Q. Do I need a visa or licence to run a business in the UK?


 Jonathan Seymour

Answered by Jonathan Seymour, Partner, Kingston Smith. 

A: If you are setting up a business in the UK then you will not need to have a visa unless you do not have a local representative and/or you want to work in the UK in your business.

If you are coming to the UK on your own to set up a business, then you do not have to apply for a sponsorship licence unless the business will be sponsoring migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland under the UK Governments "Tier 2" arrangements, which apply to skilled migrant workers. 

You need to be aware that there may be certain other requirements you will need to fulfil before you can become a sponsor, such as registering for PAYE and VAT.

The sponsorship system reflects the Government's commitment to ensuring that employers, educational establishments and other bodies bringing migrants to the UK play their part in ensuring that the system is not abused.

The Government says that it needs to make sure that those applying to come to the UK for work or for study are eligible and that a reputable employer or education provider genuinely wishes to take them on.

Therefore, migrants must have a sponsor before they can apply to come to, or remain in, the UK for work or study. You will also need to ensure that any migrant workers your new business employs have a right to work in the UK. 

We suggest you take local professional advice specific to your own circumstances prior to setting up in the UK.

For more information, contact Jonathan.