CHAPTER 5 – COMING TO THE UK TO VISIT
Migration benefits the UK economically, culturally and socially. We want to ensure the UK continues to attract people from across the world to visit our vibrant and diverse communities.
Building on our strong offer to non-EU nationals, we also want to facilitate the short-term business activities that our key sectors rely on.We will simplify the rules on what short term business activities visitors can do.
5.1 The Government welcomes genuine visitors to the UK, whether they are coming as tourists, on business or to see family and friends. As noted in the previous chapter, visitors from the EU will be able to continue to use e-gates and we plan to extend their use to other low-risk countries.
5.2 Most visitors can stay in the UK for up to six months, which is longer than in most other countries, where 90 days is often the maximum period allowed. A visitor may enter the UK multiple times, but they may not live in the UK by means of repeat visits. They may not study for more than 30 days, work or access public funds.
5.3 The Government intends to maintain the current already generous arrangements as described above. However, we would welcome a dialogue with business about the scope of permitted business activities that could be carried out as a visitor to the UK.
5.4 Short-term business activity is crucial for the UK economy, including business people coming for meetings and to negotiate and sign business contracts; leading academics presenting their latest research; or scientists, for example, sharing their knowledge with colleagues on international projects being led from the UK.
5.5 The UK’s existing visitor rules already permit a wide range of business activities that visitors can undertake. In addition to the above activities, these include collaborating with UK colleagues on specific projects and working with companies who have bought goods from a foreign manufacturer or where a UK company is supplying a company overseas.
5.6 An entrepreneur can also come to the UK to investigate or secure funding. Generally, paid activity is not permitted, but in some cases, it is possible under the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) scheme (part of the Immigration Rules for visitors) for up to one month.
5.7 The UK supports legitimate “fly-in fly-out” business activity. However, it is not always easy to draw the line between that and employment in the UK, which would require a work visa. We would welcome input from stakeholders on whether the current arrangements should be clarified or revised.
5.8 As part of our Mobility Framework, we will seek to negotiate with the EU reciprocal provisions for short-term business visitors arriving after the end of the Implementation Period. In due course, similar arrangements could be made available to other countries with whom the UK concludes trade deals, which may go beyond what is currently allowed in the visitor rules.
Visitor case studies
In all the following case studies the individuals may have to apply online prior to their trips for an Electronic Travel Authorisation if the scheme has been commenced.
Martine is French and works for BNP Paribas and is based in France. She will be working with UK colleagues on a project due to her particular expertise. A lot of the work is done over the phone, but she also needs to come to London for meetings with colleagues. Part of the project involves her being based in the UK temporarily for four weeks. She can advise colleagues and help them to prepare for the client presentation.
Sven works for a Norwegian manufacturer of generators in Norway. A UK company has bought one of these units. He can come to the UK to help with the installation of the generator, and he is also able to help train the UK staff about how the generator works and, if the contract allows, to help service and repair the unit.
Marcin, a Polish man, works for a German based car manufacturer and a UK company is supplying goods to his firm. He may come to the UK to oversee production of these goods and brief the UK company about changes of requirements or issues which may affect future production.
Aleksandra, a Bulgarian woman, is considering setting up or taking over a business in the UK. As a visitor, she can travel to the UK to have meetings with potential backers and investigate the UK market. On concluding this research and having secured funding, she can then apply for a visa to stay or come back to the UK to set up the business or conclude the takeover.