October 17, 2022

Business Relocation to the UK – How to Migrate Your Company Overseas

Relocating or expanding your business to the UK is an exciting time. However, there are a lot of things to get your head around before you can make the move. Forgetting to sort out things like pensions and insurance can land you with hefty bills down the line. And, falling behind when it comes to employee benefits can mean losing the race for top talent.

At HWWA Consulting, we understand the challenges facing businesses moving in the UK. We’re here to help you navigate the potential pitfalls and guarantee your successful integration into this brand new market for your business.

In our quick guide, we highlight the key steps you’ll need to take.

Define Goals & Timeline

Making the move to the UK can be complicated and stressful, so it’s important to draw up a comprehensive plan. This should cover what you hope to get out of the move, an ideal timeline, and the expected costs. You’ll also want to evaluate your business from top to bottom and consider what needs to stay and what needs to go. A relocation is the perfect time to assess current processes, equipment, and other collateral and make your business leaner.

Obtain Visa

If you want to operate your company in the UK – whether as a foreign expansion or a full relocation – you’ll need a valid business visa. There are a range of options to choose from depending on your situation including the UK Startup Visa, the UK Innovator Visa, the UK Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Via, and the UK Investor Visa. Some of these require official endorsement by an organisation authorised by the government. To obtain a Visa, you will need to apply online – find more information on the UK Government website.

Inform Stakeholders

Start communicating your move as soon as it’s confirmed. Any employees you won’t be relocating with you will need to be formally given notice. You’ll also need to tell clients, landlords, and any other interested parties well in advance of the actual move. To do this, you could consider drafting up an email update, putting a notification on your company website and social media platforms, and updating your Google listing.

Register as an Employer

All employers in the UK need to be officially registered with Companies House and HMRC. To do this, you will need a legal company structure like a limited liability partnership. The process is simple and easy to follow, but it does need to be completed – so don’t delay! Once you’ve registered, you’ll be assigned PAYE reference numbers which are essential for helping HMRC identify your firm.

Open Bank Account & Research Payment Services

To start operating from the UK, you’ll need to open a business bank account. You might be able to also manage payments through this bank account. If not, or if you want an alternative process, there are a range of payment services you can look into for making and taking payments.

Get Business Licence

Many businesses in the UK can operate without a business licence, however certain specialised activities will need one. To make sure you comply, it’s worth researching whether you need a business licence for your operations and applying either in the name of your company or specific individuals within the company.

Consider Physical Base

You may choose to operate from the UK on a remote-only basis. However, most businesses do have a physical base. Ahead of your move, take the time to think about where in the UK you’d like to base yourself. Do you need to be proximate to major transport hubs, or are there specific clients it would be beneficial to locate yourself near? Once you’ve narrowed down on the ideal spot, you can seek out the right premises.

Understand UK Employment Law

Unless you’re a sole trader, moving to the UK means becoming a UK employer. And, to do this successfully and legally, that means becoming familiar with employment law in this country. There are a range of legal requirements UK employers need to follow. These include national minimum wage, tax and NI obligations, and health and safety. You’ll also need to set up a workplace pension scheme and follow auto enrolment regulations, as well as adhere to equality and diversity standards and GDPR. That’s a lot to get to grips with!

Get Employers’ Liability Insurance

As soon as you become an employer, you’ll need Employers’ Liability insurance. This covers you for at least £5 million, and aims to help you with any compensation payments that arise following an employee illness or injury. There are some exceptions, though; those who employ solely family members or people based abroad may not need this type of insurance.

Set Up Pension Scheme

Hiring even a single member of staff requires a valid workplace pension scheme. The UK government also requires employers to automatically enrol eligible members of staff. Staff can opt out of this, but they do need to be enrolled in the first place. To find out more about your obligations, view the current auto enrolment earnings thresholds, or talk to a member of our specialist team.

Register with a GP

Healthcare systems differ country to country, and it’s important to be aware of this. If you’re setting up a company in the UK or expanding here and want to offer health insurance as an employee benefit, you’ll need to register with a GP first. Then, you’ll be able to consider options from a range of different insurance providers and choose an appropriate policy for you.

Finetune Benefits Package

Attracting top talent as a new UK company or branch depends on the quality of your benefits package. With competition for talent fierce, employees are in the driver’s seat – and it’s not about just wages anymore. Instead, people are looking beyond numbers to employers who truly value them. Need help? HWWA Consulting is here to support you in the provision of a stellar package of benefits. And, we’ll help you educate your staff in what’s available to maximise ROI!

Professional Employee Benefits Consultants for Businesses New to the UK

HWWA Consulting is a specialist employee benefits consultant, dedicated to helping new, established, and migrating businesses attract and retain their staff. If you’re looking to enter the UK employment market, you’ll need to be prepared. The good news is our friendly team are here to help you fulfil your pension obligations, and set the foundation to succeed on fresh soil with competitive employee benefits.

Let’s start your journey today!

Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Improving Staff Retention with Employee Benefits

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