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UK Expansion Worker Visa: A Gateway for Global Business Growth

In today’s interconnected world, the movement of skilled workers across borders is essential for businesses aiming to expand their operations globally. Recognizing this need, the UK has introduced the Expansion Worker Visa, a crucial component of the Global Business Mobility (GBM) route, designed to facilitate the temporary relocation of workers to the UK for business expansion purposes. This article delves into the key aspects of the UK Expansion Worker Visa, its eligibility criteria, benefits, and the application process.

What is the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

The UK Expansion Worker Visa is part of the Global Business Mobility route introduced in April 2022. This visa is tailored for senior managers and specialist employees who are assigned to the UK to establish a new branch or subsidiary of an overseas business. Unlike the traditional routes, this visa is specifically aimed at facilitating business expansion rather than intra-company transfers.

Key Features and Benefits

  1. Temporary Relocation: The visa allows for the temporary relocation of key personnel to the UK, ensuring that businesses can set up operations smoothly and efficiently.
  2. Duration of Stay: Holders of this visa can stay in the UK for up to one year initially, with the possibility of extension. The maximum total stay allowed under this route is two years.
  3. No Permanent Settlement: Unlike some other visa categories, the Expansion Worker Visa does not directly lead to permanent settlement in the UK. However, it provides a valuable opportunity for businesses to establish a presence in the UK market.
  4. Family Accompaniment: Visa holders can bring their dependents to the UK, ensuring that their families can join them during their assignment.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the UK Expansion Worker Visa, applicants must meet several criteria:

  1. Existing Employment: The applicant must be employed by an overseas business that has been trading for at least three years prior to the application.
  2. Role Requirements: The applicant must be a senior manager or specialist employee with the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge to support the business expansion.
  3. Certificate of Sponsorship: A valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) must be issued by the UK branch or subsidiary that is being established.
  4. Financial Requirements: The applicant must have enough personal savings to support themselves and any dependents during their stay in the UK. This typically means having at least £1,270 in savings, which must have been in the applicant’s bank account for at least 28 consecutive days prior to the application.
  5. Salary Requirements: The salary must meet the minimum threshold, which is currently £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for the occupation, whichever is higher.

Application Process

  1. Sponsorship License: The UK business must first obtain a sponsorship license from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This involves demonstrating that the business is a genuine entity capable of meeting sponsorship duties.
  2. Certificate of Sponsorship: Once the sponsorship license is secured, the business must issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to the applicant.
  3. Visa Application: The applicant can then proceed to apply for the Expansion Worker Visa online, providing the necessary documents, including proof of identity, employment details, financial statements, and the Certificate of Sponsorship.
  4. Biometric Information: Applicants will need to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) at a visa application center.
  5. Decision and Arrival: After submitting the application and attending the biometric appointment, the applicant will wait for a decision, which typically takes around three weeks. Upon approval, the applicant can travel to the UK and begin their assignment.


The UK Expansion Worker Visa represents a significant opportunity for international businesses to establish a foothold in one of the world’s most dynamic and competitive markets. By streamlining the process for key personnel to relocate temporarily, this visa category supports business growth and economic development. For companies looking to expand their operations into the UK, understanding and leveraging this visa can be a critical step toward achieving their global ambitions.

For further details and assistance with the application process, businesses and applicants are encouraged to consult with immigration experts or legal advisors to ensure compliance with all requirements and to facilitate a smooth transition.

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