In a rapidly globalizing world, businesses are no longer confined to one region or continent. With growth and expansion on a global scale, the necessity to seamlessly move skilled professionals across borders becomes paramount. The UK, recognizing this pivotal need, introduced the Global Business Mobility Visa. Catering to various professional sub-routes like Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, UK Expansion Workers, Service Suppliers, and Secondment Workers, this visa is tailored for the contemporary needs of global enterprises. It not only streamlines international relocation but also ensures businesses acquire the right talent at the right time. Dive into this guide to understand its intricacies and make the most of what it offers.
Table of Contents
Global Business Mobility Visa Routes and Their Significance
The UK presents five unique Global Business Mobility Visa UK routes for overseas professionals on short-term work assignments:
The UK presents five unique UK Global Business Mobility routes for overseas professionals on short-term work assignments:
- Senior or Specialist Worker: For senior managers or specialists assigned to a UK branch of their international employer.
- Graduate Trainee: Designed for individuals on management training courses aiming for specialist roles in the UK.
- UK Expansion Worker: Tailored for managers or specialists supporting a business’s UK expansion.
- Service Supplier: For contractual service suppliers or overseas independent professionals undertaking UK assignments linked to international trade agreements.
- Secondment Worker: For individuals seconded to the UK via a high-value contract by their international employer.
Dependent partners and children can apply under these Global Business Mobility routes.
Note: Global Business Mobility routes are not pathways to UK settlement.
Process and Guidelines for Transitioning to Global Business Mobility Visa UK
The UK Global Business Mobility routes introduces fresh avenues, effectively superseding older programmes:
- Senior or Specialist Worker route: Replacing the Intra-Company Transfer route, existing workers can extend their stay or change jobs under this route. Dependents can join using this route.
- Graduate Trainee route: Succeeds the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route, facilitating job changes and extensions. Dependents can also join under this route.
- Service Supplier route: A novel addition, it takes over provisions for contractual service suppliers from the Temporary Work – International Agreement route. Professionals with prior permissions can extend their stay under this route.
- UK Expansion Worker route: Substituting provisions for Sole Representatives, it’s not a direct legacy route. Workers from the previous route can extend their permission and aim for settlement. Transitioning to the Global Business Mobility Visa 2023 means foregoing eligibility for settlement.
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Essential Conditions for the Global Business Mobility Visa UK
Applicants must meet three main categories of requirements:
- Validity Requirements: Foundational criteria, such as using the correct form and providing identity documents.
- Suitability Requirements: Assesses overall suitability based on factors like past breaches of immigration laws.
- Eligibility Requirements: Core criteria specific to each sub-route of the Global Business Mobility Visa.
- Payment of application fees and Immigration Health Charge.
- Provide biometrics and a valid passport.
- Obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
- Must be 18 years or older.
- If sponsored for study within the last year, provide written consent from the awarding agency.
- Restrictions apply for switching visas.
- Applicants must not overstay their visas.
- Those under immigration bail in the UK are ineligible.
Eligibility Criteria by Global Business Mobility Visas Sub-route
- Senior or Specialist Workers:
- Score 60 points based on sponsorship, job skill, and salary.
- Comply with non-points-based requirements.
- Specific leniencies available for existing workers.
- Graduate Trainees:
- Accumulate 60 points based on sponsorship, job skill, and salary.
- Adhere to specific non-points-based requirements.
- UK Expansion Workers:
- Obtain 60 points from sponsorship, job skill, and salary criteria.
- Abide by additional non-points-related criteria.
- Service Suppliers:
- Earn 40 points through sponsorship and job skill level.
- Adherence to non-points-based requirements.
- Meet nationality or residency requirements based on various trade agreements.
- Secondment Workers:
- Achieve 40 points through sponsorship and job skill level.
- Comply with additional non-points-based criteria.
Applicants must strictly meet these Global Business Mobility visas sub-criteria to qualify. Any failure might lead to application refusal.
4. Overseas Work
Requirement and Guidelines for Global Business Mobility Routes
The overseas work requirement plays a crucial role across all Global Business Mobility visa routes, acting as a testament to the applicant’s genuine connection with the sponsoring entity and the skills and experience they bring into the UK. This overseas work requirement of UK Global Business Mobility routes assures that:
- The applicant maintains an active employment relationship with the sponsor or its affiliated business.
