UK Expansion Worker Visa

Apply for the UK Expansion Worker visa

Apply for the UK Expansion Worker visa

The UK Expansion Worker visa provides a sponsored route for overseas, established businesses to expand their operations into the UK as a branch or subsidiary. As one of the five introduced routes for sponsored visas under the Global Business Mobility (GMB) umbrella, the Expansion Worker route uses a points-based system to allow applicants to live, work and study in the UK. If you are in the UK on this visa, your partner and any dependent children will also be able to live with you for the full length of your stay.

If you’re considering introducing a subsidiary or branch in the UK, the UK Expansion Worker visa provides a viable option to facilitate expansion. Read on for all the details about this specific visa, or get in touch with our team directly to find out more.

What is the UK Expansion Worker visa?

The UK Expansion Worker visa was introduced alongside four other Global Business Mobility visas to support economic growth, trade and development in the post-Brexit UK. This specific visa is designed to help organisations to set up an expansion of an established overseas business in the UK by sending an overseas linked employee to manage the development and launching of a local brand or subsidiary.

This visa is designed for business purposes and allows companies to begin trading in the UK. Other options for professional working visas include the Senior or Specialist working visa for already established UK branches or a Skilled Worker visa where a UK employer is available to sponsor their route into the country./

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible to apply for the UK Expansion Worker visa, you must be at least 18 years old and working for a linked overseas company on the date of your application. To provide evidence of the role you’ll be working in when you move to the UK, your employer will provide a certificate of sponsorship, after which you’ll need to complete your application within three months. You’ll also need to ensure your job is eligible for this application based on a four-digit occupation number, which you can acquire from your employer or through your certificate of sponsorship.

Unless otherwise stated, you’ll need to have worked with your employer in a position outside of the UK for 12 months or longer to be eligible for this visa. The exception to this rule would be if you earn over £73,900 or are a Japanese national moving to the UK to expand a Japanese company under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Sponsor requirements

Any employing organisation that would like to sponsor a linked overseas employee must for a wholly-owned subsidiary or branch of an established business. This company must not be trading in the UK yet to use this visa.

Length of stay

The UK Expansion Worker visa covers the full 12 months after the starting date of your UK job based on your certificate of sponsorship or the defined time provided on your certificate with an additional 14 days, depending on which is shorter. Once approved for a visa, you can choose to extend your visa during your stay for a further 12 months, with a maximum total of 2 years.

If you’ve previously lived in the UK on a different visa, this may shorten the time you can stay on your UK Expansion Worker visa. For example, you may only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in 6 years on all GMB visas, plus intra-company transfer and graduate trainee visas. If you’re unsure about your eligibility for staying in the UK, speaking to our expert team is the best place to start.


The costs involved in a UK Expansion Worker visa apply individually to you, your partner and your children. Regardless of the age of your dependents, their costs will also need to be covered on application. Typical fees for your application include a £259 application free, a £624 per year healthcare surcharge and available funds of at least £1,270 to support yourself on your move to the UK. These costs may differ depending on specific exemptions.

How to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa

If you plan to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa, the process can be conducted from either insight or outside of the UK. Here’s how the process works:

1. Receive a certificate of sponsorship

To apply for a visa, your company should first issue a certificate of sponsorship. This provides information about your planned role in the UK. To be eligible, the company providing this sponsorship must show they have a UK footprint, with evidence of UK business premises or Companies House registration.

2. Complete an online application

The UK Expansion Worker visa application process is primarily online, allowing you to submit necessary documents and information through a portal. Your application will differ depending on whether you are outside the UK, in the UK, extending your visa or switching from a different visa. Your dependents and partner are also included in your application.

3. Provide documentation and identity information

As a part of your application, you’ll need to supply detailed information, including a passport or travel document that shows your identity and nationality, proof of funds and evidence of working for your employer for over 12 months, if applicable. Depending on where you live, you may also need to supply a TB test certificate. In some cases, you might also be required to provide biometric information via an in-person appointment.

4. Pay fees and wait for a final decision

Once you’ve completed your application and submitted all the necessary information, you can pay all relevant fees. A decision for your application typically takes three weeks from outside the UK or eight weeks if you are in the UK. If you’re extending your visa or switching visas, putting aside plenty of time for your application is advisable to avoid your existing visa running out.

Need help with your UK Expansion Worker visa application?

Planning to work in the UK under the UK Expansion Worker visa scheme? Get in touch with our skilled immigration team today. As experts in visas, we can support you in finding the proper process to build a subsidiary or branch in the UK. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

Apply for the UK Expansion Worker Visa

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