UK Business Visas For Australian Citizens

The UK offers a thriving market and numerous business opportunities for Australian citizens. If you are an Australian citizen looking to start a UK business or to expand an existing business into the UK, a UK Business visa may be for you.

Contact Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online to learn more.

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    An Overview Of UK Business Visas For Australians

    If you are an Australian citizen looking to start a UK business, expand a business into the UK, or complete UK-based business activities, you are likely to require a UK Business visa.

    The main options are the Innovator Founder visa and the Global Business Mobility Scheme visas, a category of visas which includes the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, the Service Supplier visa, the Secondment Worker visa, and the Graduate Trainee visa.

    The UK also offers a Short-term Business visitor visa, which allows the holder to stay in the UK in order to complete business-related activities for up to 6 months. However, note that, as an Australian citizen, you will likely not require a visa if you plan to be in the UK for 6 months or less.

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    Short-Term Business Visa (Standard Visitor Visa)

    A Standard Visitor visa allows the holder to remain in the UK for up to 6 months. During this time, the holder can engage in a number of business-related activities, including:

    • Attend job interviews
    • Attend meetings, conferences, and seminars
    • Conduct contract negotiations and sign any resulting deals
    • Attend trade fairs (note that you will not be able to sell things at a trade fair, on this visa type)
    • Receive work-related training (note that the training must not be available in your home country)
    • Give one-off or a limited series of talks
    • Conduct site visits and inspections
    • Oversee the delivery of goods and services (note that these goods should be for your oversees company or organisation and provided by a UK company)
    • Deliver training or information to UK employees regarding your oversees company
    • Conduct work relating to equipment, computer software, or computer hardware, in situations where your overseas company has a contract with a UK organisation or company

    Note that, if you are an Australian citizen, you are unlikely to require a Standard Visitor visa in order to enter the UK for up to 6 months. However, if you intend to stay for longer, one of the other visas discussed in this article might be the right fit for you.

    If you wish to complete short-term paid work in the UK, you may instead choose to apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa. This allows you to perform certain paid services, such as working as an expert lawyer or a short-term guest lecturer.

    The Innovator Founder visa

    The Innovator Founder visa allows you to set up a new business in the UK. For applicants who were previously planning on applying for the discontinued Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa or the Start-up visa, the Innovator Founder visa is likely to be the best fit.

    In order to be eligible, you must satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

    • Plan to set up and run a new business in the UK. Your business idea must be innovative- it must not be the same as anything currently being offered on the UK market
    • Have at least £1,270 in savings, which must have been consistently available for at least 28 consecutive days prior to your application
    • Your business idea must already have been endorsed by an approved endorsing body, such as UK Endorsing Services, Innovator International, Envestors Limited, or The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP)
    • Your business or business idea must be new- this visa type does not authorise you to join a business which is trading already
    • Your business idea must be viable- you will need to demonstrate that your business has growth potential
    • Your business must be scalable- you will need to demonstrate evidence of relevant planning, such as for the creation of future jobs and expanding into national and international markets

    With the Innovator Founder visa, you will be authorised to complete a number of business activities, including:

    • Setting up a business (or several businesses)
    • Working for your own business, e.g. as a director
    • Working outside of your business, provided that the work you complete is considered ‘skilled work’
    • Leaving and returning to the UK

    However, you will not be authorised to work as a professional sportsperson, or to receive most welfare benefits, including a state pension.

    This visa type allows you to stay for up to 3 years and can be extended. Once you’ve been in the UK for 3 years, you may be eligible to apply for settlement.

    For guidance navigating the various UK business visas, get in touch with our advisors today. Contact Us

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      Global Business Mobility Scheme Visas

      The Global Business Mobility Scheme contains several visa routes. These are the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, the UK Expansion Worker visa, the Service Supplier visa, the Secondment Worker visa, and the Graduate Trainee visa.

      If you are looking to move to the UK for business-related activities, one of the following routes is likely to be the best fit for you:

      Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

      This visa type allows you to come to the UK to complete an eligible job for the UK branch of your overseas employer. It has replaced the Intra-Company Transfer visa.

      In order to be eligible for this visa type, you must satisfy the following criteria:

      • Currently be employed by a Home Office-approved sponsor
      • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’. This will be provided by your employer, and will contain information about the prospective role which you would be fulfilling in the UK
      • The role which you would be performing must be an eligible occupation
      • The role must offer an annual salary of at least £45,800

      This role allows you to stay either for the amount of time specified on your certificate of sponsorship (plus an additional 14 days) or for up to 5 years, depending on which period is shorter. You can also apply for extensions.

      This visa allows you to complete a number of activities in the UK, including:

      • Working for your sponsor, performing the role specified in your certificate of sponsorship
      • Study
      • Volunteer
      • Leave and return to the UK

      However, you will not be eligible to apply for most welfare benefits, including the state pension. You will also not be authorised to change your job without first updating your visa, to take a second job, or apply to permanently settle in the UK.