- The applicant has accumulated relevant work experience with the said business outside the UK.
Non-adherence to these prerequisites will result in the refusal of the application. Notably, for routes such as Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, and UK Expansion Workers, meeting this requirement is pivotal for sponsorship, and any breach can strip applicants of their sponsorship points.
Eligibility Based On Business Affiliation:
- Senior or Specialist Worker & Graduate Trainee:
- Either connected with the sponsor via mutual ownership/control.
- Or, in a joint venture with the sponsor, aiming to work within that venture.
- UK Expansion Worker:
- Directly connected to the sponsor through shared ownership/control.
- Service Supplier:
- Serving an international service provider bound by contract to serve the sponsor.
- Operating their own business, committed to rendering services to the sponsor.
- Or, involved in a chain of subcontracting, aiming to cater to the sponsor.
- Secondment Worker:
- Employed under an overseas entity bound by a contractual agreement with the sponsor, supporting the secondment.
Length of Overseas Work Requirement for Global Business Mobility Visa UK
- General Stipulation:
- An applicant must have worked for the sponsor or associated entities outside the UK for a minimum of 12 months. While this doesn’t have to be in succession or directly before the application, uninterrupted employment within the sponsor’s group from the onset of these 12 months to the application submission is imperative.
- Specific Exceptions:
- High Earners: A salary of at least £73,900 exempts them from the 12-month requirement, but they must be active within the sponsor group.
- Graduate Trainees: Require just 3 months of continuous overseas work experience with the sponsor group before the application.
- UK Expansion Workers under distinct trade agreements: Exempted from the 12-month rule under specified agreements.
- Self-employed Service Suppliers: Require 12 months of continuous work in the same sector of service they’re providing to the sponsor.
- Secondment Worker Extensions: If extending with the same sponsor, this requirement can be waived.
- Permitted Absences: Periods of parental leave, sickness, and other listed reasons don’t disrupt the continuous employment criteria.
- Contractual Work: Work for clients outside the UK counts towards the overseas work requirement.
Evidence of Work Outside The UK
- Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, and UK Expansion Workers:
- The sponsor’s endorsement on the certificate of sponsorship suffices, vouching for the applicant’s overseas work experience.
- Service Suppliers and Secondment Workers:
- They need to declare on the application that they fulfill the overseas work requirement.
Submission of Additional Evidence:
- Generally, this isn’t required.
- If suspicions arise, more evidence may be needed, as detailed in the “Evidence of overseas work and permitted absences” section.
- Extensions: No additional information is typically needed if applying for an extension in the same role or within the same sponsor group.
5. Salary & Assessment
UK Salary Requirements and Assessment for Global Business Mobility Visa
This section outlines the financial requirements for applicants seeking the Global Business Mobility visa in the UK under specific categories.
- This applies to Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, and UK Expansion Workers.
- For the salary component, the applicant must secure 20 points. It’s essential to note that the 20 points for the appropriate salary tier will only be accorded if the 20 mandatory sponsorship points are also granted.
5.3 Salary Calculation Guidelines:
- Minimum Salary Requirement:
- Senior or Specialist Worker and UK Expansion Workers: £45,800
- Graduate Trainees: £24,220
- Inclusions: The calculation factors in the guaranteed basic gross pay and select allowances.
- Exclusions: Overtime, bonuses, employer-contributed pensions, and any other benefits that aren’t guaranteed are to be excluded from the salary calculation.
5.4 Inclusions for Salary Calculation:
- General Allowances: These can be counted as part of the salary if they are guaranteed for the entire duration of the permission (e.g., a London weighting allowance).
- Accommodation Allowances: These are permissible but are subject to certain limitations:
- Senior or Specialist Worker and UK Expansion Workers: Capped at 30% of the total salary package.
- Graduate Trainees: Capped at 40% of the total salary package.
5.5 General Salary Threshold:
- Senior or Specialist Workers and UK Expansion Workers: £45,800
- Graduate Trainees: £24,220
5.6 Going Rate:
- This refers to a specific minimum salary dictated by the occupation code.
- Senior or Specialist Workers and UK Expansion Workers: They must be remunerated at the full going rate as per the occupation code.
