date of the job on your certificate of sponsorship, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

    You will be able to extend your visa by an extra 12 months if you wish. However, the maximum time you’ll be able to stay in the UK on this visa is 2 years.

    Note that if you’ve spent time in the UK on this or another visa, you may not be able to stay on a UK Expansion Worker visa for as long as expected. You can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period if you’ve spent time on any of these visas:

    How Do I Apply?

    You must apply for an Expansion Worker visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    Note that you must have been working for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 before you apply, unless one of the exemptions applies to you.

    When applying for this visa for the first time, you’ll have to fill in the application form and upload the necessary supporting documents needed.

    You’ll also have to prove your identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    If you need to attend a visa application centre, you’ll give your fingerprints and have a photograph taken of you for your biometric residence permit. In addition, the visa application centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.

    You’ll be notified of how you’ll have to prove your identity when you apply.

    There are also separate application processes if you wish to extend your Expansion Worker visaswitch to it from another visa in the UK, or update it if your job changes.

    Applying for an Expansion Worker visa is made easier with the aid of a legal professional by your side. Call IAS on 0333 4149244, or contact us online for further help and information.

    What Supporting Documents Will I Need to Provide?

    Core Documents

    You will need to provide the following documents when applying for an Expansion Worker visa:

    • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number (you will be given this by your employer)
    • A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
    • Your job title and annual salary
    • Your job’s occupation code
    • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number (this will be on your certificate of sponsorship)
    • evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK (such as through bank statements)
    • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
    • Your tuberculosis test results (only if you’re from a listed country)

    Additional Documents You May Need

    You may also be asked to provide some additional documents with your visa application. These may include the following:

    • Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 months, such as through:
      • Printed payslips
      • Online payslips supported by a letter from your sponsor signed by a senior staff member
      • Bank or building society statements
      • A building society pass book
    • A valid ATAS certificate if you need one because your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher

    You will not need to show that you’ve been working for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 before you apply unless one of the exemptions applies to you.

    Note that for all of the documents you provide, you’ll need to provide a certified translation for any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Expansion Worker visa application.

    How Much Does an Expansion Worker Visa Cost?

    The Expansion Worker visa costs £298 to obtain.

    You will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge when applying. This will be £1,035 per year, for every year you’ll be in the UK.

    You must also have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK.

    You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of your date of application.

    You’ll normally need to show proof of this when you apply, unless you’ve already been in the UK with a valid visa for 12 months or more.

    Note that your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in the UK.

    What Are the Processing Times?

    If you’re applying for an Expansion Worker visa from outside of the UK, you’ll normally receive a decision within 3 weeks.

    If you’re applying from inside the UK, you’ll normally receive a decision within 8 weeks.

    Note that you will only be able to apply for this visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date will be listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

    You should also allow for extra time if you’re required to attend an appointment at a visa application centre.

    Your application may also take longer if, for example, your supporting documents need to be reviewed, you’re asked to attend an interview, or because of your personal circumstances.

    You may also be able to pay extra for a priority service or super priority service to get your application processed within 5 days or by the next working day, respectively.

    Note that this service may not be available in all countries.

    How Can I Extend My Visa?

    You must apply to extend your Expansion Worker visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    You will only be able to extend your visa if all of the following apply:

    • You have the same job as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK
    • Your job is in the same occupation code as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK
    • You’re still working for the employer who gave you your current certificate of sponsorship
    • You have not reached the maximum total stay of 2 years

    Note that you must be inside the UK to apply to extend your visa. If you travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man while your application is being processed, your application will be withdrawn.

    Expansion Worker visa extension applications normally take up to 8 weeks to process.

    How Can I Switch to This Visa?

    You may be able to switch to an Expansion Worker visa if you’re already in the UK on another type of visa and you meet the eligibility requirements.

    Note that you will not be able to switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK:

    • On a visit visa
    • On a short-term student visa
    • On a Parent of a Child Student visa
    • On a seasonal worker visa
    • On a domestic worker in a private household visa
    • On immigration bail
    • Because you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds

    If any of the above apply to you, you must first leave the UK and apply for the visa from abroad.

    Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:

    • You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
    • The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
    • You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months

    You should normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.

    How Can I Update My Visa If My Job Changes?

    If your job changes to a different occupation code, you must apply to update your Expansion Worker visa.

    You must still be working for the same employer in order to update your visa.

    Your new job must still meet the eligibility requirements for the Expansion Worker visa. In addition, you’ll need a new certificate of sponsorship.

    You’ll also need to provide additional supplementary documents if you’ve been in the UK for less than one year.

    You will be able to apply to update your visa up to 3 months before the start date of your new job.

    You may continue working in your current job while your new application is being considered, just as long as you apply before your current visa expires.

    You should not start your new job until you’ve got confirmation of your new permission.

    You should normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.

    What Are the Requirements for Dependents?

