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30 October 2017

Decline in overseas firms setting up in UK

The number of international companies looking to establish a new UK branch has declined since the vote to leave the EU, new figures show.

Visas granted to a sole representative of an overseas business have declined by 11% in the past year.

In 2015/16, the Home Office issued 140 visas to companies seeking to establish their first commercial presence in Britain. This number had reduced to 125 for 2016/17.

The drop suggests that Britain is potentially missing out on substantial tax receipts and vital investment from high-profit organisations looking to expand internationally.

The figures could also have broader importance, signifying that Brexit could be affecting the desirability of Britain as a market for foreign firms.

The figures suggest the Home Office has clamped down on overseas business visas since the Brexit vote.

Despite the benefits of encouraging overseas businesses to come to the UK - such as enhanced trade opportunities, better investment, stronger innovation and strengthened competition - the figures could also imply that the Home Office is reluctant in promoting overseas business visas.

To be eligible for this type of visa, a company should show that its sole representative has applied for the role outside of the EEA, has enough money to support themselves without public funding and meet English language requirements.

The representative must also hold a senior position with authoritative power within the international company, but cannot be a major shareholder.

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