- Graduate Trainees: Must earn at least 70% of the going rate associated with their occupation code.
- Pro-rating: This is applied based on the weekly working hours and stems from the annual going rate for the occupation.
The salary requirements and assessment are integral to ensuring that overseas employees receive appropriate compensation for their expertise and contribution, in line with UK standards. It serves as a protective measure against potential exploitation and aligns overseas compensation with local market rates.
6. Skill Level & Compliance
Evaluating Skill Level and Compliance in Global Business Mobility Routes
In the Global Business Mobility Routes, the skill level of the applicant is crucial. This section provides insights into how skill levels are assessed and outlines compliance requirements.
6.1 Skill Level Requirement for Global Business Mobility Routes:
- An applicant must achieve 20 points for a job aligned with the required skill level.
- Points are given when sponsorship corresponds to an occupation listed in Table 1 or Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations. This excludes Service Suppliers.
- If the 20 mandatory points for sponsorship aren’t met, no points are given based on the skill level of the job.
6.2 Exaggerated/Incorrect Occupation Codes:
- Points aren’t given if there’s doubt about the accuracy of the occupation code.
- Discrepancies might manifest as generic job descriptions in high-risk sectors or if the applicant faced a previous rejection on similar grounds.
- Reasons for inaccurate codes could be to present a job as more skilled than it is or to justify a lower salary. The sponsor’s rationale should be evaluated by looking at the actual job necessity, the skills of the applicant, the sponsor’s compliance record, and other relevant data.
6.3 Concerns & Compliance Visits:
- If there are suspicions, a compliance visit might ensue.
- Pending the results, applications could be halted.
- If a sponsor’s license gets rescinded, applicants should be comprehensively informed.
6.4 Deception & Implications:
- Applicants suspected of deception might undergo an interview.
- The repercussions of deception are determined by the applicant’s current status in the UK and the gravity of the deception.
6.5 Graduate Training Programme:
- Applicants should be enrolled in an organized graduate training scheme targeting a managerial or specialist role.
- This should be evident in the certificate of sponsorship.
6.6 Service Suppliers:
- There are two paths to achieving points for the desired skill level:
- Option A: Gain sponsorship in an occupation found in Table 1 or Table 2.
- Option B: Possess a university degree or its equivalent, hold specific professional credentials if mandated, and exhibit pertinent professional expertise.
6.7 Degree Equivalence & Exemptions:
- To see if a technical qualification is on par with a UK degree, either the presented evidence or a statement of comparability from UK ENIC can be referenced.
- Some qualifications, notably from Switzerland, are deemed equivalent to UK degrees.
- There are varied qualification prerequisites for different service providers.
6.8 ATAS Requirement:
- A valid ATAS certificate is necessary if:
- The sponsorship is by a licensed Student sponsor, mainly universities or research establishments.
- The applicant isn’t from exempted nationalities.
- The job matches specific occupation codes.
- The role involves PhD-level research in particular disciplines.
- Comprehensive details can be found in Appendix ATAS.
- In case of uncertainties regarding ATAS prerequisites, the sponsor or applicant can provide clarity.
- If the ATAS certificate isn’t presented when mandated, the skill level shouldn’t garner any points.
7. Financial Requirement
Assessing Financial Criteria for Global Business Mobility Routes
The financial requirement is pivotal for aspirants aiming to enter or remain in the UK under the Global Business Mobility routes. This ensures they possess adequate finances to sustain themselves throughout their UK tenure.
7.2 Automatic Eligibility
- Applicants residing in the UK for a minimum of 12 months with valid authorization at the application date inherently meet the financial criteria. For a comprehensive understanding of this evaluation, refer to the Financial requirement guidance.
7.3 Alternative Methods to Meet the Requirement
For those not covered in the automatic eligibility:
a. Sponsor Certification:
- An A-rated sponsor should vouch that they will cater to the applicant’s needs (both maintenance and accommodation) for the first month of their UK employment.
- This support should be a minimum of £1,270.
- UK Expansion Workers are excluded from this provision.
b. Proof of Funds:
- Applicants must substantiate that they’ve held a minimum of £1,270 continuously for 28 days.
- This requirement is a relaxation from the earlier 90-day stipulation for Tier 2 applications.
