Business Visitor permissions expanded in latest Immigration Rules update

Posted Wednesday 14th February 2024

Permitted activities for business visitors have long been a tricky area to navigate for individuals travelling to the UK for short-term commitments, with rigid restrictions heavily limiting professionals and creating headaches for companies when trying to ensure compliance. Changes to the Immigration Rules, implemented on 31 January 2024, have sought to provide much-needed clarification on this route and allowed for several further business activities that will be of interest to many.

Suitcase at the airport

Uncertainties surrounding remote working have been significantly addressed in the Immigration Rules for the first time. This area has previously been limited to vague guidance in terms of checking emails and taking calls throughout the individual’s time in the UK. Remote workers now have confirmation that they are legally permitted to do so in the UK, provided that it is not the primary reason for their entry. Factors such as the individual’s intended length of stay and ability to finance their time in the UK without significant working will be of interest to the Home Office here.

Companies with overseas entities will also benefit from a relaxation of intra-corporate activity rules, as individuals will have the ability to work directly with clients. This assumes that any work directly with clients will be incidental to their overseas employment and is required for a project or service relating to the UK branch specifically.

Individuals entering the UK for a permitted paid engagement are now subject to the Standard Visitor rules rather than their own specific route; this is a welcome change for individuals seeking a longer stay, as they will now be granted permission for up to 6 months in the UK. It should however be taken into account that any permitted paid engagements must still be flagged appropriately and undertaken within the initial 30-day period.

Those within specific sectors such as legal professionals, conference speakers and academic researchers will further benefit from newly added permitted activities aimed at their fields specifically.

Our immigration team can offer advice on the range of permitted activities and staying within the parameters of the rules throughout complex arrangements, as well as general training for companies on appropriate steps when engaging overseas contractors or planning short-term intra-company movements on this route.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.

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