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UK Business Immigration From Ireland

Businesses expanding from Ireland into the UK need to be aware of the many UK laws for businesses and how they should prepare when it comes to hiring staff. It can be a complex process, functioning business immigration into the UK, so being aware of how it works and preparing in advance can give you the upper hand.

A great way to prepare in advance is to speak to an immigration lawyer who is well-versed in business immigration from Ireland. At IAS, our lawyers are experts in business immigration and can help your company get started. Call us today at +353 061 518 025, and start the process.

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    What You Should Know If Your Business Has Expanded In The UK From Ireland

    The UK is very attractive for businesses to expand into. Although the country may have seen some upheaval from the Brexit exit from the EU, there is still wide access to the global economy and an attractive tax system for businesses expanding into the country.

    The UK has some of the lowest corporation rates of any major trading nation. So, it is no surprise that each year sees business immigrants entering the UK in droves to contribute to the ever-growing UK economy.

    Immigrating as a business enables companies from outside of the UK to start or expand their businesses in the United Kingdom.

    Having a business immigration visa enables both the owners of the business and skilled professionals easy routes to becoming a part of the growing UK economy and enables future potential for permanent settlement.

    It also allows the families of these individuals the opportunity for potential future settlement in the UK permanently.

    While the UK is a prime location for business immigration, businesses immigrating to the UK should be aware of UK employment law.

    This is a key area to be up-to-date with, and it should never be assumed that local employment laws and practices will be the same as they are in the UK.

    Considering UK Law

    Specifically, employers need to be aware of employment contracts, rights, and the mandatory pension payments that come under automatic enrolment.

    Here are some things businesses should consider:

    • The differences between UK and Irish social security rules
    • The payroll tax re-schedule
    • How employers evaluate the position of salary equalisation across countries
    • considerations of employment tax issues where an employee may be an ex-pat relocating or a newly employed local.
    • How HR advice and support can aid in the creation of staff handbooks and interview support
    • Payroll operations, including payroll equalisation and P11D compliance,
    • UK auto-enrolment and pensions

    It is otherwise easy to form an entity in the UK in comparison to many other countries. However, businesses should be aware of all the steps they need to take and all of the considerations regarding business in the UK before immigrating.

    UK bank accounts

    Not having a UK bank account and not preparing for this aspect of business immigration can often cause delays.

    However, having all relevant identification documents ready is critical. The documents you will usually be asked for will include the following:

    • There are two types of ID; this needs to include ID in photograph format, such as a passport, for the opening of an account individually. Alternatively, this should be for the director(s) and secretary of the company, as well as any beneficial owners.
    • A valid bank mandate form This will need to confirm that the individual who opens the bank account for the business has the authority to do so from the business.
    • The Company Constitution and a Certificate of Incorporation This is required for limited companies only.
    • Signature samples from anyone who will be authorised to use the account
    • Evidence of a partnership if the business is applying for this.
    • A certificate of the business name for partnerships and sole traders

    Additionally, it is found that having proper business plans that show the forecasts and objectives of the company is a wise investment for the company and the bank alike.

    For assistance with expanding your business to the UK, reach out to our specialist immigration team by either calling us on +353 061 518 025, or contact us online.

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      Hiring Staff From Within The UK And Outside

      As an overseas business building a UK presence, being aware of how the law works with employing people is complex. If you are hiring staff from inside the UK, the process will be different from how it is if you are hiring staff from overseas.

      Before employing any staff in the UK, the employer needs to have certain areas covered. They are as follows:

      Employers Liability Insurance

      This insurance is in place to protect employers from facing any compensation costs should employees fall ill or get injured as a result of the work they do for them.

      This insurance is a legal requirement in the UK if the business employs one or more people. There is also a daily fine if the employer does not have it.

      Awareness of the Right To Work And Visas

      The UK has strict rules in place to prevent employers from taking on any illegal workers. It is a criminal offence to employ an illegal worker.

      It is, therefore, critical for employers to check that any new hires are allowed to work for them. This is necessary for every employee.

      There are certain documents and methods that employers can use to carry out lawful checks. To carry out these checks, the employer needs to:

      • Have the original documents in their possession.
      • Check over the photo in the presence of the potential employee.

      Alternatively, if the employee is not a UK national, they need to provide the employer with a ‘Share Code’ that is given to them by the government to enable them to prove their right to work.

      EU, EEA, and Swiss passports are no longer acceptable as proof of immigration status.

      However, if the employee that the employer wishes to hire needs a work permit, the employer needs to first have a sponsor licence.

      There are many different types of sponsor licences available for employers in the UK, including the ‘Intra-Company Transfer’ licence, which allows companies that are multinationals to transfer employees to the UK.

      Workers need to have the details of the employer sponsorship licence before they can apply for a visa, and the visa is only valid if accepted and then during the employee’s time working for the sponsoring company in the role that is described in the Certificate of Sponsorship provided by the employer.

