How to
choose your sole
representative visa candidate

When preparing to set up a UK branch or subsidiary of your overseas business, it is important to submit a successful application for a sole representative visa.

As part of our sole representative series of articles, we highlight the importance of choosing the right candidate before beginning the application process.

This visa is integral for any non-European business planning to invest in a UK hub. It allows a representative of your business to come to the UK, set up, and run your UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary.

It is important to choose your rep carefully, as they will be the first and only representative of your business in the UK. Most importantly, however, if you choose an overseas national (with no automatic right to work in the UK) they must also meet certain requirements in order to apply for this type of visa.

The Entry Clearance Officer dealing with your application will expect the business to have taken care in selecting a suitably qualified employee to take on this assignment.

In order to be considered eligible for this visa category, a candidate must:

  • Have enough money to support themselves in the UK without help from public funds;
  • Must meet the English language requirement;
  • Have already been recruited and employed outside the UK by the company, whose HQ and principal place of business are outside the UK, prior to the submission of the visa application;
  • Have extensive and relative industry experience and knowledge;
  • Hold a senior position within the company (but not as a majority shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf;
  • Must intend to work only as a full-time representative of that overseas business and not to undertake any other employment upon arrival in the UK; and
  • Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, eg, a registered branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Candidates must prove that they meet the English language requirement currently set at Level A1 (basic or beginner) of the Common European Framework Reference (CEFR), or show that they hold an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree.

Is there a minimum salary requirement?

There is no minimum salary level, but candidates must be in receipt of a salary high enough to support themselves and any family members they wish to take with them to the UK, without needing to turn to public funds for help.  As the candidate will be a senior member of staff, the salary being paid to them needs to reflect this.

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Read more in our sole representative series:

What is a sole representative visa?

Is your business eligible to send a sole rep to a UK?

Applying for a sole rep visa? Let Smith Stone Walters help

The dos and don’ts of a sole rep visa

Can I extend my UK sole rep visa?

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