Navigating the nuances of the UK Secondment Worker Visa within the Global Business Mobility framework can seem daunting. This visa is a gateway for overseas professionals to temporarily join the UK workforce, primarily aiding businesses involved in high-stakes contracts or ventures. Though not a direct conduit to UK settlement, it holds potential for transitions to other immigration avenues. In this guide, we clarify each detail—from grasping the Certificate of Sponsorship to aligning with Home Office mandates. We aim to demystify the criteria, benefits, and trajectories available via this visa, ensuring both prospective applicants and businesses are thoroughly informed.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: UK Secondment Worker Visa
Understanding the UK Secondment Worker Visa
The UK Secondment Worker Visa, nestled under the Global Business Mobility visa (GBM) umbrella, is an inventive paradigm of business immigration. Catering to overseas companies eyeing the UK market, the GBM comprises several pathways. The Secondment Worker Visa is tailored for overseas professionals eyeing short-term stints in the UK due to major contracts or investment initiatives. This visa is distinct within the GBM, representing a new addition to revitalize trade and boost the UK economy.
Eligibility Criteria for UK Secondment Worker Visa
Eligibility pivots on:
- Application Locale: Applicants can seek entry from outside the UK or petition for ‘leave to remain’ if already in the UK, with exceptions for certain visa categories.
- Age: Aspirants must be 18 or older.
- Professional Stipulations: For those applying from outside the UK, an active role in an overseas enterprise contractually linked to a UK sponsor is mandatory, with a minimum 12-month tenure.
- Intra-Company Continuity: No overseas work requirement for extending stay under the same UK sponsor.
This visa proffers advantages to businesses and professionals, enriching the UK business landscape and giving secondees invaluable exposure.
2. Global Business Mobility Visa: Secondment Worker – In a Nutshell
Purpose: The Secondment Worker Visa within the Global Business Mobility framework enables overseas employees to be temporarily stationed in the UK by their overseas employers, usually aligned with high-value contracts or investments.
- Duration & Settlement: The visa is a stepping stone but doesn’t directly confer UK settlement. Switching avenues exist.
- Family: Partners and dependent children can accompany the applicant.
- Requirements: Applicants must be 18+, have worked overseas for a year, and possess a valid Certificate of Sponsorship. The role should be genuine and RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent).
- Sponsorship: A valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a Home Office-authorized UK-based employer is vital.
- Duration: Entry clearance lasts a year, extendable to 2 years, with a maximum of 5 years over a 6-year period under the Global Business Mobility Routes.
- Conditions & Dependents: Visa holders can work, study, and volunteer but can’t access public funds. Dependents can accompany or join.
- Sponsor Licence: UK firms with overseas ties and a qualifying link to a UK entity can seek a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence.
Get Expert Guidance for All Types of UK Visa and Immigration Applications, Reapplications, Refusals, and Appeals.
3. UK Secondment Worker Visa Eligibility Requirements
The UK Secondment Worker Visa operates on a points-based system. Beyond age and overseas experience, applicants need 40 points, stemming from sponsorship and job offer alignment with required skills.
Breakdown of the Point System:
- Sponsorship (20 points):
- Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): 20 points require a valid CoS for the intended UK role.
- Genuine Employment: The Home Office should be convinced of the job’s genuineness.
- Skill Level (20 points):
- Eligibility Under GBM Routes: The job should align with the “Appendix Skilled Occupations” and fit the Global Business Mobility routes.
- Accuracy of Occupation Code: An accurate occupation code is essential.
For a comprehensive review, the Home Office might:
- Validate the job’s necessity.
- Gauge the candidate’s suitability.
- Check the sponsor’s compliance with immigration standards.
- Tuberculosis Test: Certain nationalities must present a valid test certificate.
- Financial Requirement: Proof of £1,270 funds for 28 continuous days is essential unless the sponsor vouches for the applicant.
By meeting these criteria, applicants enhance their chances for a successful UK Secondment Worker visa application.
4. UK Secondment Worker Visa Sponsorship Requirements
For professionals aiming to secure a position under the UK Secondment Worker visa, the endorsement of an authorized employer, vetted by the Home Office, is vital.
- Becoming a Licensed Sponsor:
- Acquiring License: Firms must possess an A-rated sponsor license to support a UK Secondment Worker.
- Registration or Expansion: New entities should apply for a license, while existing licensees can expand to include the Secondment Workers category.
- CoS Allocation: After approval from the Home Office, a UK employer can designate a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for an overseas worker.
- Demonstrating a Qualifying Link:
- Establishing Business Ties: To apply for GBM sponsorship licensing, a concrete connection with a foreign business sending employees to the UK is essential.
- UK Secondment Worker Route Requirements: The UK sponsor should have a contract or investment relationship with a foreign entity worth at least £10 million annually, accumulating to at least £50 million.