    Overview of Dependents

    You will be able to bring your partner and children with you to the UK as dependents on an Expansion Worker visa. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

    You will be able to bring the following family members with you:

    • Your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
    • Your child under 18 (including if they were born in the UK during your stay)
    • Your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant

    You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.

    Requirements for Partners

    If bringing your partner to the UK, you must be able to prove that either:

    • You’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
    • You’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply

    Requirements for Children 16 or Over

    If bringing children who are 16 or over to the UK, they must:

    • Live with you (unless they’re in full-time education at boarding school, college or university)
    • Not be married, in a civil partnership or have any children
    • Be financially supported by you

    In addition, if your child lives with you, you’ll need to provide evidence of their address using documents such as the following:

    • A bank statement
    • Credit card bills
    • Driving licence
    • NHS registration document
    • An official letter from their university or college

    What Are the Financial Requirements for Dependents?

    Your dependents must also have enough money to support themselves while they’re in the UK with you.

    The requirements are as follows:

    • £285 for your partner
    • £315 for one child
    • £200 for each additional child

    Your dependents will have had to have the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of your date of application.

    You’ll usually need to show proof of this when they apply, unless you have all been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.

    Note that if your partner or child is applying at a different time to you, they’ll only need to prove they have enough money to support themselves if they have been in the UK for less than one year.

    How Can Dependents Apply From Outside the UK?

    Each one of your dependents will have to submit a separate application for a visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    They will each also need to pay a separate visa application fee.

    When applying online, your dependents will require your application number, which you will receive when you apply. This number is known as a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN).

    Your dependents will also have to prove their identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    Once your dependents have submitted their application, uploaded their documents and proved their identity, they will also receive a decision on their application within 3 weeks.

    It’s essential to ensure that your dependents are able to submit their application in good time to to able to join you in the UK. If you require additional assistance in submitting you or your dependent’s application to come to the UK, reach out to IAS for one-on-one help. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online today.

    How Can Dependents Apply From Inside the UK?

    Each one of your dependents must submit a separate application on the Gov.uk website if they wish to extend or switch their visa to yours.

    They may do so either:

    • At the same time as you apply to extend or switch your own visa
    • At any time before their current visa expires

    This includes any children who have turned 18 during your stay.

    Note that your partner or children will not be able to switch to your visa as your dependents if they’re currently in the UK:

    • On a visit visa
    • On a short-term student visa
    • On a Parent of a Child Student visa
    • On a seasonal worker visa
    • On a domestic worker in a private household visa
    • On immigration bail
    • Because they were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds

    When applying online, your dependents will require your application number, which you will receive when you apply. This number is known as a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN).

    Your dependents will also have to prove their identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    Once your dependents have submitted their application, uploaded their documents and proved their identity, they will also receive a decision on their application within 8 weeks.

    Sponsor requirements for UK Expansion Workers

    The UK Expansion Worker route is for organizations that are linked to overseas businesses but haven’t started operating in the UK yet. If an overseas employer wants to send a senior or specialist worker to the UK for a temporary job in an already-established UK business, they should apply for a different visa, like the Senior or Specialist Worker visa or Skilled Worker visa. However, the UK employer must be licensed to sponsor workers for these visas.

    How Can IAS Help?

    The UK Expansion Worker route is one of the UK’s Global Business Mobility routes, intending to stoke the UK’s local economy and attract international businesses.

    If you’re a business owner, or a senior employee of an established overseas business looking to open up a new branch in the UK, you may wish to seek professional support to help you with the process.

    This is where IAS can help.

    We offer complete and comprehensive legal advice for individuals and businesses looking to come to the UK. We can support you in every step of the expansion process, from acquiring approved UK expansion worker sponsor status, helping to acquire UK Expansion Worker visas for your workforce, and advising on all aspects of UK business immigration.

    We can also offer help if you’re considering other Global Business Mobility visa routes, or for general immigration needs for your UK company, such as Skilled Worker visa applications or with Companies House registration.

    For more information about the services we provide and how we can help you, reach out to a member of our team today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    There are a wide range of eligible jobs for the Expansion Worker visa across a variety of industries.

    Many of these jobs are also eligible under other Global Business Mobility visas.

    full list of eligible jobs for Global Mobility visas, including UK expansion workers, can be found on the Gov.uk website.

    If you happen to have a child while you’re in the UK with an Expansion Worker visa, they will not automatically become a British citizen.

    Instead, you’ll need to submit an application online for them as your dependent. This will be necessary if you wish to travel in and out of the UK with them.

    You must apply to add them to your visa before they turn 18 if they want to stay in the UK.

    You must provide a full UK birth certificate for each child, showing the names of both parents, when you apply.

    The genuine job requirement for the UK Expansion Worker Visa means that the job you are planning to do in the UK must be a real and legitimate position that matches your skill level and qualifications. It should not be a sham or fictitious job created solely for the purpose of obtaining a visa. The UK authorities will assess whether the job offer is genuine and whether it meets the requirements of the visa category.

    The “going rate” represents the typical yearly gross income for your specific job position within the United Kingdom. As of 2023, it is £45,800.

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