      Expansion Worker visa

      This visa type allows you to move to the UK in order to expand an overseas business by setting up a UK branch. In order to be eligible, you must satisfy the following criteria:

      • The business must not yet have started trading in the UK
      • You must have a certificate of sponsorship
      • The job which you will be performing must be on the list of eligible occupations
      • Your prospective salary must meet at least the minimum eligibility threshold

      Note that, if the business is already trading in the UK, the Senior or Specialist Worker visa is likely to be a better fit.

      On this visa, you will be authorised to:

      • Work for your sponsor
      • Study
      • Volunteer
      • Leave and re-enter the UK

      However, you will not be eligible for most benefits, including the state pension, nor to change jobs without first updating your visa, to have a second job, or to apply for permanent settlement.

      This visa type allows you to stay in the UK for up to 2 years.

      UK Secondment Worker visa

      This visa type allows your employer to transfer you overseas so that you can complete an eligible job for a UK based company. In order to be eligible, you must:

      • Already be employed by an overseas organisation. This organisation must have a high-value contract with your overseas employer, and it must have been approved by the Home Office
      • You must have worked for your overseas employer for at least 12 months. This work must have been completed outside of the UK
      • You must have a certificate of sponsorship
      • Your prospective job must be on the list of eligible occupations

      This visa allows you to:

      • Work for your sponsor
      • Study
      • Volunteer
      • Leave and return to the UK

      However, you will not be eligible for most welfare benefits, will not be able to change jobs without first updating your visa, nor to take on a second job, or apply for permanent settlement.

      This visa type allows you to stay in the UK for up to 2 years.

      How to Apply For a UK Business Visa: The Process

      The exact application process for a UK Business visa will depend on the exact visa type for which you are applying. Generally, however, the UK Business visa requirements for applying are as follows:

      First, you will need to make sure that you have all of the necessary documents and satisfy the relevant eligibility criteria. Next, you will need to submit an online application, via the UK government website. You will also need to pay the associated application fees.

      Next, you will need to book an appointment with a UK Visa Application Centre. In Australia, these can be found in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. At this appointment, you will have your biometric information collected (specifically your photo and fingerprints).

      In some instances, it may also be necessary to attend an interview.

      Once the necessary stages have been completed, your application will then be processed. If your application is successful, you will then be able to use your visa to enter the UK.

      What Documents Will I Require?

      The exact documents which you require for your application will depend on the specific visa for which you are applying. Generally, you will require a combination of the following documents:

      • Valid Australian passport
      • A certificate of sponsorship reference number
      • Details of the role in question, such as your job title and annual income
      • Proof that you have at least £1,270 in savings, which must have been consistently available for at least 28 consecutive days prior to your application. Alternatively, your employer may be able to demonstrate that they are able to financially support you, via your certificate of sponsorship
      • The occupation code of your particular job
      • Proof of sufficient English language proficiency
      • If you are applying for your spouse and children to join you, you will need to provide evidence of the relationship(s), such as marriage or birth certificates, as applicable

      Our immigration team can help with the applications and processes of UK business visas. Contact Us

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        How Long Will The Process Take?

        At the time of writing in April 2024, the processing time for the different Business visa types is 3 weeks if you are applying within the UK and 8 weeks if you are applying from outside the UK.

        However, there are a number of factors which may influence the exact processing time, such as how many other applications are currently being processed and whether or not your application is submitted correctly. If your application is missing information or necessary documents, for example, this could lead to processing delays.

        In order to ensure that your application is processed as quickly as possible, make sure to check that you satisfy the eligibility criteria prior to applying. Also make sure that you have all of the necessary documents at the time of application. Contact Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to learn more.

        How Much Will The Process Cost?

        The exact application fee will depend on the visa type for which you are applying. For example, the fee for the Innovator Founder visa is £1,191 if you apply from outside of the UK and £1,486 if you apply to extend or switch your visa once you are already in the UK.

        For the UK Expansion Worker visa, the fee is £298. For the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, the application fee is £719 if you intend to stay in the UK for up to 3 years and £1,420 is you intend to stay for longer than 3 years. Note that these fees are per person.

        You will also need to pay the annual healthcare surcharge, which is generally £1,035 a year.

        In some cases, applicants also choose to pay for legal assistance with their application. Contact Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to learn more about how we can help you with this.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        The UK is a country with a strong economy and numerous business opportunities. It also has strong cultural ties with Australia. As such, many Australian citizens choose to pursue business opportunities in the UK.

        If you are looking to conduct business activities in the UK for a period of over 6 months, you are likely to require one of the visa types discussed in this article. At Total Law, our immigration experts have many years of experience in providing guidance on cases exactly like this.

        Contact Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to receive bespoke legal advice and get started on your own immigration journey.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  The amount of time which you can stay in the UK on a Business visa depends on the specific visa type in question. See the article for the specific amounts of time.

                  If you are looking to start a business in the UK as an Australian citizen, you will likely require an Innovator Founder visa. However, you will need to provide a number of details about the prospective business and provide evidence on its viability and scalability.

                  Exactly how easy it is to get a UK Business visa will depend on whether or not you satisfy the eligibility criteria. In order to maximise your chances of success, make sure to apply for the visa route which is best-suited to your particular circumstances and to submit all of the necessary evidence at the time of application. The better your ability to demonstrate your eligibility, the higher your chances of success.