On 11th April 2022, a new route was introduced for overseas businesses wishing to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK.

Unlike under its predecessor, the Sole Representative route, an employee being sent to the UK to establish a branch will need to be sponsored by their overseas employer which must apply for a UK Expansion Worker Sponsor Licence.

Interestingly, the route allows the overseas business to nominate an eligible employee to act as the authorising officer of the new entity and to sponsor him or herself to enter the UK.

The employee in question should have worked for the overseas business for at least 12 months before they apply for a visa (unless they earn an annual salary of £73,900 or more), must generally earn at least £42,400, and must be coming to undertake a skilled role.

Once in the UK, they may be able to sponsor up to 4 additional eligible employees to help with the establishment of the UK entity.

This route is only aimed at businesses without an existing trading entity in the UK.

Employees coming to the UK under this route will not be able to settle here though they may be able to switch to the skilled worker route and apply for settlement once eligible on that basis.

For more detailed advice on using this route, and for applying for a UK Expansion Worker Sponsor Licence, please email us on