Relaxation of Business Visit Visa Requirements Announced in 2024

A photo of an immigration lawyer explaining the relaxation of business visa requirements announced in 2024, at Axis Solicitors in Birmingham.

A couple of weeks ago, the Home Office released a new version of the immigration rules titled “Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 246.” This latest update introduces significant modifications, particularly in business visit visas.

Updated Business Visit Visa Guidelines

The revised business visit visa permits holders to participate in their company’s internal activities, lifting previous limitations on direct client interactions. Consequently, this change offers enhanced flexibility for companies conducting business within the UK. 

Concurrently, a new stipulation has been added, stipulating that client-facing tasks must be secondary to the individual’s primary role with their foreign employer and should not constitute the transfer of a project or service to an overseas company. 

Additionally, business visitors are permitted to work remotely during their stay in the UK, although the purpose of their visit should be more than just remote working.

More Alterations

The revised text includes several updates:

  • Scientists, researchers, and visiting scholars can now engage in various research-related activities.
  • Legal professionals can engage in more activities, such as consulting, participating in arbitration, acting as arbitrators or mediators, and serving as expert witnesses while on business visit visas in the UK.
  • Conference speakers have been added to the list of roles eligible for Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE), allowing them to receive payment for these activities.
  • The application process for PPE visitors has been integrated into the standard visitor route, enabling all tourists to participate in PPE activities without needing a separate visa.
  • The Civil Aviation Authority has approved a wet lease arrangement, permitting flight crew members to enter the UK from March to October 2024. The latest update integrates this provision into the existing visitor rules.

The Statement of Changes 246 will undergo alterations, which are set to be implemented starting January 31, 2024. These alterations significantly broaden the range of activities permissible for business visitors in the UK. 

They enhance the adaptability of business visit visas, simplify business operations within the UK, and contribute positively to the growth of the UK’s economy. The primary beneficiaries of these changes include multinational corporations, international companies collaborating with British firms, research organisations and the legal profession. 

These updates can be viewed as a strategic response to the UK government’s stricter work visa policies aimed at reducing immigration, potentially offsetting some of the impacts of these more stringent policies.

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