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5 things you should know before expanding your business into the UK

If you’re looking to buy a new business, start one, or expand to the UK, there are certain things you should know to enhance your preparedness.

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The UK is among the highest-ranked and best locations for international businesses. Expanding your business brings along many challenges and questions before you begin the setup process.  If you’re planning to expand to the UK, it’s impossible to ignore the phrase ‘Brexit,’ but there are other things you need to know. Some of the considerations you need for success in the UK include:

Market entry legal structures

When expanding to the UK, there are many legal structures to choose from for your business, based on the most suitable type. You need to consider if you have employees, going into it alone, and your location. Some of the most popular legal structures include:

  • Sole trader
  • Branch office
  • Partnership
  • Limited company
  • Limited liability partnership

UK business laws and regulations

The UK regulatory system is transparent and open, making it easy for entrepreneurs to conduct business. Although the UK laws aim at deregulating marketplaces and reducing bureaucracy for businesses to thrive, some of its regulations are very strict.

Before you start your expansion venture, you have information on these regulations regarding pollution monitoring, employment, waste disposal, and industrial emissions. Every business in the UK is subject to its laws; lookup an immigration solicitor near me to guide you on all laws and regulations that apply to you.

Data protection

The UK is among the countries that support data privacy, and the EU has adopted laws on data protection. When expanding to the UK, beware of this policy that ensures all data is rightfully obtained, used responsibly, and kept secure. According to the new General Data Protection Regulation, non-compliance for businesses in the UK results in fines of up to more than 4% of the global annual turnover. Non-compliance to this regulation can also result in brand damage, litigation, negative PR, and regulator enforcement.

Employment laws

If your business needs employees, you need to know the regulations on UK employment. Employees in the UK have a right to fair wages, sick pay, vacation, notice on dismissal and termination, and family leave. As a business owner, you have to ensure that all employees receive a written statement about their employment contract and terms.

It isn’t enough to offer a letter of employment as the contract contains terms of the minimum holiday, sickness absence, and expected payment. Another employment law is that all employees must hold a valid work visa/permit or EU/UK passport to work in the UK. They must also have a National Insurance Number and a Pay-As-You-Earn scheme registration.


The UK, just like any other country, taxes its businesses. If you want to expand to the UK, expect taxes such as value-added tax (VAT), employment taxes, and corporate income tax. However, the tax regime is business-friendly and competitive for foreign businesses. You can also operate in the UK as a subsidiary or holding company for tax efficiency.

Bottom line

If you’re looking to buy a new business, start one, or expand to the UK, there are certain things you should know to enhance your preparedness. Understand the legal structures and choose the most applicable and learn about policies on data protection. Perform research on UK business regulations, taxation, and employment laws for a successful expansion.

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