UK reluctant’ to grant overseas business visas

Drop in business visas granted by the UK government believed to be result of attempt at reducing net migration numbers. Australian and US citizens received the most successful visa applications.

Drop in business visas to the UK since Brexit vote
The number of overseas business visas granted by the UK government to representatives of foreign businesses has dropped by 11 per cent in the year since the vote to leave the European Union, according to a new survey.

Home office reducing visas as part of reducing net migration

Anglo-Swiss law firm Collyer Bristow found that 125 visas were granted in the year ending in March this year, down from the 140 that were granted over the previous 12 months – and this happened despite the fact that, between 2016-17, applications for the visas increased by a third.The reason for the reluctance to grant the visas appeared not to be the Brexit vote in the referendum, but was more likely to be the result of stricter visa reviews by the Home Office prompted by Prime Minister Theresa May’s declared intention to reduce net migration.
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A ‘representative of an overseas business’ visa is valid for three years and is granted to individuals representing a company from outside the EU looking to invest or expand into the UK.Collyer Bristow said many of these visas went to representatives of hi-tech industries and that any reluctance to grant them could mean that the country was missing out on job-creating investment and the government was at risk of losing large amounts of additional tax revenue.The survey found that the highest number of successful applications came from Australia and the US, each nationality getting 20 visas. China and India got 15 visas each while 10 Japanese business representatives were successful.

Value of visas to the UK through tax and business

James Badcock, a lawyer at Collyer Bristow, commented, “Overseas business visas can serve a valuable function in attracting often high-profit businesses from other countries to the UK, and can help to encourage trade, investment, innovation and competition.“However, the government seems to be reluctant to promote the use of overseas business visas.“Like other visas, such as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur, the government has often done little to actively promote the overseas business visa category. As a result, awareness of its existence across the world is not as high as it potentially could be, ultimately impacting overall applicant numbers.“The drop in overseas business visas granted could mean the UK misses out on large amounts of investment and tax revenue. More visas have been applied for year on year, but far fewer have been granted since the Brexit vote. The figures suggest the Home Office has clamped down on overseas business visas since the Brexit vote.”For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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