The UK Expansion Worker Visa, also known as the Global Business Mobility visa, opens the door for senior managers and specialist employees from overseas companies to establish a branch of their business in the UK. Unlike the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, this category is specifically designed for situations where the business has not yet begun trading in the UK.

Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for a UK Expansion Worker Visa, several key requirements must be met:

  • Sponsorship by a Licensed Employer: Your employer must hold a valid sponsor license issued by the UK government. This license verifies their legitimacy to sponsor migrant workers. Upon meeting the sponsorship criteria, your employer will provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship, a unique reference number crucial for your visa application.
  • Minimum Employment Tenure: You must have demonstrably worked for the sponsoring company outside the UK for a minimum of 12 months before applying for the visa. This extended employment history establishes your position and value within the company.
  • Eligible Occupation: Your job title must fall under the government’s list of eligible occupations for the Expansion Worker Visa. This list prioritizes senior management positions and specialist roles that require a high level of skill or experience. Examples include engineering managers, financial analysts, or IT specialists with demonstrably advanced knowledge in their fields.
  • Salary Threshold Requirement: The salary you are offered must meet or exceed the minimum salary threshold set by the UK government for your specific job title and location. This ensures you are compensated competitively and can support yourself financially in the UK.

Additional Considerations:

  • English Language Proficiency: While there’s no mandatory English language test for the Expansion Worker Visa, strong English language skills are highly recommended. Effective communication is vital for navigating daily life and excelling in your professional role within the UK.
  • Tuberculosis Test: Depending on your country of origin, you may be required to take a tuberculosis (TB) test to ensure public health standards are maintained. Countries with a high TB prevalence are typically included on this list.

The Application Process:

The application process for the UK Expansion Worker Visa generally involves these steps:

  1. Securing Sponsorship: Obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer, confirming their sponsorship and providing the unique reference number.
  2. Online Application: Submit a completed online application form for the UK Expansion Worker Visa.
  3. Biometric Enrolment: Provide your fingerprints and a digital photograph at a designated visa application centre. Alternatively, if available, you may be able to use the UK Immigration: ID Check mobile app for biometric enrolment.
  4. Supporting Documentation: Compile and upload all necessary documents to support your application. These typically include your passport, proof of employment with the sponsoring company for at least 12 months, job details outlining your title and salary, official documentation confirming your occupation code, evidence of sufficient funds to financially support yourself upon arrival (usually £1,270 or more), and any required TB test results.
  5. Application Fee Payment: Pay the designated application fee to complete the visa application process.

Required Documents (Generally):

  • Valid Passport
  • Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
  • Documents proving your employment with the sponsoring company for at least 12 months outside the UK (e.g., employment contracts, pay stubs)
  • Job title and annual salary details
  • Official document confirming your occupation code
  • Bank statements demonstrating sufficient funds to support yourself initially in the UK
  • Evidence of your relationship with any dependants applying with you (if applicable)

Important Note:

This guide is only for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice. Consulting with a UK immigration lawyer is recommended to receive personalized guidance tailored to your specific circumstances and ensure a smooth application process. They can assist with navigating the intricacies of visa requirements, assess your eligibility, and ensure your application is comprehensive and adheres to all regulations.