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UK business visitor changes

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Immigration Rules and guidance around business visits to the UK have been relaxed to allow for remote working and client-facing intra-corporate activities. The new rules are welcomed but could lead to unfortunate scenarios if restrictions are not recognised.

What is different?

There are two main differences that will be interesting to business travellers, UK employers and international corporate groups.

1. Remote working

The Immigration Rules now explicitly state that business visitors to the UK may undertake activities relating to their employment overseas remotely from within the UK, e.g. responding to emails, answering phone calls or participating in remote meetings. This is a welcome acknowledgment of reality by the Home Office.

However, working remotely from the UK must not be the primary purpose of a visit. To assess the primary purpose of a visit, the Home Office will consider whether the proposed length of stay would be financially viable without remote working on an ongoing basis. If a visit’s viability depends on an individual supporting themselves financially through remote work, the Home Office will consider work to be the primary purpose of the visit and refuse entry.

2. Intra-corporate activities

In respect of a project being delivered by a UK entity, an employee of an overseas company in the same corporate group may also advise and consult, trouble-shoot, provide training and share skills and knowledge with a client directly; the employee of the overseas company must not undertake these activities as part of a project being delivered directly to the UK client by the overseas entity.

What is the same?

There are two main, continuing restrictions to consider.

1. Business visits should be short, well-spaced and infrequent

Business visitors still fall under the UK’s Standard Visitor category which allows visitors to remain in the UK for up to 6 months each time they enter the UK. However, as before, the Home Office expects business visitors to stay no longer than a month. Visitors are still prohibited from living in the UK through frequent and successive visits.

2. Visitors must not fill a job role in the UK

Visitors are still prohibited from working in the UK. They must not fill a UK role, and, with limited exceptions, they must not be paid from within the UK.

If activities fall outside those permitted to a visitor, an employee would need to apply for a UK visa permitting work, for example a sponsored Skilled Worker visa or a Senior or Specialist Worker visa.

Supporting entry to the UK as a Visitor

Changes Immigration can provide a template for a letter to support entry to the UK as a business visitor or assist with sponsored worker visa application. Please get in touch for more information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Author avatar
Samar Shams
Managing Partner @ Changes Immigration
samar.shams@changesimmigration.com
+44 (0) 7591 385033