Changes to the UK’s rules for business visitors took effect on January 31, 2024. The following amendments, published in a statement of changes on December 7, 2023, expand the range of business activities visitors can undertake without requiring sponsorship or obtaining another category of immigration permission.
Amendments to the UK Visitor Rule
- The scope of activities permitted for intra-corporate transferees (those employed abroad but working in the UK for a branch or entity within the same corporate group) is expanded to remove the prohibition on working directly with clients. However, client-facing activity must now be incidental to the visitor’s employment abroad and must not amount to the offshoring of a project or service to their overseas employer.
- Permission for flight crew to enter the UK as part of a Civil Aviation Authority is now part of the standard Visitor rules, rather than a concession outside the rules.
- Visitors are now permitted to work remotely while in the UK, although remote work must not be the primary purpose of their visit.
- Scientists, researchers and academics can now conduct research in the UK as part of their visit. Previously, scientists and researchers could only conduct independent research, and academics could only conduct research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution. This change does not apply to academics applying for a 12-month visit visa or to those applying to extend their permission within the UK.
- The activities permitted for legal professionals has been expanded to include advice (no longer limited to a UK-based client), providing advocacy for a court or hearing, appearing in arbitrations or courts, acting as an arbitrator, mediator or expert witness, participating in conferences and teaching, litigation and transactional legal services (including drafting contracts).
- Speaking at conferences is now included in the list of Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE), and can now be paid.
- Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) are now part of the Standard Visitor Visa, meaning that those entering for PPE can in principle be issued permission for up to six months, rather than one month. However, the PPE must be completed within 30 days of entry.
Erickson Insights and Analysis
Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.