Can Dependants of a Skilled Worker Start a Business in the UK?

People holding dependant visas in the UK are granted the right to work, pursue studies, and engage in self-employment. However, individuals considering entrepreneurial pursuits should be aware of specific restrictions before proceeding.

This blog considers in detail whether dependants of skilled workers can successfully start and grow a business in the UK. 

Can Dependants of a Skilled Worker Start a Business in the UK

Can Dependants Start Business in UK? Limitations and Challenges

Yes, dependants of skilled workers in the UK have the right to start a business. However, there are specific limitations and challenges that they should be aware of before proceeding.

The most significant limitation is that the ability to stay in the UK and engage in business activities is contingent upon the primary visa holder’s continued presence. Consequently, once the primary visa holder’s immigration permission expires, dependants lose their leave to remain unless they independently obtain a new visa as the main applicant.

To delve further into this limitation, it’s crucial to understand the timelines involved. Dependants must consider the expiration of the primary visa holder’s permission, ensuring a seamless transition to independent visa status where needed. This requires strategic planning and a clear understanding of the renewal process.

Secondly, dependant visa holders face restrictions on specific business activities. For instance, they are barred from pursuing careers as professional sports persons or sports coaches.

Lastly, dependant visa holders do not enjoy the comprehensive business support available through alternative pathways. For example, those with Innovator Founder visas receive substantial assistance from an endorsing body.

Employing the Primary Visa Holder

Many dependants who become self-employed in the UK assume that they can easily employ the main visa holder. However, they should be aware that they may encounter challenges employing the primary visa holder.

One reason for this is the fact that the main visa holder will be subject to certain restrictions such as limitations on changing employers or taking on a secondary job (applicable to visa holders like Skilled Workers).

This restriction adds a layer of complexity to the employment dynamics within a family business. Dependants must navigate these limitations wisely, considering alternative employment structures or seeking legal advice to ensure compliance.

Additionally, as a foreign national, the main visa holder would require sponsorship in the Skilled Worker visa route. Therefore, the family business would need to obtain a sponsor licence to employ the main visa holder. Simultaneously, the business should have a genuine need to employ the main visa holder, and the main visa holder, in turn, should have the required skills to fill in the role.

Understanding the intricacies of employing the primary visa holder is vital for dependants seeking to establish and grow their businesses. The sponsorship process and the need for genuine qualifications and skills add layers of complexity that require careful consideration.


Navigating through this process can be challenging. Obtaining a sponsor licence, obtaining a certificate of sponsorship, and then preparing and submitting a visa application requires proper understanding of the immigration rules. 

What is more, the Immigration rules undergo changes and new policies may be introduced from time to time. Therefore, it is recommended to seek advice from immigration experts who can evaluate your case and assist with your application. 

WestBridge Business Immigration are committed to providing the best advice and facilitating your immigration experience. Book a consultation with us and benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our specialists. 

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