A complete guide to the Global Business Mobility Visa for overseas companies sending employees to the U.K.

The Global Business Mobility Visa is set to come into effect from the 11th April 2022. Initially announced in the 2021 budget (section 2.140), the visa has been introduced with the intention of helping the U.K. “build back better”; making the U.K. a global hub for innovation in both the post-pandemic and post-brexit world.  The Global Business Mobility visa is designed specifically to help “overseas businesses to establish a presence or transfer staff to the U.K”, to support “inward investment” and “to attract highly skilled people” (Autumn budget statement, section 2.42).

The changes to UK business immigration law are one of several that are being introduced in the spring of 2022, for instance the Scale-Up and High Potential Individual visas.

Speak to one of our specialist U.K. immigration lawyers for advice on what business immigration visa is best for you.

This article is a top level look at the Global Business Mobility Visa and what it means for companies looking to send employees to work in the U.K. 

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Barriers the Global Business Mobility Visa will resolve 

The Global Business Mobility Visa is a consolidation, reform and expansion of existing immigration routes under the sponsorship system.

One of the major changes as a result of The Global Business Mobility Visa is the consolidation of the Sole Representative Route and Intra-Company Referees (ICT) Route under the new visa. Accompanied with the “relaxation” of existing rules, which previously restricted visas to a single representative, the new visa should prove helpful for overseas firms establishing a U.K. footprint or/and for transferring trainers, senior and specialist staff to the U.K.

Another prominent change that will benefit many companies abroad and those located in Britain is the introduction of the new Secondment Worker Visa, which falls under the Global Mobility visa. The new Secondment Worker Visa will resolve prior shortfalls that have restricted high value import and export-related secondments. For example, the new system will better accommodate scenarios like when a foreign business needs to send staff to oversee production with a contracted U.K. based business.

The net effect of the consolidation and relaxation of business immigration law rules under the new Global Business Mobility visa means that overseas businesses will still be allowed to send employees to the U.K. for specific corporate purpose that cannot be undertaken by a resident worker, while also accommodating a range of other scenarios, widening the scope for overseas businesses with or without an established U.K. presence.

Who is eligible

The U.K. business that receives workers under the visa will be the sponsor license holder. Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have a receiving business, a sending business and that there is a business relationship between them.

Below are the five categories the Home Office has divided the new immigration route into: 

  1. Senior or specialist worker to meet specific business needs
  2. Graduate trainee as part of a training programme 
  3. Secondment worker to U.K. firms in high value contracts or investments 
  4. Service supplier to the U.K. in line with U.K. trade agreements
  5. U.K. expansion worker to establish a U.K. presence 

Categories aimed at firms with UK presence: 1, 2, 3

Categories aimed at firms without UK presence: 2, 4, 5 

The eligibility of applicants will depend on which of the 5 above categories they are class under and will be assessed in consideration of the below:

More details regarding the requirements for the new visa will be added to this article once announced. 

What will the Global Business Mobility visa look like in practice?

Below are some working examples of what the changes to U.K. immigration law will mean for individuals visa types:

Senior and Specialist Workers visa

The Senior and Specialist workers visa is a direct replacement for the ICT route, with the minimum salary uplifted to £42,400, by £900.

Graduate Trainee visa

The Graduate Trainee visa is a direct replacement of the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route and uplifts the minimum salary to £23,300, an increase of £100.

Service Supplier visa 

The Service Supplier route is a replacement to the T5 international Agreement route for overseas service suppliers and self-employed independent professionals. 

Applicants must be working for an overseas service supplier which is providing services to the sponsor, the service being provided must also be covered in the U.K’s international trade agreement. 

Under this route, successful applicants will only be allowed to stay in the U.K. for up to 6 or 12 months.

Secondment Worker Visa

As mentioned previously, the new Secondment Worker route providers for temporary assignments connected to high value contracts or investment by an overseas employer. 

Rules have not yet defined what is meant by “high value”, we will update this article with details as soon as they are published.

Under this visa route, successful applicants will be able to stay in the U.K. for up to 12 months at a time and for a maximum of 2 years in total.

U.K. Expansion Worker Visa 

The U.K. Expansion Worker visa is the subject of some of the biggest changes to U.K. immigration rules; replacing the Representative of an Overseas Business route. Unlike the Overseas Business Visa, the U.K. Expansion Worker Visa is no a settlement route as it can only be granted for 1 year at a time and up to 2 years maximum in total. 

Manis Law are specialist in corporate U.K. immigration law. Contact us for support applying for the Global Business Mobility Visa.

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