We continue to receive enquiries from a wide range of businesses regarding the Business Visitor category; specifically, the duration that Business Visitors are allowed to remain in the UK and the permissible activities they can undertake while they are here.
Business Visitors are allowed to remain in the UK for a period of up to six months at a time (although please note the exception for Academic Visitors who can remain for up to 12 months). While there is no specified limit on the number of entries a Business Visitor can make or the total time a Business Visitor can spend in the UK in any given period, we would remind readers of the broader prohibition relating to all visitors that they do not live for extended periods in the UK through frequent or successive visits.
We regularly advise clients that, if a pattern of visits emerges that could suggest residence, the Business Visitor must be prepared to confirm exactly what they are doing in the UK and demonstrate that it fits within the permissible activities allowed by the Immigration Rules.
A full list of permissible activities can be found in our information sheet on Business Visitors and we urge all clients to review this list to ensure activities fit squarely. We would also remind clients that, in no circumstances, can a Business Visitor be paid in the UK (other than, in some cases, expenses relating to travel) and that Business Visitors must not, at any point, hold themselves out as employees or representatives of the UK branch of a global organisation, unless they have the appropriate right to work in the UK. This includes carrying business cards containing a UK work address, as well as external and internal signage. Anyone seeking entry to the UK as a Business Visitor, whether through the consulate in their home country or at the port of entry, should be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the relevant immigration rules.
Readers are also reminded of the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) category which allows individuals to come to the UK as visitors for one month only to undertake specified types of paid engagements. Broadly, the following activities qualify (although please note that there are further specified requirements in each sub-category):
- Visiting examiners and assessors
- Visiting lecturers
- Overseas designated pilot examiners
- Lawyers providing advocacy
- Arts, entertainment or sports professionals (if they are invited to come to the UK by a UK-based arts or sports organisation or broadcaster).
In all cases, the visitor undertaking the PPE will need to demonstrate that the activity they intend to undertake relates to their expertise and/or qualifications, as well as their full time occupation in their home country. As with Business Visitors, we recommend that all visitors intending to undertake PPEs in the UK are prepared to demonstrate how they meet the requirements of PPEs.