In recent weeks, we have some evidence that Immigration Officers have been cracking down on Business Visitors entering the UK. Moreover, they are targeting non-visa nationals, for example US citizens or Canadian nationals who do not need visas to enter the UK to visit, whether for business or leisure. Some clients are being detained at airports for lengthy periods of time and some are then sent back on a plane.
So what are the general rules for a Business Visitor coming to the UK?
The Business Visitor category is for people who work abroad but intend to visit the UK for a short time to do business on their own or their employer’s behalf. However, the Immigration Rules are very specific on what you can and cannot do while in the UK as a Business Visitor.
Business Visitors can do one or more of the following during their visit to the UK, amongst other things: attend meetings, conferences and interviews and, if the applicant is a board-level director, attend board meetings, provided they are not employed by a UK company (although they may be paid a fee for attending the meeting); attend trade fairs for promotional work only, provided they are not directly selling; arrange deals, negotiate or sign trade agreements or contracts; and carry out fact-finding missions.
Business Visitors must not: intend to live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits; take employment; produce goods or provide services within the UK; carry out training or undertake a course of study (unless in certain circumstances); intend to marry or form a civil partnership; intend to give notice of a marriage or civil partnership; or have recourse to public funds amongst other things. They should also not intend to stay for the full 6 months though that is the maximum period permitted by the immigration category.
Redfern Legal LLP are happy to discuss with you the activities that your employees will be undertaking in the UK and assess whether they can enter as Business Visitors or whether they will need a work permit. Getting it wrong has a knock-on effect not only on the business but on the individual themselves in relation to their UK immigration history. We are also happy to discuss strategy, training and options from a business and commercial perspective to ensure that a satisfactory solution is achieved for both parties.