Immigration Specialists London

A Guide to Global Business Mobility Visa UK 2024

The Global Business Mobility Visa UK is a streamlined visa category designed to facilitate the temporary transfer of skilled workers from international businesses to their UK branches or entities. It caters to diverse professional roles, including senior managers, specialists, graduate trainees, and those fulfilling service contracts or on secondment. This visa is crucial for businesses seeking to expand their operations in the UK, providing a flexible framework for mobilizing global talent and meeting the dynamic needs of international companies.


Global Business Mobility Visa UK

1. Overview of Global Business Mobility Visa Routes


The UK offers five distinct Global Business Mobility routes designed for existing overseas professionals involved in short-term work assignments with UK businesses linked to their overseas employer. These assignments must be vital for supporting international business operations. These routes cater to a range of staff from overseas businesses, including senior managers, specialists, graduate trainees, and more, integrating global talent into the UK economy.

Global Business Mobility Visa: Overview of 5 Routes

  1. Senior or Specialist Worker: This route is tailored for senior managers or specialists who are relocating to a UK branch of their international employer.
    • Replaces the Intra-Company Transfer route, allowing for job changes and extensions; dependents can accompany the visa holder.
    • Applicants must achieve 60 points based on sponsorship, job skill (RQF level 6 or above), and salary (meeting both the general threshold and the “going rate” for the occupation), alongside additional non-points-based requirements. Learn more about the Senior or Specialist Workers Visa.
  2. Graduate Trainee: Designed for individuals enrolled in management training courses that prepare them for specialist roles within UK operations.
    • Takes over from the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route, facilitating job changes and extensions, with provisions for dependents to join.
    • Applicants are required to accumulate 60 points through sponsorship, job skill (RQF level 6 or above), and salary (meeting both the general threshold and 70% of the going rate for the occupation). More details on the Graduate Trainees visa.
  3. UK Expansion Worker: Ideal for managers or specialists assigned to the UK to undertake work related to establishing a UK branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary of an overseas business.
    • Substitutes the provisions for Sole Representatives, aiding senior managers or specialists. This route allows for extensions and includes specific settlement aims for workers transitioning from previous routes.
    • To apply, applicants need to secure 60 points via sponsorship, job skill (RQF level 6 or above), and salary (meeting both the general threshold and the “going rate” for the occupation), plus meet other criteria. Details on the UK Expansion Worker Route.
  4. Service Supplier: For overseas contractual service suppliers or independent professionals as part of contracts covered by international trade agreements.
    • Replaces parts of the Temporary Work – International Agreement route, accommodating contractual service suppliers or self-employed professionals.
    • Applicants must earn 40 points through sponsorship and job skill level. Further information on the Service Supplier visa.
  5. Secondment Worker: Aimed at employees seconded to the UK by their employer as part of a high-value contract.
    • Applicants must achieve 40 points based on sponsorship and job skill level (RQF level 6 or above), meeting additional requirements. Explore the Secondment Worker visa.

Key Components Across All Five Global Mobility Routes:

  • Overseas Work Criteria: Applicants generally need to have worked for the sponsoring entity or a linked entity outside the UK for at least 12 months.
  • Salary Requirements: Specific salary thresholds must be met, reflecting the importance and skill level of the roles. The salary must meet both a minimum threshold and the “going rate” for the occupation.
  • Skill Level Assessment: Roles must be at an appropriate skill level (RQF level 6 or above), with points awarded based on qualifications and the nature of the job offered.
  • Financial Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate financial stability to cover their stay in the UK, with guidelines varying by visa route.
  • Language Requirements: There are no mandatory requirements for proving English language proficiency, facilitating access for non-English-speaking professionals.

Other Important Aspects of the Global Business Mobility Visa UK

  • Dependent partners and children are eligible to accompany or join the main visa holder. These routes are specifically designed for short-term assignments and do not provide a direct pathway to UK settlement. However, some routes may allow for switching to different visa categories that do offer settlement possibilities. This framework fosters a diverse and dynamic environment for international professionals.