- Fulfilling the Eligible Contract Requirement:
- Contractual Compliance: The UK sponsor must have an eligible contract with an international firm. This contract should be central to the applicant’s UK role.
- Contract Registration: Sponsors must register the contract with the Home Office using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).
- Adapting to New Contracts:
- Notification: Sponsors must inform the Home Office before bringing workers under a new contract. They must then wait for contract criteria confirmation before proceeding.
- SMS Updates: Through the ‘Request change of circumstances function’ in SMS, sponsors can notify about new contracts and seek CoS allocation increase.
In essence, the UK Secondment Worker visa sponsorship demands thorough planning, strict adherence to criteria, and constant liaison with the Home Office, promising a seamless experience for both employers and prospective professionals.
5. Guide to UK Secondment Worker Visa Application
Navigating the UK Secondment Worker visa pathway necessitates a systematic approach:
- Online Application:
- Begin with the online application form, incorporating the CoS reference number.
- Document Verification:
- Appointment: Some may need to confirm their identity in person.
- Document List: Essentials include a valid sponsorship certificate, passport, proof of overseas employment, and, where relevant, financial evidence and tuberculosis test certification.
- Decision Timeframe: Decisions are typically rendered within 3 weeks for overseas applications and 8 weeks for local ones.
- Understanding Costs:
- In addition to the mandatory £1,270 (if required), a £259 application fee and an annual £624 for the healthcare surcharge apply.
- Sponsor-related fees include a £536 sponsor license fee and £21 per CoS issuance.
- Visa Duration:
- The initial period is 1 year, which can be extended by another year, capping at 2 years. A maximum of 5 years is permissible within a 6-year span under any GBM or Intra-Company route.
- Dependent Provisions:
- Secondment Workers can be accompanied by partners and dependent children who meet specific criteria.
- Unmarried partners qualify with conditions like age, relationship duration, and relationship genuineness.
- Dependent application procedures encompass online submissions, identity and biometric verifications, document provision, and potential financial verification.
To conclude, the UK Secondment Worker visa is a potent avenue for businesses to maximize their global expertise within the UK’s borders. However, both the aspirant and the sponsor must strictly align with the outlined protocols and criteria. Meticulous planning can guarantee a hassle-free visa acquisition journey.
6. FAQs: UK Secondment Worker and Related Topics
What is the cost to sponsor an overseas worker?
Sponsoring an overseas worker involves costs like the sponsorship licence fee, a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) fee, and potentially an Immigration Skills Charge. The exact amounts vary based on the immigration route selected.
Is a sponsor licence necessary for sponsoring non-UK workers?
Yes, obtaining the appropriate sponsor licence is essential for businesses to sponsor overseas professionals.
What expenses are associated with sponsoring a secondment worker?
Businesses will incur a £536 sponsor licence fee specific to the secondment category. Additionally, each CoS issuance is £21. This doesn’t include the visa application fees for the applicant.
How long does the Global Business Mobility – Secondment Worker Visa last?
The visa duration is influenced by factors like the job’s start date on the CoS or the cumulative permission within the Global Business Mobility routes, with a maximum of 5 years in a 6-year period.
Can one settle in the UK with this visa?
The Global Business Mobility – Secondment Worker Visa doesn’t lead directly to UK settlement. Visa holders can, however, switch to alternative immigration routes that offer settlement or extend their stay to qualify for Long Residence grounds.
What to do if my application is rejected?
Should the entry clearance or permission for a Secondment Worker be denied, consulting immigration barristers is recommended. They can provide advice on reapplications, administrative reviews, or even judicial reviews.
How does an employer secure a Secondment Worker Sponsor Licence?
Employers need to obtain the relevant sponsor licence from the Home Office to sponsor someone under the Secondment Worker Visa category. Experienced business immigration barristers can assist throughout — from the application to ensuring licence compliance.
How does the Skilled Worker Visa process work?
This visa targets non-British and non-Irish nationals with an eligible skilled job offer in the UK from an approved sponsor. Meeting requirements like job skill level, English proficiency, and salary thresholds are essential. Given its intricacies, it’s often wise to consult with an immigration attorney.
The journey to secure a UK Secondment Worker Visa is layered with specific regulations and procedures. Central to this process is the A-rated sponsor licence, a linchpin for both employers and potential secondment workers. Employers must be aware of the associated costs, including the licence and CoS issuance. Aspirants, meanwhile, must be thorough in their document submissions to bolster their visa applications.
Although this visa doesn’t provide a direct pathway to UK permanent residency, it’s a valuable mechanism for global professionals to immerse in the UK’s business landscape for a specified period. If complications arise during the application, there are well-defined legal routes available. Given the fluid nature of immigration laws, staying informed or consulting professionals remains a best practice for both enterprises and applicants.
For further details please refer to Immigration Rules Appendix Global Business Mobility routes.