- Detailed protocols and evidence specifications are available in the Financial requirement guidance.
To summarize, applicants for the Global Business Mobility Visa UK must fulfill the financial requirement either by:
- Having stayed in the UK with legitimate permission for no less than 12 months, or
- Validating their financial capacity either via a sponsor’s assurance or by showcasing evidence of the mandatory funds sustained over the stipulated timeframe.
8. Additional Info
Supplementary Information Global Business Mobility Guidance
Maximum Length of Assignments in the Global Business Mobility Routes:
- Standard limit: 5 years within a 6-year timeframe.
- High earners (over £73,900) in Senior or Specialist Worker route: up to 9 years in a 10-year span.
- Senior or Specialist Workers from before 6 April 2011 can continuously apply under older rules.
Changes of Employment:
- Application needed if changing employer, occupation code, or facing significant salary reductions.
- No application if job remains within the same occupation code, experiencing pay hikes, or job transfers due to mergers.
- Mostly not allowed for Global Business Mobility workers.
- Exceptions: Those in Senior or Specialist Worker route from before 11 April 2022, under specific conditions.
Granting/Refusing Global Business Mobility Visa UK:
- Successful applicants get a digital status or a Biometric Resident Permit (BRP).
- Refused applicants can seek administrative review; no in-country appeals.
Conditions of Stay in Global Business Mobility Visa UK:
- Employment: Work for the sponsor; supplementary work under specific conditions; allowed voluntary work.
- Public Funds: No access.
- Study: Allowed if it doesn’t interfere with the job. ATAS certificate needed for specific courses.
- Voluntary Work: Allowed in any sector. Only reasonable expenses can be compensated.
Frequently Asked Questions about Global Business Mobility Visa UK
1. What is the Global Business Mobility Visa UK?
A: The Global Business Mobility Visa UK is designed to facilitate the movement of skilled professionals to the UK, aiding international businesses in transferring their staff seamlessly.
2. Who can apply for the Global Business Mobility Visa UK?
A: International businesses looking to transfer their skilled workers to the UK can utilize this visa, as long as the specific eligibility criteria for the chosen sub-route are met.
3. What are the different sub-routes under the Global Business Mobility Visa?
A: There are five sub-routes UK Global Business Mobility routes viz. Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, UK Expansion Workers, Service Suppliers, and Secondment Workers.
4. Who are ‘Senior or Specialist Workers’ in this context?
A: These are workers with specific expertise, skills, or seniority that are crucial for the company’s operations in the UK. They typically include executives, managers, and specialists.
5. What’s the ‘Graduate Trainees’ sub-route?
A: It’s designed for recent graduates being transferred to the UK as part of a structured, company-wide training program.
6. Can you elaborate on ‘UK Expansion Workers’?
A: This sub-route is for employees from overseas businesses that intend to establish a presence in the UK. These workers play a foundational role in setting up and expanding the company’s UK operations.
7. Who qualifies under the ‘Service Suppliers’ category?
A: Service Suppliers are individuals coming to the UK to provide pre-agreed services as a result of contracts secured by their overseas employer with a UK-based organization.
8. What about ‘Secondment Workers’?
A: These are employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to a UK-based entity under a service contract between the entities.
9. Is there a specific salary requirement for these sub-routes?
A: Salary requirements vary based on the chosen sub-route and the nature of the job. It’s essential to consult the official guidelines or seek professional advice for specifics.
10. Can Senior or Specialist Workers engage in supplementary employment?
A: Yes, if they were granted permission under rules in place before 11 April 2022. They can undertake supplementary employment under certain conditions, such as jobs on the shortage occupation list or within the same occupation code, among other stipulations.
Summary and Final Thoughts on Global Business Mobility Visa UK
The Global Business Mobility Visa UK showcases the UK’s commitment to international businesses and the importance of skilled professionals in the nation’s economy. As businesses become more globalized, the need for easy staff transfers becomes paramount. This visa not only facilitates the movement of skilled professionals but also plays a crucial role in strengthening ties between the UK and international businesses. However, adherence to the specific criteria and understanding the nuances of each sub-route is essential for a successful application.
For further details please refer to Immigration Rules Appendix Global Business Mobility routes.