Contractors' Questions: Can I supply the client after my visa expires?
Contractor’s Question: I currently hold a visa and work as a freelance contractor for a UK client. My visa will expire soon and I was due to go back to my home country. But my client is happy with my work and would like to keep me for further work.
As a contractor, do I have the right to work for this UK client abroad, or could I work remotely from my home country? Also, if they pay me in my UK bank account, would that be a problem?
Expert’s Answer: Unfortunately for your circumstances, one cannot stay longer than their visa validity. Anyone who wishes to retain migrants needs to have a sponsor licence and they need to sponsor them for a new visa.
As to the type of visa you have, we would need to know this definitively in order to advise you more comprehensively.
If you are on Tier 2 work visa, you would only be permitted to work for your employer-sponsor directly, not a UK client unless an official contractual relationship existed between your employer and the UK client to provide such services in the UK. If you have worked freelance for a UK client without them having a contractual relationship with your employer who sponsored your visa, this would constitute a breach of the conditions of a Tier 2 work visa.
Once you leave the UK, you will be permitted to carry out any work for the UK client if this work is done outside the UK. You can work for them as an individual contractor or through a company. UK immigration law does not regulate work that is carried out outside the UK.
Lastly, there is no issue with receiving payments in your UK bank account. But if you were to return to the UK in the future on a business visitor or tourist visa as opposed to a work visa; carry out work inside the UK for a UK client and receive payments for this work into either a foreign or UK bank account, this would be in breach of UK immigration rules.
The expert was Demetris Demetriou, a lawyer at Redfern Legal LLP.
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