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The Sole Representative Visa is Closed - But Not for Dependants!

The Representative of an Overseas Business route (commonly known as the “Sole Representative” route) closed to new main applicants at 9:00am (BST) on 11 April 2022.  The Sole Representative visa route has now been replaced by a new Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker route. We will be diving into various aspects of this new route over the coming weeks.  However, in this post we look at the position of family members of Sole Representatives and, more specifically, how the closure of the Sole Representative route impacts dependants of Sole Representatives. 

I Submitted an Application as a Sole Representative Before the Deadline – Did My Family Need to Apply at the Same Time as Me? 

No.  If you managed to finalise and submit an application for a Sole Representative visa before 11th April, but did not manage to arrange for your partner and children to move at the same time then this is a not a problem.  It is possible for your family members to remain in your home country, finish the school year or give notice in a job, etc. as required, and then apply to join you in the UK in due course. 

I Have a Sole Representative Visa Already – Can My Family Join Me in the UK After 11th April 2022?

Yes.  The entry clearance route has not closed to dependent partners or children of Sole Representatives. 

Dependants of Sole Representatives can still make visa applications to join a main Sole Representative visa holder who is already in the UK even after 11 April 2022.

The new rules state:

ROB 20.2. An application for entry clearance or permission to stay as a partner or child of a Representative of an Overseas Business must meet all the following requirements: 

(a) any fee and Immigration Health Charge must have been paid; and 

(b) the applicant must have provided any required biometrics; and 

(c) the applicant must have provided a passport or other travel document which satisfactorily establishes their identity and nationality; and (d) the applicant must be applying as partner or child of a person who:

(i) has made a valid application for entry clearance or permission to stay on the Representative of an Overseas Business route that has not been decided; or

(ii) has entry clearance or permission on the Representative of an Overseas Business route; or

(iii) is settled or has become a British citizen, providing that person (P) had permission on the Representative of an Overseas Business route when they settled and the applicant either had permission as their partner or child at that time, or the applicant is applying as a child of P and the applicant was born in the UK before P settled.

There is no reference to the route closing for partners or children of Representatives of an Overseas Business. 

Can the Family Members of a Sole Representative Settle in the UK?

Yes. Family members can settle in line with the main Sole Representative applicant.  This route is somewhat unusual in that it does not require family members to have lived in the UK for at least five years.  

The new Rules regarding family settlement from 11 April 2022 state:

ROB 31.2. An application for settlement as a partner or child of a Representative of an Overseas Business must meet all the following requirements: 

(a) any fee must have been paid; and 

(b) the applicant must have provided any required biometrics; and 

(c) the applicant must have provided either a passport or other travel document which satisfactorily establishes their identity and nationality; and 

(d) the applicant must be in the UK; and 

(e) the applicant must be applying as a partner or child of a person (P) who: 

(i) has made a valid application for settlement in the UK as a Representative of an Overseas Business and that application has not been decided; or 

(ii) is settled or has become a British citizen, providing P had permission as a Representative of an Overseas Business when they settled and the applicant either had permission as their partner or child at that time or the applicant is applying as a child of P and the applicant was born in the UK before P settled.

The Applicant also needs to show that they meet the eligibility requirements in ROB 33.1 – 37.1, including Life in the UK / English language requirements if over the age of 18. 

Thus, so long as a family member enters the UK as a dependent partner or child of the Sole Representative main applicant before the main applicant becomes settled, they too can be on a route to settlement, and potentially a short route if they move to the UK not long before the main application reaches five years.

Is There a Maximum Number of Absences an Applicant Can Have?

A family member of a Sole Representative, unlike the main applicant, does not need to show ‘continuity’ of residence – i.e. residence with absences of no more than 180 days in any 12 month period. This makes sense in the context of there being no minimum residence period, but is an unusually generous approach of the Home Office. 

Sadly, this generosity is limited as there can be no applications from main applicants after 11th April 2022, but for those able to submit family member applications, the route to settlement is still available. 

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to applying for family members to move as dependants of Sole Representatives, or for an extension as the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business or for Indefinite Leave to Remain, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.

This article was co-written by Dr Catherine Taroni and Georgina Griggs.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.




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