2. Overseas Work Criteria in Global Business Mobility Routes


The overseas work requirement is a fundamental aspect of all Global Business Mobility visa routes. It verifies the applicant’s genuine link to the sponsor and their applicable skills across various professional contexts. Here’s an overview of how this requirement is applied:

General Stipulation for All Routes

For all routes, the applicant must have worked for the sponsoring organization or its associated entities outside the UK for at least 12 months. This 12-month period does not need to be consecutive or immediately prior to the application, as long as the applicant has been continuously employed by the sponsor group from the start of the 12 months until the application date.

Specific Route Requirements

  • Senior or Specialist Worker & Graduate Trainee:
    • These applicants must have a connection to the sponsor through ownership/control or be part of a joint venture with the sponsor on which the applicant is sponsored to work.
  • UK Expansion Worker:
    • This route requires a direct connection to the sponsor through shared ownership or control.
  • Service Supplier:
    • Applicable to individuals serving an international service provider who are contractually bound to the sponsor, operating their own business as a service provider that is contracted to supply services to the sponsor, or involved in a subcontracting chain that will provide services to the sponsor.
  • Secondment Worker:
    • Employees must be part of an overseas entity that supports the secondment contractually.

Specific Exceptions

Certain applicants may have specific exemptions or reduced requirements related to the overseas work criterion:

  • High Earners:
    • Senior or Specialist Workers and UK Expansion Workers earning at least £73,900 per year (based on a maximum 48-hour week average) are exempt from the 12-month requirement.
  • Graduate Trainees:
    • These applicants must have worked outside the UK for the sponsor group for a continuous period of at least 3 months immediately before the application date.
  • UK Expansion Workers under Specific Trade Agreements:
    • This requirement is waived for Japanese nationals under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and for Australian nationals or permanent residents under the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement, if they are establishing a UK branch or subsidiary.
  • Self-Employed Service Suppliers:
    • They can meet the requirement by demonstrating continuous work in the same sector as the service they will provide for the 12 months immediately before the application date. This work can be both self-employed or employed and in or out of the UK.
  • Secondment Workers Extending Their Stay:
    • The overseas work requirement does not apply to Secondment Workers applying for an extension to stay with the same sponsor.

Evidence Requirements

  • Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, and UK Expansion Workers:
    • The sponsor typically endorses the Certificate of Sponsorship to confirm the applicant meets the overseas work requirement.
  • Service Suppliers and Secondment Workers:
    • A declaration in the application is sufficient to confirm the requirement.
  • Extensions:
    • For those extending their stay in the same role or within the same sponsor group, additional evidence is usually not required.

Important Note: While applicants are not required to submit evidence of overseas work with their initial application, it can be requested later if there are doubts. Sponsors are expected to retain this evidence.

Non-compliance with these requirements can lead to application refusal. Routes like Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, and UK Expansion Workers particularly emphasize this requirement for maintaining sponsorship integrity.

3. Salary Requirements for Global Business Mobility Visa


This section outlines the detailed financial requirements for applicants under the Global Business Mobility visa for specific categories, ensuring fair compensation aligns with UK standards.

Applicability

Salary criteria apply to:

  • Senior or Specialist Workers
  • Graduate Trainees
  • UK Expansion Workers

Salary Scoring

Applicants can earn 20 points for meeting the salary requirements, contingent upon securing 20 mandatory sponsorship points.

Minimum Salary Requirements

  • Senior/Specialist Workers and UK Expansion Workers: The minimum salary is set at £48,500.
  • Graduate Trainees: Required to earn at least £25,410.

Inclusions in Salary Calculation

Salary calculations include:

  • Guaranteed basic gross pay.
  • Certain guaranteed allowances (e.g., London weighting, mobility premiums, cost of living allowances).

Exclusions from Salary Calculation

Salary calculations exclude:

  • Pay for flexible working hours where hours fluctuate.
  • Additional pay like shift allowances, overtime, or bonuses.
  • Employer pension and national insurance contributions.
  • Non-guaranteed allowances.
  • In-kind benefits (e.g., equity shares, health insurance, company cars).
  • One-off payments (e.g., “golden hellos”).
  • Payments related to immigration costs.
  • Payments to cover business expenses.

Allowance Limitations

  • Accommodation Allowances: Capped at 30% of the total salary package for Senior/Specialist and UK Expansion Workers, and 40% for Graduate Trainees.

