UK Expansion Worker Visa: Apply from Canada

A UK Expansion Worker visa allows foreign workers, including Canadian citizens, to go to the United Kingdom to set up an established overseas business that has not started trading in the UK yet.

If you have any questions regarding the UK expansion worker visa, sponsor licence or immigration rules, please call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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    Overview of the Expansion Worker Visa

    The UK Expansion Worker visa is a visa under the Global Business Mobility category of visas. It is intended for foreign workers looking to travel to the UK to set up a branch of an overseas business.

    The foreign worker applying for the visa must be employed by the business as a senior manager or specialist employee.

    To be eligible for this visa, your job must meet certain eligibility criteria, including minimum salary requirements.

    The Expansion Worker visa allows holders to stay in the UK for up to 12 months, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days.

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    What Is The Eligibility For The UK Expansion Worker Visa?

    To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa you must fulfil the following requirements:

    • Hold a valid certificate of sponsorship from your overseas business/employer
    • Have worked for your employer outside the UK, for at least 12 months. You can be exempt from this requirement if any of the following apply to you:
      • You’re earning over £73,900
      • You’re a Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company that is expanding to the UK
      • You’re a citizen or permanent resident of Australia doing work for an Australian company that is expanding to the UK
    • Work in a UK business job that’s on the list of eligible occupations, with a matching appropriate occupation code
    • Meet the minimum eligible salary required for your job, which is at least £48,500 or the “going rate” for your job – whichever is higher. Please note that every occupation code has its own annual going rate.

    What Is Permitted With UK Expansion Worker Visas?

    If you do obtain a skilled worker visa, you are permitted to do the following activities while in the UK:

    • Work for your UK sponsor in an eligible job described in your certificate of sponsorship
    • Study at any level of education
    • Bring your partner and dependent children with you from Canada to the UK, should they be eligible
    • Do voluntary work and unpaid work
    • Travel abroad freely and return to the UK

    Per the immigration rules, the following activities are not permitted while being a UK expansion worker:

    • Apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
    • Change jobs, unless you are eligible
    • Hold a second job
    • Apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

    If you have any questions regarding the UK Expansion Worker visa or immigration rules, our team can help you. Contact us

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      What Is The Visa Application Process For A UK Expansion Worker Visa?

      To apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa, the Canadian applicant must complete an online application, using their Certificate of sponsorship reference number.

      One can apply online for a UK expansion worker visa up to 3 months before the day that they’re due to start work in the UK.

      The Canadian applicant must prove their identity and provide the documents necessary, explained below.

      After the applicant has proved their identity, provided their documents and paid the application fee, a decision should be made in 3 weeks if outside the UK, and 8 weeks if inside the UK.

      Once approved, they can arrange travel to join the UK branch with their overseas business visa.

      What Are The Documents Necessary For A UK Expansion Worker Visa?

      There are a number of documents required to apply for the UK expansion worker route.

      These documents are:

      • Your skilled worker sponsor licence reference number, which will be proved by your employer.
      • A valid passport or another document that shows your identity and nationality
      • Your eligible job title and annual salary
      • Your job’s most appropriate occupation code
      • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship
      • Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, for example, bank statements
      • Proof of your relationship with your partner or dependent children, if they’re applying alongside you
      • Canadian applicants do not need to submit their tuberculosis test results

      If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you’ll need to provide a certified translation.

      Depending on your situation, you may be required to also provide the following for the UK expansion worker visa:

      • Additional evidence that you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK. This can be done with the following information:
        • Printed payslips
        • Online payslips supported by a letter from your sponsor signed by a senior staff member
        • Bank or building society statements
        • A building society pass book
      • Have a valid ATAS certificate – if your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher

      Please call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online if you have any concerns at all. Our immigration lawyers are here to assist you.

      How Long Is A UK Expansion Visa Valid For?

      The amount of time the global business mobility visa will be valid is whichever is shorter than 12 months after the start date of the job on the sponsorship certificate and 14 days after the end date of that job.

      If the Canadian UK Expansion Worker is looking to stay longer in the UK, they are permitted to extend their visa, but only for another 12 months, one year.

      But, the maximum time that an individual can stay in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa is 2 years.

      Please note that UK expansion workers are subject to the maximum period.

      This means if they have spent time in the UK on this or a different visa, they might not be eligible to remain in the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa because visa holders may only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6-year period if they’ve spent time on any of the other visas, or as an Intra-company graduate trainee or intra-company transferee.

      The UK Expansion Worker route does not lead to settlement in the UK. However, a senior or specialist employee may be eligible to apply for leave to remain under a different immigration route.

      How Much Does A UK Expansion Worker Visa Cost?

      There are various costs involved with the global business mobility routes.

      The fees are:

      • Funds of at least £1,270
      • The application fee of £298
      • Immigration health surcharge of £1,035
      • Additional funds for any dependants joining on the specialist worker visa

      Updating Your Visa in the Event of a Job Change

      If your job changes while in the UK on an Expansion Worker visa, you will need to apply to update your visa.

      You will only be eligible to update your visa if you are still working for the same employer. You must also continue to meet all other eligibility criteria for the visa.

      You will need to apply to update your visa within 3 months of the start date of your new role. You will need to provide a new certificate of sponsorship that correlates with your new role and its new occupation code.

      You will be able to continue working in your current position while your application is being processed, although you should not start your new role once the application has been completely approved.

      It costs £298 to apply to update your visa.

      Extending Your Expansion Worker Visa

      If you wish to extend your Expansion Worker visa, you may be able to do so as long as you meet all of the below requirements:

      • You still have the same job as when you were last successfully granted permission to stay in the UK
      • Your job is in the same occupation code as when you were last successfully granted permission to stay in the UK
      • You’re still working for the employer who gave you your certificate of sponsorship
      • You have not reached the maximum total stay of 2 years

      It costs £298 to extend your visa. You will normally receive a decision on your application for extension within 8 weeks.


      We are here to help you with your UK Business visa application. Contact us

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        How Can Total Law Help? 

        Total Law is a qualified team of immigration lawyers that are experts on getting our clients their UK expansion worker visa for Canadian citizens.  Our immigration team are able to advise you on sponsorship obligations, UK businesses, job skill level requirements and much more.

        Our assistance will greatly increase your chance of getting your visa and pursuing your career goals. Feel free to contact us to discuss the UK expansion worker visa. We are open seven days a week and can be reached by phone or by using the online chat function to speak with one of our client care agents.

        Please call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Yes – if you have a dependent spouse or partner, or any dependent children under the age of 18, they can get entry clearance to accompany you into the UK, and their visa will be valid for the same time as the primary visa holder. They will be eligible to work and study as normal in the UK.

                  If your employer’s sponsor licence application is successful, the licence will be valid for 4 years, but you will not be able to apply to renew your licence. Regulations say that businesses using the UK Expansion Worker route have successfully established a UK trading presence within two years. If you fail to do so, you will no longer be permitted to sponsor any new workers, your existing sponsored workers will not be permitted to extend their stay, and you can run the risk of losing your sponsor licence.