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The UK Expansion Worker visa is a new sponsored route for established overseas businesses who wish to set up a branch or subsidiary in the UK. It allows eligible businesses to sponsor an existing senior manager or specialist worker when being assigned to the UK for a temporary period of time to undertake work related to the expansion of a business in the UK. Sponsors may send a maximum of 5 workers at a time. 

The UK Expansion Worker route can only be used when the UK business has not yet started trading.  If the business is already trading in the UK, you should apply for a Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker Visa instead. 

Requirements for a UK Expansion Worker Visa 

To qualify for a UK Expansion Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that: 

  • You are aged 18 or over; 

  • You are currently working for a business or organisation that is linked to your UK sponsor by common ownership or control; 

  • You have worked outside the UK for the linked business or organisation for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless you are a high earner earning £73,900 per year or more or you are a Japanese national seeking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary of the linked business or organisation under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement; 

  • You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your UK sponsor for the job you are planning to do; 

  • The job you are planning to do is genuine; 

  • The job you are planning to do is skilled to at least RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent); 

  • Your salary will be equal to or exceed both £42,400 per year and the ‘going rate’ for the job; 

  • You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds; 


Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement 

The applicant must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) assigned by a UK licensed sponsor for the job which they are planning to do in the UK. They must also be being sponsored for employment which is genuine. 

Your sponsor must be listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors, unless you were last granted permission as a Secondment Worker and are applying to continue working for the same sponsor as in your last permission. 

Overseas Work Requirement 

To be eligible for sponsorship, the applicant must currently be working for an overseas linked employer and have done so for at least 12 months, unless one of the following exemptions applies: the applicant is earning over £73,900, or is a Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company expanding to the UK. This means high-earners or qualifying Japanese nationals must be working for an overseas linked employer, but don’t need to have worked outside the UK for any specific period. 

Salary Requirement 

Employers transferring an employee under the Expansion Worker route must pay their skilled worker a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary requirement and going rate in the occupation code. 

The general salary requirement under the Expansion Worker route is £42,400 a year.  In most cases an applicant must be paid a salary which equals or exceeds £42,400 per year for the occupation whichever is higher.


Job Skill Level Requirement 

The job you are planning to do must be skilled to at least RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent).  You do not necessarily need to hold a degree, but the role must be equivalent to a graduate level role. 

Immigration Skills Charge Requirement 

Employers that are authorised by the Home Office to sponsor a UK Expansion Worker are not required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge. 

Financial Requirement 

You will need to have cash funds of at least £1,270 available. 

You will need to have held the money for at least 28 consecutive days ending not more than 31 days before the date of your visa application. 

You will be exempt from the financial requirement if your sponsor is willing to meet your maintenance costs up to the end of the first month of your employment, to an amount of at least £1,270, if necessary.  Your sponsor will need to confirm this on your Certificate of Sponsorship. 

English Language Requirement 

Visa applicants do not need to satisfy an English language requirement. 

Maximum time allowed in this category 

If you have already spent time in the UK on any of the Global Mobility Routes or the former Intra-company routes then you may not be able to stay in the UK on a Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa for the full time period set out above. 

This is because you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period if you have previously spent time in any of the Global Business Mobility routes or the former Intra-company routes. 

Dependants of Global Business Mobility Visa: UK Expansion Worker Visa applicants 

Expansion Worker Visa holders can be joined or accompanied by a dependent partner over the age of 18 and dependent children under the age of 18. 

Settlement under Senior or Specialist Worker Route 

Expansion Worker Visa does not lead directly to settlement in the UK. However, once in the UK, you may be able to switch into another immigration route which does lead to settlement. 

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