Setting up in the UK from overseas

There are few countries in the world so ready and enthusiastic to receive overseas investment as the UK. And there are few that can compete with the advantages offered by the UK to foreign businesses. Click here to download our full guide to setting up in the UK.

So how can you go about setting up a business in the UK from overseas?

Do I have to be a UK resident to set up my overseas business in the UK?

One of the biggest advantages of the UK for overseas organisations wishing to set up a business is that you don’t actually need to be resident. The only requirement is that you have a postal address within the relevant jurisdiction of the UK. This will be the registered office of your company. But from there, communications can be forwarded to your own headquarters located anywhere in the world.

What do I need to set up a business from overseas?

Other than that, you need a unique company name and details of at least one named director and shareholder, neither of whom need to be resident in the UK.

Other considerations for overseas businesses

The UK is not without business laws, and certain formalities must be observed. But as befits a country that sells itself as an advocate of international free trade, these requirements are not too onerous. Among such regulations are that any UK bank accounts that are opened must generally be done so in person. There are also tight regulations around such things as taxation, accounting and employment law.

What attracts overseas businesses to the UK?

As a jurisdiction, the UK is known for its relatively low tax burden, flexible employment laws, political stability and legal impartiality. These advantages don’t happen in isolation; they’re backed up by good employment regulations, including a minimum wage, reliable tax collection processes, and a financial regulation system that requires regular audits and accountability. After all, making sure that the whole system operates fairly and equitably is what guarantees the stability that’s so attractive.

Among the most complicated areas of operation for foreign companies in the UK is employment. Many organisations won’t need to hire large numbers of staff, while others will. But every member of staff you recruit will require an employment contract.

Besides this there are a whole host of other statutory protections for UK workers. Importantly, your workers don’t have to be UK nationals for these to apply. Everybody working in the UK enjoys the same protections.

Other areas that require careful attention are tax planning and financial probity. The UK remains strong on anti-bribery and corruption procedures, and increasingly enforces strict data protection laws.

Complying with UK regulations

For all these reasons, it pays to work with local professionals with a long track record of assisting foreign companies to set up and operate in the UK. Here at we’ve got many years’ experience of doing just that. Our team of professionals will be happy to help you ensure that you set up correctly within all the regulatory frameworks that apply.

So whether it’s drawing up employment contracts, registering your business, or dealing with immigration issues, visas, and work permits, our team are here to help. For guidance on the full range of services we offer to overseas investors in the UK look at our accountancy services.

Managing the day to day accounting function of overseas businesses

Once you’re up and running it’s easy to assume your work is done. You can return home and run your business as you see fit. But it’s important to ensure that your UK arm remains fully compliant while you’re away.

At Clark Howes our financial outsourcing services for international businesses can offer just the right level of local support to meet your day-to-day financial needs. Our global outsourcing service covers everything from:

  • payroll and cash control
  • bookkeeping
  • preparation of your year-end accounts
  • audit and assurance
  • This will hopefully help to save you a major headache and a lot of worry, allowing you to focus on the running of your overseas business.

    Wherever in the world you’re from, we’re here to help. Contact our expert International team to find out how we can help your overseas business.

    Download our free guide to setting up in the UK

    Our free guide to setting up a business in the UK aims to provide you with a framework to start your international expansion plans. Focussing on the practicalities of setting up a business in the UK, this guides offers an outline of the fundamentals such as how to set up a UK company, taxation structures and what your obligations as a UK employer might be.

    Click here to download our full guide to setting up a business in the UK.

    Jon Shepheard

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    Jon Shepheard Partner

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