      Payroll Laws

      Before the first payday of the company, the employer needs to register as an employer with HM Revenue and Customs.

      This needs to be done, even if the individual is the sole employee. It can also take up to five days to get an employer’s PAYE reference number. This is necessary to ensure all taxes are paid correctly.

      Employee Rights and Documents

      The UK law gives employees rights and entitlements in their employment. Businesses should always be clear on the status of the relationship they are setting up. I.e., is it an employee, worker, self-employed contractor, or agency worker? The employment rights and obligations of the employer will vary depending on this.

      No matter the employment relationship, the relationship is governed by an oral or written contract. While it need not all be in writing, if the employer chooses to set it all out in writing, it needs to set out the obligations and protections for both parties.

      There needs to be a written statement of the main terms and conditions before an employee’s start date.

      The law dictates that certain minimum information be provided, such as a job description and title, benefits, pay, hours, holidays, training entitlements, and notice period.

      The employee also needs to be aware of how to access information, including grievance procedures, disciplinary procedures, pension schemes, pensions, and sick pay arrangements, and where this information is available.

      Core Minimum Terms For UK Employees

      Employing staff in the UK means that employers need to ensure that they have a legal minimum entitlement in place for a range of benefits. There can be enhanced contractual rights if they wish.

      • Pay must meet the minimum hourly pay rates, which will vary depending on the employment status and age of the employee.
      • Holiday entitlement needs to be 5.6 weeks worth, or prorated where it is appropriate should the employee work a shorter week. This time can include bank holidays. There are usually eight bank holidays in England and Wales.
      • Anyone employing at least a single person needs to ensure they meet the legal requirements of pension auto-enrolment. A minimum of 8% of the individual’s eligible earnings must be contributed to a qualifying pension scheme. This includes at least 3% from the employer, as well as any tax relief.
      • Notice periods are essential. Employers need to give notice should they intend to terminate the employment of the employee outside of disciplinary processes. However, this will depend on the length of continuous service of the employee and can range from one to twelve weeks. Similarly, employees need to give a week’s notice (after a month of employment); however, there is no legal need for this to be increased.

      Hiring Employees From Overseas

      Since January 1st, 2021, should a business wish to recruit employees from outside of the UK, there will need to be four essential points in place. These are:

      • The business needs to be a sponsor licensed by the Home Office.
      • The job being offered to the overseas worker needs to be at the required skill level, which is an RQF 3 or higher, aka. A-Level equivalent.
      • The job offer needs to pay at least the minimum salary level required.
      • The candidate for the role needs to speak English to the standard required.

      Should the business not already be a licenced sponsor and wish to sponsor migrants via the UK Skilled Worker visa route, they will need to apply to become a licenced sponsor. This can take about 8 weeks, and if the application is successful, the licence will be valid for four years.

      The most popular worker licences employers can apply for are:

      • Skilled Workers.
      • Senior or Specialist Workers (Global Business Mobility)
      • Minister of Religion.
      • International Sportsperson.

      For a business to apply to be a sponsor, it needs to meet immigration compliance laws and have the relevant sponsorship management roles in place to remain compliant. These roles are:

      • The Authorising Officer: This is a senior and competent person who is responsible for the actions of representatives and staff using the Sponsorship Management System.
      • The Key Contact: This person is the main point of contact with UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration).
      • The Level 1 User: This individual is responsible for all the day-to-day management of the licence using the Sponsorship Management System.

      Each of the individuals hired for these roles needs to meet certain eligibility requirements and undergo suitability checks; if they do not, then the business may not get their licence.

      • The individual cannot have any unspent criminal convictions for offences listed in the guidance for sponsors.
      • The individual cannot have been reported to UKVI.
      • The individual cannot have been fined by UKVI in the past year.
      • The individual cannot have broken the law.
      • The individual cannot have been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the past year.
      • The individual cannot have failed to pay VAT or another excise duty.

      With employees filling these roles that meet the eligibility criteria, and if the business also meets the sponsorship licence requirements, then the licence should be issued.

      The business can then proceed to hire individuals who require sponsorship for a visa to enter and work in the UK.

      Having a sponsor licence enables businesses to hire migrant workers and overseas workers into a UK company in compliance with immigration rules. They can issue a certificate of sponsorship and enable the employee to apply for their visa.

      For assistance with sponsoring employees to the UK, reach out to our specialist immigration team by either calling us on +353 061 518 025, or contact us online.

      Bringing Staff From Your Irish Company To The UK


      As an Irish company expanding into the UK, the business may want to bring employees to the UK from the Ireland branches. To bring staff into the UK to work in a UK branch, an Intra-company visa is needed.

      The worker will need to have at least one year of work experience in that company to be eligible for this visa.

