Immigration alert: Senior executives exemption from self-isolation requirements

6 July 2021

As set out in our coronavirus FAQs, travellers to England from amber and red list countries need to self-isolate on arrival for 10 days.  
Where the criteria are met, senior executives (board directors or equivalent) arriving in England from an amber list country can be temporarily exempt from the self-isolation requirements where they are carrying out activities of significant economic benefit to the UK. They must still self-isolate when they are not carrying out the duties which have a significant economic benefit. If the activities can be done remotely or by someone else the exemption cannot be used.
A new process has started in which before travelling to England senior executives need to complete a form and send it by email for consideration. A response should be received within 5 working days on whether the exemption criteria have been met. The written approval should be shown to Border Force officers on arrival in the UK. 
The exemption (more detail on the criteria and definitions is in the relevant regulations) covers two types of senior executives:
  • Multinational executives – executives based outside the UK who are part of multinational businesses and are visiting their UK based subsidiary or branch.  The executive needs to have a reasonable belief that the intended activities will lead to the creation or continuation of employment for 500 employees or more in the UK branch or subsidiary; and
  • International executives – executives of companies based outside the UK who will bring significant economic benefit to the UK as the work will more likely than not lead to either:
    • an investment in a UK-based undertaking creating or continuing the employment of 500 employees or more in that UK-based undertaking, or
    • the establishment of a new business in the UK which will within 24 months create employment for 500 employees or more in that new business.
The guidance on the new process includes examples of what is exempt activity. For instance, attending a routine board meeting would not qualify unless the meeting will involve for example making a decision on whether to invest in the UK.

If you have any queries in relation to the above change or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of the immigration team.

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