Overseas businesses were offered 11% lesser UK sole representative visa post-Brexit as per the latest statistics of the UK Visa and Immigration. 140 overseas firms intending to launch a new branch in the UK were offered the UK sole representative visa in 2015-16. The numbers of this visa declined to 125 in 20161-17, a decline of 11% with the previous year.
Experts in the immigration industry have expressed fears that the latest figures are an indication of the detrimental effect of Brexit. This is with respect to the desirability of the UK as a destination for overseas businesses, as quoted by the Workpermit.
The declining numbers of UK sole representative visa have been attributed to a tougher assessment of visa applications by the Home Office post-Brexit. Notwithstanding the decline in the numbers of the visas offered, the applications have increased significantly for the sole representative visa. 380 applications were filed in 2015-16. 505 applications were filed in 2016-17 which was an increase of 33%.
The decrease in numbers of the visas granted indicates the reluctance of Home Office to encourage visas for overseas businesses. This is in spite of the clear benefits incurred from this category of visa. It includes enhanced business options, enhanced investment, healthy competition and advanced innovation.
UK sole representative visa is offered to single representatives of overseas firms intending to start a UK branch. It is valid for 3 years and can be further extended for 2 years. After the 2 years extension adding up to five years, the holders of this visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR.
The latest figures reveal that maximum sole representative visas were offered to applicants from Australia and the US with 20 each in 2016-17. The second top beneficiaries were businesses in India and China with 15 visas each. Japan was offered 10 visas.
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