The Global Business Mobility Expansion Worker visa has replaced the Sole Representative visa. Unlike for the previous Sole Representative visa, the Expansion Worker visa do require a Sponsor Licence before worker(s) can apply for the Expansion Worker visa itself. Points to note when preparing the supporting documents for GBM Expansion Worker sponsor licence:

  • Unless an exception set out below applies, you must send evidence specified under each of the 4 numbered headings below.This will count as 4 documents.
  • Where a combination of documents is specified under a heading, this will count as one document.
  • You must also send any mandatory documents listed in Table 2 if they are relevant to your business.

Exceptions when only limited number of documents is required

You do not need to send any documents listed under headings (2), (3) or (4) below if either of the below is true but you must still send the evidence listed under (1).

• your overseas business is listed on the London Stock Exchange on either the Main Market or the AIM market; OR

• your overseas business is listed on an international stock exchange that the Financial Conduct Authority considers to have an equivalent level of regulation to UK markets – see FCA List of Regulated Markets

You must tell the Home Office in your sponsor licence application which exception applies to you and provide any necessary information to confirm this (such as a link to the relevant online listing).

Specific exception for Japanese business expanding to the UK

You do not have to send any documents listed under (2)(b) below if you are a Japanese business expanding to the UK. However, if you do not submit this evidence, you will only be permitted to sponsor one person at a time. You must still submit the evidence listed under (1), (2)(a), (3) and (4).

In all cases where an exception applies, Home Office reserve the right to request more information from you if necessary to decide your application.

Documents required for all other applicants

1. Proof of your UK ‘footprint’

All businesses applying under UK Expansion Worker must show they have a UK footprint. This must be one of the following documents

• proof you have registered a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of your overseas company with Companies House (you need only provide your Companies House reference number); or

• evidence you have bought or leased business premises in the UK (such as a lease agreement or proof of purchase)

2. Evidence of your overseas trading presence

Unless an exception applies, you must submit the documents listed under (a) and (b) below.

(a) Evidence you have been trading overseas for at least 12 months before the date of your application

You must submit one document under sub-paragraph (i) below and one document under sub-paragraph (ii).

  • One of the following

Documents you need to send

• corporate or business bank statements showing active transactions for services or goods received or provided covering a period of at least 12 months before the date of application; or

• audited or unaudited accounts for the most recent financial year (as defined by laws applicable to the overseas business), together with an accountant’s certificate of confirmation – this certificate should include confirmation of the accountant’s registration with any appropriate regulatory body in the country in which those accounts have been produced

  • One of the following

• copies of contracts for goods or services covering at least the 12- month period before the date of application; or

• evidence of advertising for services or goods offered by your overseas business

(b) Evidence your business was trading overseas 3 years before the date of application – this should be at least one of the following:

• business accounts for the relevant period (these must be audited if required by the applicable laws in the jurisdiction in which your business is based)

• corporate or business bank statements for the relevant period

• contracts for goods and services for the relevant period • annual reports and investor information for the relevant period • any other credible evidence to show you were actively trading during this period

3. Evidence of your planned expansion to the UK

Unless an exception applies, you must send one document listed under (a) and two listed under (b) below.

Documents you need to send

  • Evidence of your capability to fund your planned expansion, which must show that you have funds available to cover the initial costs for the first 12 months, as projected in your expansion plan – at least one of the following:

• corporate or business bank statements showing transactions from the 12-month period before the date of application (if not already submitted under 2(a)(i) above)

• a letter from your corporate banking provider, setting out the dealings it has had with you, including the nature and duration of those dealings

  • Evidence of your expansion plans – at least 2 of the following:

• a summary of your overseas business, including:

o information about which sector, or sectors, you operate in

o a current hierarchy chart for the overseas business detailing any owner, director and board members and the total number of employees

o information about any jobs you intend to fill in the UK, including the job title, occupation code, and salary

• a business plan or other document summarising the last 12 months’ activity of the overseas company, its financial position, reasons for expansion, the proposed overall investment in the UK and projected operating costs or expenditure for at least the first 12 months of operating in the UK

• evidence of market research conducted and detailed reasoning for choosing the UK as a viable market to expand to (if not included in the business plan)

• where the expansion is subject to a shareholder vote process, as detailed in the company’s original articles of incorporation or equivalent, evidence that this process has been followed (this may form part of the company’s filed accounts).

Where the business plan or document summarising the expansion plans has been produced either wholly or in part by a third party (for example, where market research was outsourced to a specialist company) you must also include certified copies of the contract or agreement for that piece of work with the third party.

4. Other documents

Unless an exception applies, you must also send at least one of the following:

• annual reports and investor information

• evidence of engagement with, or advice sought from, specialist advice companies, such as company formation businesses, relocation firms, UK corporate law services, tax services, or the British Chamber of Commerce

• details of any recruitment campaigns you have run, or plan to run, in the UK for employees of the UK business once trading begins

• your Articles of Association or equivalent document

• details of any tendering or other process where any activity relating to your business expansion plan, such as the commission of market research, has been conducted by an independent third party

• any document listed in Table 4 (those are the usual documents used for Skilled Worker sponsor licence applications).