UK Expansion Worker Visa

UK Expansion Worker visas give a representative of a non-UK business permission to enter the UK in order to establish the first UK branch or office of that company. This visa is most appropriate for senior managers or specialists already employed by the company looking to set up its UK branch.

For representatives of a business which is already operating in the UK, you should instead consider applying for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.

Applicants for a UK Expansion Worker visa must:

  • have a sponsorship certificate from their employer
  • have already worked for their employer outside the UK for at least 12 months, unless
    • they earn more than £73,900 per year
    • they are a Japanese national working for a Japanese company which is expanding to the UK
    • they are an Australian national or permant resident working for an Australian company which is expanding to the UK
  • do a job which is classed as an ‘eligible occupation’ (these are subject to change by the UK Government)
  • receive a salary of at least £45,800 per year or the ‘going rate’ for their job, whichever amount is higher
  • prove they have enough money in their bank account to support them when they arrive (usually £1270 for one person, plus around £300 per dependant)

UK Expansion Worker visas are usually valid for an initial period of 12 months, unless the certificate of sponsorship is valid for less than one year. This visa can be extended once, for an additional 12 months.

Managers and HR: Be careful when considering visa options for an employee who has previously worked in the UK on other types of intra-company or Global Business Mobility category visas. Individuals who have spent time in the UK on many of these visas are usually limited to a maximum stay of five years in any six year period.

UK Expansion Worker Visa process and costs

Once the Home Office has your application and any supporting documents, you can usually expect to receive a decision within three weeks if you are applying from outside the UK. If you are already in the UK when you apply, getting a decision can take up to 8 weeks.  You may be able to receive a decision within in a few working days depending on your specific circumstances by paying for UK Visas and Immigration’s priority or super priority service.

Applications for a UK Expansion Worker Visa cost £298. You will also have to pay the UK’s healthcare surcharge as part of your application for each year that the visa will be valid.

NB: This visa does not permit you to take a second job, change jobs without updating your visa, or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement).

Neveen Galal

Neveen is a UK Immigration Solicitor with over 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law. She represents corporate and individual clients seeking assistance with any visa category to the UK. Neveen is a graduate of Westminster University, from which she was awarded the 2021 Westminster Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award.

Neveen’s rapid career trajectory saw her progress at pace from paralegal to Head of Department level, and then to earning a place on her firm’s Board of Directors by the age of 28. This achievement was recognised by Who’s Who placing her in their directory of ‘Britain’s Business Elite’ in 2008. Neveen then went on to establish her own boutique Immigration Law Firm in the City of London in 2015. She also co-founded the Hexagon Legal Network in 2017.

Neveen is passionate about all aspects of UK immigration law, and is committed to providing bespoke residence and citizenship solutions to citizens across the globe that wish to relocate to the UK. Neveen’s immigration advisory services are predominately geared towards highly skilled workers and companies wishing to have a UK presence, however she and her team of experienced immigration advisors can also assist with partner-based applications, student visas and all other personal and business immigration matters.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.