Settlement as a Sole Representative Visa Holder
The Representative of an Overseas Business category was closed on 11 April 2022, but many individuals who are already in the Sole Representative route will be looking to extend their leave or apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). In this post, we provide an overview of the requirements when applying for settlement on the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business route. We have also included brief information for dependants who may be eligible to apply at the same time as the main applicant.
Businesses that wish to send their senior managers and specialist employees to the UK to expand their overseas business, may consider the Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker route. Further details are explained in our earlier post here.
Overview of Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Route
In order to be eligible for settlement on the Sole Representative route, you will need to show that:
- You meet the validity requirements, which includes completing the correct application form and paying the application fee;
- You must not fall for refusal under the suitability requirements;
- You must be in the UK and have, or have last been granted, permission as a Representative of an Overseas Business;
- You have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK before the date of application with permission as a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business;
- You can show English language ability;
- You meet Knowledge of Life in the UK requirement;
- You are still required to continue your work;
- You meet the work and business requirements;
If your application is successful, you will be granted settlement. Do check our website for information on applying for British citizenship by naturalisation if this is the next step you have in mind.
Continuous residence in ILR applications
An individual may be eligible to apply for ILR after 5 years lawfully in the UK. You must have spent the last 5 years before the date of application in the UK with permission as a Representative of an Overseas Business and meet the continuous residence requirement. In accordance with Home Office guidance, continuous residence means that:
“The applicant must show all of the following:
- they have lived in the UK with relevant permission
- their residence is lawful
- they have not been absent for more than the specified periods, unless for permitted reasons”
The Home Office may check your immigration history to see whether you have spent time in the UK with the relevant permission. The period of continuous residence means that your absences outside the UK must be no more than 180 days in any 12 month period unless an exception applies, such as compelling and compassionate personal circumstances.
Considering the work and business requirements for settlement as a Sole Representative
The work requirement for the Sole Representative in a settlement application means providing evidence that the overseas business has been active and trading and its headquarters continues to remain outside the UK. As a representative of the UK business, you must have been employed by and working full time for the overseas business you represent or for the business’s UK branch or subsidiary throughout the relevant period. You also must not have undertaken work for other businesses or engaged in business of your own.
In terms of the business, the Home Office guidance states that:
“If the applicant has or last had permission as a Sole Representative and is applying for settlement, throughout the qualifying period they must have met the following requirements:
- they must not have had a majority stake in, or otherwise owned or controlled a majority of the overseas business they represent, whether that ownership or control was by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement
- the applicant must have established and then supervised the registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas business they represent in the UK, where that branch or subsidiary was actively trading in the same type of business as the overseas business”
To meet this requirement, specific documents are required by the Home Office and it is important to seek legal advice to ensure that you provide the right documentation.
English Language and Life in the UK test
One of the requirements to be eligible to apply for settlement as a Sole Representative is that you will need to show that you meet the English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK requirements, unless an exemption applies. For example, if you are aged 65 or over, you do not need to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK.
Dependants of Sole Representative of Overseas Business applicants
In our earlier post, Applying for ILR as a Dependant on Business Routes, we set out the specific requirements for the dependants of individuals who are in the UK on the business routes. As mentioned in the post, dependants include
- Civil partners
- Partners who are not married or in a civil partnership but who have lived together in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years
- Dependent children under the age of 18 on the date of application
- Dependent children over 18 who were last granted permission as a dependent child of their parent(s)
Dependent partners must be over 18 years old and the relationship must be genuine and subsisting. Children applying as a dependent child of a Representative of an Overseas Business migrant have to be under 18 years of age on the date of application, unless the last permission was as a dependent child and the applicant is not leading an independent life.
For settlement applications, the dependent partner and dependent child must be applying at the same time as the main applicant unless the main applicant is already settled in the UK or has become a British citizen while holding permission on the same route. They must also be last granted leave to remain as a dependent partner or dependent child of the main applicant unless the dependent child was born in the UK and is applying as a child of the main applicant.
Both the dependent partner and dependent child will need to meet the English language and Knowledge of life in the UK requirements unless an exception applies.
The position of the dependants is further discussed in our earlier post, The Sole Representative Visa is Closed – But Not for Dependants!
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance with a settlement application as a Representative of an Overseas Business, contact our business immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.