Sole Representative of Overseas Business in the UK

The representative of an overseas business category is an employment category which remains outside the Points-Based System (PBS). This category provides a possibility to enter and stay in the UK for the following employees:

  • individuals whose role is to be the sole UK representative of an overseas business which seeks to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK, and
  • media employees of overseas newspapers, news agencies or broadcasting organisations who are being posted by their overseas employer on a long-term UK posting.

Entry clearance is mandatory and is normally issued for an initial period of up to 3 years. Further leave to remain is normally granted for 2 years. To apply for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residency), a person must have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the representative of an overseas business category and must meet certain other requirements, including the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirements set out in the Immigration Rules.

Main requirements and eligibility

The sole representative must have been recruited outside the United Kingdom and joined the parent company abroad. A successful applicant is likely to be someone who has been employed by the parent company for some time and holds a senior position there.

If the representative is not an existing employee, or has been employed for a short time only, then he or she must be able to demonstrate a good track record in the same or in a closely related field, in order to show that the reasons for appointment are compelling.

Sole representatives must, in the first instance, be employed by the overseas firm direct. Agents who are hired to market the company’s product in the United Kingdom are normally self-employed and provide their services for a fee. Such people cannot therefore qualify as sole representatives. Nor can sales representatives or others such as buyers who fulfil a single function only. However, senior sales staff who have other responsibilities such as marketing and distribution are not debarred from qualifying as sole representatives.

Sole representatives may be offered a remuneration package consisting of a basic salary and commission. This is acceptable as long as the salary element is sufficient to support the applicant and his / her family without recourse to public funds.