Company executives wishing to travel to England to make a “financial investment in a UK-based business” or for “establishing a new business within the UK” will be exempt but they will need written permission first.
The Department for Business said: “This exemption is designed to enable activity that creates and preserves UK jobs and investment, while taking steps to ensure public health risks are minimised.”
But the government added that business leaders will not qualify for an exemption if the activities can be carried out remotely via telephone or email, or by another person.
“Significant economic benefit” is considered to be having a greater than 50% chance of creating or preserving at least 500 UK-based jobs, or creating a new UK business within two years, the new guidance added.
Business leaders visiting England will need to take a Covid-19 test, take further tests on arrival, and tell the government they intend to use the exemption, before getting a letter of confirmation.
Bosses hoping to use the loophole to attend a routine board meeting will be disappointed, although a meeting to make a decision on whether to invest in a new UK division could be accepted.