Secure your Expansion Worker Visa with our comprehensive guide. International employees need to expand their company's reach.

Expansion Worker Visa

The Expansion Worker Visa is a special UK visa that lets foreign workers help their companies start a branch in the UK. This guide will explain who can get the visa, what you can do with it, and how to apply for it, giving you a chance to grow your career internationally.

Understanding the Expansion Worker Visa

What is the Expansion Worker Visa?

The Expansion Worker Visa is part of the UK government’s Global Business Mobility program. It’s designed for senior managers or specialists at overseas businesses aiming to set up a UK branch. This visa is particularly for companies that have not yet started operations in the UK.

The eligibility requirements for the Expansion Worker Wage Visa

To be eligible for the Expansion Worker Visa, applicants must meet specific criteria:

certificate of sponsorship (CoS)

Sponsoring UK-registered companies must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by their legal employer who is the approved sponsor.

Prior Work Experience

Applicants should have worked for their employer outside the UK for a minimum of 12 months, except in the following cases: 

  • The amount of money I will earn being an academic psychiatrist and getting an average salary exceeding £73,900.
  • The British owners of a tech startup hired employees from Japan to support a newly launched division in the UK.
  • Australian employees, or residents authorities of an Australian organization that establishes a branch in the UK.

Eligible Occupation

Vigilante’s only applications for roles are jobs on the given list of eligible occupations.

Salary Requirement

To qualify for minimum wage salary pay, applicants must earn at least £42,400 per annum or the going rate for their particular job’s salary, which is the highest of the two alternatives.

Benefits of an Expansion Worker Visa:

Holders of an Expansion Worker Visa can:

Work for their sponsoring employer in the specified role.

  • Study further.
  • Bring dependents (partner and children).
  • Do voluntary work.
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK.

However, visa holders cannot access most public funds or the State Pension, change jobs without authorization, take a second job, or apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Meeting the Points Requirement

Applicants for the Expansion Worker Visa must accumulate a total of 60 points across three distinct categories, each worth 20 points:

  • Sponsorship: Possessing a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by an eligible licensed sponsor (20 points).
  • Job at Appropriate Skill Level: The job must correspond to an appropriate skill level and have an eligible occupation code (20 points).
  • Salary at the Required Level: Earning at least £45,800 annually or the ‘going rate’ for the job (20 points).

In addition to the points requirement, applicants must meet other eligibility criteria to qualify for this visa.

Duration of Stay:

You can stay in the UK for up to 12 months or the duration stated on your CoS plus an additional 14 days, whichever is shorter. You can extend your visa for another 12 months, but the total stay cannot exceed 2 years.

Application Process

To apply for an Expansion Worker Visa, you can complete the process online. Before applying, you need to have worked for at least 12 months with your employer abroad, unless you’re exempt from this requirement. During the application, fill out the form, upload the necessary documents, and verify your identity either at a visa application center or through the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.

Financial Requirements and Fees

Applicants must be aware of the financial aspects associated with the Expansion Worker Visa:

Visa Application Fee: £259

Immigration Healthcare Surcharge: £624 per year of stay in the UK

Minimum Savings: £1,270 to demonstrate self-sufficiency

Financial records must show the availability of funds for at least 28 consecutive days within 31 days of the application date.

It’s important to note that partners and children accompanying the primary visa holder must also prove their ability to support themselves while in the UK.

Processing Times

The processing times for Expansion Worker Visa applications vary based on the applicant’s location:

Applying from outside the UK: Typically, a decision is reached within 3 weeks.

Applying from inside the UK: A decision is usually made within 8 weeks.

You should apply for the visa no more than 3 months before your work start date in the UK, as stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship. Remember to allow extra time for scheduling appointments at visa application centers. If you need a faster decision, expedited processing options are available for an additional fee, which varies by country.

Extending Your Visa

If you hold an Expansion Worker Visa, you can apply to extend it under certain conditions:

  • You must keep the same job and occupation code.
  • You need to stay employed by the same sponsoring employer.
  • You must not have exceeded the maximum stay limit of 2 years.
  • To extend your visa, you apply online, and it typically takes up to 8 weeks to process.

Switching to an Expansion Worker Visa

If you are already in the UK with a different type of visa, you might be able to switch to an Expansion Worker Visa if you meet the eligibility requirements. However, not all visa types allow switching, and if yours doesn’t, you will need to apply from outside the UK.

Updating Your Visa

If your job changes to a different occupation code while you hold an Expansion Worker Visa, you need to update your visa. You must still be employed by the same employer and meet all the visa’s eligibility requirements. You will also need a new Certificate of Sponsorship. Can apply for this update up to three months before the start date of your new job.

Dependents’ Requirements

Overview of Dependents

The Expansion Worker Visa allows you to bring family members with you to the UK as dependents. Dependents can include:

  • Your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner.
  • Your children under 18, including those born in the UK while you hold the visa.
  • Your children over 18, if they are already in the UK as your dependents.

Requirements for Partners

To bring a partner to the UK on an Expansion Worker Visa, the primary visa holder needs to prove one of the following:

  • A legally recognized marriage or civil partnership.
  • At least two years of living together before applying.

Requirements for Children (Aged 16 and Over)

Children aged 16 or over can accompany the visa holder to the UK if they meet certain conditions:

  • Live with the primary visa holder, unless they are in full-time education.
  • Not be married, in a civil partnership, or have children of their own.
  • Be financially supported by the primary visa holder.

Financial Requirements for Dependents

Dependents of Expansion Worker Visa holders must meet certain financial requirements while in the UK:

  • Partner: £285
  • First child: £315
  • Each additional child: £200

These financial resources must be available for at least 28 consecutive days within the 31 days before the application date. Proof of financial capacity is required unless all parties involved have held valid UK visas for at least 12 months.

Dependents Applying from Inside the UK

Dependents already in the UK can apply to extend or switch their visas to align with the primary visa holder’s status. This can be done concurrently with the primary visa holder’s application or at any time before the dependent’s current visa expires.

The Expansion Worker Visa serves as a pathway for foreign workers to aid in the development of international businesses within the United Kingdom. This visa is characterized by stringent eligibility requirements and a detailed application process, designed to attract highly skilled professionals globally. If you are looking to broaden your professional landscape and make a significant impact on the global business stage, the Expansion Worker Visa could be your key to success.

For those interested in pursuing this opportunity or needing guidance with the visa application process, it is advisable to consult with legal experts such as IAS, who specialize in providing professional assistance. Embrace the possibility of enhancing your international career prospects through the Expansion Worker Visa and discover a plethora of opportunities awaiting in the United Kingdom.

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