One of the smoothest ways to migrate to the UK is with a work visa. With a work visa, you can get employment in a company or even start a business without any hassle. For those who already have entrepreneurship experience, starting a business is your best bet.

The UK has entertained a lot of foreign businesses. However, not every city is the perfect place for ex-pat businesses.

As an ex-pat planning to start a business in this country, you must consider essential factors such as the taxation structure, basic infrastructure, and local economy before going ahead.

With these factors in mind, we'd list out the top 4 cities in the UK for ex-pat businesses.


  1. Leeds
  2. London
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Bristol

1. Leeds

Expats seeking UK migration can consider settling in Leeds. Leeds is a great place for ex-pats startups to thrive. The city has a stumbling high 42% rate of new business survival. Situated in the north, it is connected to Manchester and Liverpool. It has a large market, and entrepreneurs can easily scale to other nearby cities.


Leeds is ranked next to London as the financial capital of the UK. The city is home to three prominent universities. University students can be a target market. They can also serve as outstanding employees in your business.

Keep in mind that you can also recruit foreign workers. However, you'll need a sponsorship license to hire overseas talent. And if you are unsure of how to apply for the UK sponsorship license, you can consult any UK migration Lawyer.

As new business springs up, Leeds has steadily grown to become a commercial hub. Hence, it is a great place for ex-pats to establish a startup.

2. London

What better place than the capital city of the UK? London is a big city with a diversified mix of residents and businesses.


In 2015, London was ranked the 6th best startup ecosystem globally. It goes to show how innovations and business are highly welcomed. Strategically located in the central UK, many other cities are accessible from London. Hence, ex-pat businesses can enjoy easy product distribution. As the capital city, London has awesome infrastructures to facilitate better business operations. 

Bear in mind that London can be highly competitive. It may be difficult to scale with new and existing businesses dragging for the same market. The startup survival rate in London is considerably lower than that of Leeds. Hence, ex-pats should put in their best game if they decide to start a business in London.

3. Edinburgh

The city has a 40.8% business survival rate. It is a unique city that appeals to startup founders. The city thrives in industries such as finance, digital, and technology. The growth of its technology industry can be partly attributed to the University of Edinburgh.


Aside from the University of Edinburgh, there are three other local universities. With these universities, the city boasts of having the second-highest number of residents with an NVQ4 qualification, making it one of the best places to source qualified talents for your ex-pat business.

Expat business owners need to know that Edinburgh sits in the top 7 positions of the largest population in the UK. It is also the capital of Scotland and has the 6th largest business population in the UK. Hence, a good market for new businesses.

Businesses can utilize various transportation channels for product distribution and business travel. There is also solid broadband coverage that will impact your business operations.

4. Bristol

Over the years, Bristol has advanced from being a historical trading port to being a full-blown commercial scene. It has an excellent market for arts and culture. The city also thrives as a hub for the media, finance, electronics, and aerospace businesses.


For rankings, Bristol beats Edinburgh. Bristol has the fifth biggest business population. It also has the fifth-highest number of NVQ level 4 residents.

Bristol has been constantly ranked as a good place to live in the UK and a great place after London for under 26. The city is rapidly becoming a smart city with internet connectivity and adequate infrastructures.

With the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, new businesses have access to different incentives that will help their business scale. All of these have enabled 41% of new Bristol business success.

Final Words

Expats can maximize their stay in the UK by setting up a business. However, we have emphasized that many factors contribute to the success of a business. One of such is the business location. To help, we have listed the top 4 places in the UK to set up an ex-pat business.


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Sumona is a persona, having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of her professional commitments, she carries out sharing sentient blogs by maintaining top-to-toe SEO aspects. Follow more of her contributions at SmartBusinessDaily

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