Can Tier 2 / Skilled Worker Dependents Open a Limited Company?
All UK immigration visas come with their own set of rules and conditions which must be met by migrants. It is all too common for visa holders to breach the conditions of their visa, even for a seemingly innocent activity such as working or studying. Unfortunately, even if an action which constitutes a breach of the immigration rules was done without realising it wasn’t permitted, it can still lead to the visa being cancelled. If you are a UK visa holder, and you are not sure of the conditions attached to your leave, we recommend checking these sooner than later. In this article, we will look at whether a dependant of a migrant worker on Tier 2 (general) or Skilled Worker visa can set up a limited company in the UK.
What Can The Dependant Of Tier 2 / Skilled Worker Visa Holder Do In The UK?
The rules on what a dependant of Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa holder can and cannot do are explained in the Home Office document entitled ‘PBS Dependant Guidance’. This explains who can apply, the eligibility criteria, and the documents required to apply for a dependant visa.
As per the Home Office guidance, the conditions of stay attached to a dependant of Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa are as follows:
- no recourse to public funds,
- registration with the police
- no employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach)
- no employment as a Doctor or Dentist in Training, unless you:
- have obtained a primary degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution that is the UK recognised or listed body, or which holds a sponsor licence under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System; or
- are applying for leave to remain and have, or have last been granted, entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain that was not subject to a condition restricting your employment, whether that is employed as a Doctor or Dentist in Training or otherwise, and have been employed during that leave as a Doctor or Dentist in Training.
- The study will be subject to a condition set out in Part 15 of the Immigration Rules where the applicant is 18 years of age or over at the time their leave is granted or will be aged 18 before their period of limited leave expires (see Restriction on the study).
- In order to be granted entry clearance as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner, you and the main applicant must be aged 18 or over on the date, you are due to arrive in the United Kingdom.
This confirms that dependants can work almost without restriction and also study, as long as they are over 18, but it does not clarify whether they can set up a limited company.
Can A Person On Tier 2 / Skilled Worker Dependant Family Visa Set Up A Limited Company?
Yes, there is no specific restriction on a dependant visa which would prohibit them from setting up a limited company – both from the perspective of the immigration system and also from the rules regulating limited company registrations. In addition, because you are able to work for a UK employer almost without restriction, you can be employed by the limited company. That said, your company will need to carry out the mandatory legal checks to show you are eligible to work in the UK (i.e. Right to Work checks). While it may seem rather contradictory for you to essentially check your own suitability, this is necessary as the company is a separate legal entity to you as a director and employer. Therefore you will need to keep records of your eligibility to work.
What Is Required For A Right To Work Check?
Full details of how to carry out a Right to Work check are available on the UK government website. The aim of Right to Work checks is to stop illegal working in the UK, hence you need to keep proof that you can legally work. To carry out a Right to Work check, you need to:
- Obtain original versions of one or more acceptable documents – these include a passport, biometric residence permit, or a current Immigration Status Document.
- Check the document provided – i.e. check for the right to work and that the document/visa/passport has not expired
- Copy the document
It is important to keep records of any Right to Work checks for future reference, including if you are ever asked to provide evidence by the Home Office.
What Else Will I Need To Do When Registering A Limited Company?
In addition to registering your limited company with Companies House, you will also need to apply for a National Insurance number (if you don’t already have one). This will allow you to register with the HMRC so you can pay personal tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). It is recommended that you acquire your National Insurance number before setting up your limited company. When registering with HMRC for personal taxation, you can also register for company taxation, and if necessary VAT.
You will need to provide a UK address when registering your limited company; this can be either a personal (i.e. home address), or a business premises (i.e. a leased office, shop, or other business address). And finally, you will need to set up a business bank account – all business transactions should be kept separate from your personal transactions.
If you are keen to set up a limited company as a dependent of a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa holder, do your homework first. It is always advisable to check either with the Home Office or immigration Solicitors to double-check that you can set up a business in the UK without restriction under your current visa, just in case. It is also important to consider what would happen in the situation that the Tier 2 visa holder loses their immigration status, or leaves the UK. If this does happen, and you wish to stay to continue running your business, you would need to apply for a different visa type. As such, the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer will be invaluable.
- How Can I Access The Skill Level Requirement For Skilled Workers?
- How to Avoid a Skilled Worker Visa Refusal
- Eligibility Criteria for UK Tier 2/Skilled Worker Visa Extension Under The Same Employer
- What is the Application Process for a Tier 2 / Skilled Worker Change of Employer?
- When Can a Tier 2 / Skilled Worker Dependent Apply for ILR?