      To apply for this visa, the employee will also need to have a job offer from the branch in the UK. The employer also needs to provide a certificate of sponsorship and needs to hold a sponsorship licence as well.

      The intra-company visa route is an overseas business visa that does require a sponsorship licence but does not require an English language certification.

      This type of visa also has the benefit of the applicant and employer not needing to obtain a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship, this significantly reduces the processing times of the visa in comparison to other Skilled Worker applications.

      There are also no restrictions when it comes to shareholding owned by the Intra-Company Transfer Visa applicant, this means that a business person with shareholdings in UK businesses could make an application via the visa route.

      Intra-Company Transfer Visa Restrictions

      On this type of visa, the employees can do the following:

      • Work for the sponsor doing the job that is described on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
      • Can do a second job, in the same profession and at the same level as their primary job for up to, but not in excess of 20 hours per week.
      • Study, on the condition it does not interfere with the job that the applicant is sponsored to do.
      • Volunteer.
      • Bring family members into the UK as dependents.
      • Travel abroad and then return to the UK.

      However, at the same time employees using this visa can NOT do the following:

      • Start working before getting the visa.
      • Receive public funding.

      We can answer all your questions about business immigration from Ireland to the UK. Contact us today! Contact Us

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        Paying Taxes: Do I Have to Pay Taxes in Both Ireland and the UK?

        Businesses expanding to the UK from Ireland need to get their tax strategy right from the get-go.

        The UK has different taxation laws to Ireland so careful tax planning is key. The drivers for tax include finance structures, profit repatriation, and transfer pricing.

        With differential corporate tax rates, a transfer pricing policy that is defendable is key.

        Businesses must look into the consideration of proposed business models and the risks between parent and subsidiary companies to identify what the nature of the return to the UK branch should be.

        Resident companies in the UK are taxable in the UK on worldwide profits, subject to opt-outs from non-UK PEs.

        However, non-resident companies are subject to UK corporation tax on the trading profits of the UK PE, gains on direct and some indirect disposals of UK property, trading profits that can be attributed to trade of dealing or developing UK land, UK property rental business profits and on any other UK-sourced income.

        Many companies find that the application of tax treaties, with dividend exemption, makes the UK corporation system for tax more territorial. Ireland and the UK have a double taxation relief treaty, with Ireland giving credit for tax paid on UK property based on the lower of the effective rates.

        The credit that is given can not be higher than the Irish tax paid.

        This means that businesses expanding into the UK from Ireland that have a permanent establishment in the UK will have profits earned taxable in the UK and Ireland.

        The UK will have the primary right to the tax income and the capital gains that arise from a business conducted by an Irish resident company via a branch or permanent establishment in the UK.

        The income earned by a UK branch of an Irish company is seen as income from the Irish business and is directly taxable in Ireland. The income is considered to be inherently income of the Irish Company with the UK branch and is in effect, just a present of the Irish business in the UK.

        Due to double taxation relief being available in Ireland in respect of UK corporation tax paid on capital gains and trading profits, the credit given for UK tax is not allowed to exceed Irish tax on the same income.

        The UK rate will be ascertained by dividing the total amount of UK income tax by the gross income. Therefore, Irish companies with a UK presence will have to pay tax in both countries, however, tax relief for double taxation can aid in preventing the tax costs from being extreme.

        Prior to April 2024, UK businesses were required to apply to renew their sponsor licences every four years to be able to continue hiring foreign workers.

        However, a change in legislation means that after 6 April 2024, this requirement is no longer in place and sponsor licence renewals are no longer necessary. Instead, sponsor licences will last indefinitely as long as businesses continue to be compliant with all Home Office guidelines.

        Businesses whose sponsor licences are set to expire before 6 April 2024, however, will have to apply to renew their sponsor licences one more time and pay the renewal fee. They will then not have to do so again.

        How IAS Can Help With Your Business Immigration To The UK From Ireland

        Irish companies looking to open a branch or expand into the UK have much to consider, and while it is easy to set up a business in the UK, there is much else that companies need to take into account.

        Many laws around employment, tax, hiring migrant workers, and business are specific to the UK which businesses need to be aware of.

        For an Irish business in the UK that wishes to hire employees from their Irish branches into the UK branch, UK citizens and overseas workers will need to be aware of the different processes and procedures for hiring each type of worker.

        Therefore, businesses looking to expand in the UK can benefit from speaking to an expert immigrant lawyer who can assist in understanding the full range of UK law as a business.

        Here at IAS, our legal team are well-versed in business immigration and expansion in the UK and can help companies understand all of the technicalities that come with expanding into the UK.

        Whether you need help with the processes of establishing a business in the UK, hiring workers, preparing as an employer, understanding how taxation laws will work for you, or getting a sponsorship licence, IAS can help. Speak to f our legal team today, at +353 061 518 025 or send us a message to get started.

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