Can an applicant on sole representative visa own shares in the UK company?
No, because when they apply to extend their leave and for indefinite leave to remain they will need evidence that all shares are held by the overseas parent company.
What if applicant doesn’t want to sell shares, or they would like to be a shareholder in the UK company?
If an applicant wants to maintain their shareholding in the company or hold shares in the UK company then, they CAN NOT apply for sole representative visa, however there are a number of other potential possible immigration routes:
What is a majority shareholder?
The Home Office guidance states that they will refuse applications where an applicant’s shareholding is more than 50% of the available shares. This means an applicant can still be the largest shareholder, providing they do not own more than 50%.
Applicant’s business doesn’t have shares?
If their business does not have shares, then there are no specific requirements as to the control applicant can have over it.
However, they should bear in mind that a purpose of the shareholding requirement is to ensure that the representative is genuinely a senior employee who will work to establish the business. If the employee has the ability to control their own assignment, then this could lead to the application being subject to a higher degree of scrutiny than usual.
Can an applicant simply sell their shares in the overseas business on sole representative visa?
Yes, they can sell them. However, it is required that they provide the previous year’s share register when applying, so they will need to provide evidence of selling their shares since then, and an updated share register.
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