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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Sole Representative Visa and Employment Status

10 March 2020 Grace McGill Blog


The Immigration Rules provide that the Sole Representative of an overseas business should be employed by the parent company in a senior position of employment within the company , with authority to take operational decisions once operating the UK business concern. 


The candidate must have been employed by the company directly at the time of the entry clearance application and they must retain the authority to make executive decisions on behalf of the company whose principal place of business remains outwith the UK.

The person must be in a position and have authority to take the majority of key operational business decisions in the UK Company but accepts that it would be unreasonable to expect them to take unilateral decisions on all matters which does lend to welcome flexibility in the consideration of the operations.

In the course of meeting the evidential requirements as a representative of an overseas business, Home Office guidance confirms that a contract of employment detailing terms and conditions must be provided with in addition, a current job description and business plan which details the scope and purpose of the UK based trading entity.

The salary and any other benefits must be appropriate for a senior employee in the company and relatively higher than other employees’ salaries.  Sole representatives may be offered a remuneration package that consists of a basic salary and commission which is acceptable provided that the level of the salary is sufficient to support the applicant and any family members.  The person must be engaged full time in the pursuits of the company albeit that there is no stipulation as to a set amount of weekly hours suffice to say that the salary should be reflective of a full time position. 

Home Office Guidance states that the Sole Representative cannot be majority shareholders in the parent company and that applications will be refused if the applicant’s shareholding is over 50%. However, the applicant could still qualify if they are a majority shareholder provided the holding does not exceed the stated 50%. The application may attract more detailed scrutiny from Home Office and requests for further information as to the applicant’s true employment status and position.

Supporting evidence is recommended from the parent company attesting to the employment position, for example , a statement confirming that the applicant

  • Is an employee who is directly employed by the company and not acting as a subsidiary or third party such as a sub-contractor or individual that has been contracted as a third-party agent (e.g. sales agent)
  • Is an employee who was recruited outside of the UK and holds a Senior position which is authorised to establish a branch and operate it on the company’s behalf
  • Is an employee who will be working for the company in a full-time capacity and will not be conducting any other work or business
  • That the employee is not a majority shareholder in the company

The more evidence that can be provided to evidence the company’s business activities and the position of employee, the greater chances of success.


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