UK Introduces New Rules For Business Visitors

New rules for business visitors

The Home Office of the UK has brought into effect multiple changes on the 31st of January to its visitor visa rules. These changes are intended to give foreign visitors further ease in carrying out certain business-related activities in the UK without the need for a work visa. The restrictions on carrying out client-facing work have been removed and the list of permitted activities has been further added to.

The guidance for visitors has been updated and is available in Appendix V: Visitor.

Intra-corporate activities

The changes to the list of permitted activities for business visitors have had the prohibition on working directly with clients. According to the new guidance published by the government, an overseas-based company may now:

  • Advise and consult
  • Trouble-shoot
  • Provide training
  • Exchange knowledge and skills with UK employees of the same corporate group on specific internal projects.

Employees of overseas-based companies are now allowed to carry out the activities listed above directly with clients if:

  • Any client-facing activity is connected to their employment abroad and that the employee’s movement is in an intra-corporate setting.
  • The activities in question are a must for the project or service by the UK branch of the Visitor employer from overseas.

Increased coverage of the legal sector

The increase of permitted activities also brings forth increased coverage of the legal sector. According to the new guidance overseas lawyers are now permitted to provide legal services such as:

  • Advice
  • Litigation
  • Conferences or teaching
  • Acting as an expert witness
  • Acting as an Arbitrator
  • Appearing in an Arbitration
  • Appearing in court for jurisdictions that permit short term calls or where qualified in that jurisdiction
  • Providing advocacy for a court or tribunal hearing
  • Transactional legal services, including drafting contracts

Remote Working

The new rules for business visitors have made it clear that visitors are now allowed to work remotely while in the UK however, working remotely must not be the primary reason for their visit.

This rule was adopted due to the changing work patterns of modern jobs and can allow many foreigners to regard the UK as a destination for ‘work-cations’.

Permitted Paid Engagements

The Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visa has been terminated and its facilities are being moved into the Standard Visitor visa rules.

This means a special visa is no longer required for the ability to undertake permitted paid engagements and this ability is now available for all visitors. However, it must be noted that visitors are required to arrange this activity before traveling to the UK and it must take place before 30 days have passed after the visitor’s arrival in the UK.

The list below contains some of the permitted paid engagements:

  • Inviting a professional artist, musician, or entertainer
  • Inviting a professional sportsman
  • Inviting a qualified lawyer for the representation of a client
  • Inviting a lecturer

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