Foreigners in Business

Limitations on foreigners in business in the UK

Foreigners in Business

A work permit is not usually necessary if you are a British citizen, a citizen of an European Union (EU), EEA (European Economic Area) country or a Swiss national. Citizens of countries that joined the EU in 2004 may not have the automatic right to work in the UK.

There are six different kinds of work permit, namely:

  • Business and Commercial;
  • Training and Work Experience Scheme (TWES);
  • Sports and Entertainments;
  • Student Internships;
  • Sectors Based Scheme (SBS); and
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services

Application forms for work permits can be obtained form the UK Border Agency website ( ). Employers can apply for a work permit on behalf of an employee they wish to employ. Individuals seeking to work independently may also apply directly for a work permit.

The different types of work permit are very specific in their conditions. The Business and Commercial permit is for employers who plan to employ someone from abroad to work in the UK for their company. The TWES permit is, as the name implies, specifically for a person who will come to the UK for training and/or work experience, but will return to their own country afterwards. The Sports and Entertainments permit is for employers wishing to employ international performers – permits are normally only issued to international-standard performers. The remaining three types of permit are specifically aimed at citizens of Bulgaria and Romania, enabling individuals to come to the UK for work or work-based training.

Individuals from countries other than those in the EU/EEA may require a visa to enter the country in the first place and, almost certainly, a work permit; in November 2010, the government flagged up plans to limit the number of skilled migrants from countries outside of the EEA, although it revealed that this will likely not include workers (with wages of GBP40,000+ , or equivalent)transferred by their companies.

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking of plans to create a Silicon Valley-style tech 'hub' in the East End of London, also unveiled plans in in November 2010 for a new type of visa for entrepreneurs, although details of the proposal were not made available at the time.

This article is an extract from Personal Business Tax Guide , dated 4th January 2011, for the latest version please click here .

Further reading

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