Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

Terms of employment as a sole representative

In this article we examine the working arrangements of sole representatives, looking at the terms and conditions of employment that the Home Office will expect a sole representative to have in order to qualify as a representative of an overseas business.  

When assessing the work arrangements of a sole representative of an overseas business visa applicant, UK Visas & Immigration will consider 3 main factors:

  • Level of authority
  • Working hours
  • Salary and benefits

Level of authority for a sole representative

A sole representative must have authority to take the majority of key operational business decisions locally on behalf of the company.  They will be expected to have overall responsibility for establishing and operating the UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary. However, they will not be expected to decide all matters unilaterally.

In order to assess the level of authority vested in the sole representative, UK Visas & Immigration will consider the overseas business representative’s contract of employment, their job description, any business plan submitted by the employer and any other written confirmation from the employer.  Read together, all of the evidence must demonstrate that the applicant will have authority to set up and operate a UK branch or subsidiary and take business decisions on behalf of the company.

Working hours for a sole representative

Sole representatives are required to work full-time.  According to the Home Office, they are not required to work any set number of hours each week.  However, there is clearly a minimum number of hours below which it would be difficult to satisfy the Home Office that the role is genuinely full-time.  

Drawing upon the analogous job creation requirement for Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants, we suggest that a sole representative should be contracted to work at least 30 hours per week in order to satisfy the full-time requirement.

Salary and benefits for a sole representative

Sole representatives are not required to earn any particular minimum level of salary or receive any particular benefits.  However, their remuneration package should be appropriate for a senior employee in the company.

The Home Office will expect to see that the sole representative is paid an amount which reflects the importance of their position and is higher than other employees’ salaries.   The remuneration package as a whole will be considered, including any benefits and commission payments.

The Home Office will also consider whether the sole representative will receive a ‘full-time’ salary, that is whether the salary element of their package is sufficient to enable them to maintain and accommodate themselves without needing to undertake any other employment.

Additional considerations

In order to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that their working arrangements will be consistent with the requirements of the sole representative of an overseas business visa category,  the applicant must provide a document which details their terms and conditions of employment.

Sole representative’s are not permitted to undertake any work or business activity in addition to their sole representative duties.  This includes acting as a representative of another overseas firm.

Sole representatives are expected to base themselves in the United Kingdom and to spend a minimum of 9 months of the year in the UK.  Applicants who intend to spent less time in the UK may be approved provided that the additional absences are essential to the running of the United Kingdom business.

Contact our Sole Representative Visa Lawyers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to an application for entry clearance, leave to remain or settlement as a sole representative of an overseas business, contact our immigration barristers and lawyers on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form below.


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