Going Rate Compliance

  • Senior/Specialist Workers and UK Expansion Workers: Must meet or exceed the full going rate for their specific occupation code.
  • Graduate Trainees: Must earn at least 70% of the going rate for their occupation code.

Pro-rating of Salary

Salaries are pro-rated based on the weekly working hours specified on the Certificate of Sponsorship, using the annual going rate as the basis for calculation. This ensures fairness for both full-time and part-time roles.

Importance of Salary Assessment

The structured approach to salary assessment is crucial for:

  • Preventing exploitation of migrant workers.
  • Aligning overseas compensation with local UK market rates.
  • Maintaining the integrity of the Global Business Mobility visa program.

4. Assessing Skill Level in Global Business Mobility Routes


Understanding the skill level and ensuring compliance are pivotal for the success of the Global Business Mobility routes. Below is an overview of how skill levels are assessed and the requirements involved:

Skill Level Requirement

  • Points Allocation: Applicants can earn 20 points if their jobs align with the required skill levels. To be awarded these points, applicants must be sponsored in an occupation code listed as eligible for the Global Business Mobility routes in Table 1 or Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations, unless they are applying as a Service Supplier, in which case they have 2 ways to meet the points requirement.

Accuracy of Occupation Codes

  • Code Verification: Points are denied if there’s doubt about the accuracy of the occupation code. Verification involves evaluating job descriptions, particularly if they appear to be standard templates in high-risk sectors, and reviewing previous application rejections. The sponsor’s rationale for the chosen code is also assessed.

Compliance Checks

  • Inspections: Compliance visits may be conducted if there are suspicions that the sponsor has misrepresented the job to make it appear eligible. Applications could be suspended pending the results of these visits.

Dealing with Deception

  • Consequences of False Information: If deception is suspected, interviews may be conducted with the applicant. Repercussions vary depending on the severity and the applicant’s status within the UK.

Graduate Training Programme

  • Training Requirements: For the Graduate Trainee route, applicants must be engaged in a structured graduate training program with a clearly defined progression towards a managerial or specialist role within the sponsor organization. Evidence of this must be detailed in the certificate of sponsorship.

Service Suppliers

  • Qualification and Experience:
    • Option A: Requires sponsorship in an occupation listed in Table 1 or Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations.
    • Option B: Applicants must hold a university degree or equivalent technical qualification (with some exemptions), hold any necessary professional qualifications or registrations required by UK law, and have at least three years of professional experience in the relevant sector (six years for self-employed professionals or those providing chef de cuisine services under the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement).

Degree Equivalence and Exemptions

  • Validation of Qualifications: Evidence like a statement of comparability from UK ENIC may be required to establish degree equivalence. The reference document lists specific Swiss qualifications recognized as equivalent to a UK degree.
  • Exemptions: Some services, such as fashion and modeling, chef de cuisine, and entertainment services, have exemptions or specific qualification requirements.

ATAS Requirement

  • Research Roles: An Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate is mandatory for certain research roles sponsored by licensed Student sponsors (mainly universities and research institutes), if the applicant’s nationality is not exempt, the job is in a specified occupation code, and it involves PhD-level research in a relevant subject.

These criteria are designed to ensure that overseas employees possess the appropriate skills and experience necessary for their roles, and that sponsors fully adhere to regulations. This rigorous assessment is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the Global Business Mobility routes and the UK labor market.

5. Financial Requirements for Global Business Mobility Visa


Understanding and meeting the financial requirements is crucial for applicants of the Global Business Mobility routes. The financial criteria ensure that applicants have adequate resources to support themselves during their stay in the UK.

Introduction

It is essential for all applicants to demonstrate financial stability to cover their expenses while in the UK.

Automatic Eligibility

Applicants who have been legally residing in the UK for at least 12 months prior to the application are automatically considered to meet the financial requirements, eliminating the need for further proof of financial stability.

Alternative Methods to Meet Financial Requirements

For those not automatically eligible, there are two main ways to meet the financial criteria:

  • Sponsor Certification:
    • A-rated sponsors may certify that they will support the applicant’s financial needs for the first month of their stay.
    • This support must amount to at least £1,270.
    • Note: UK Expansion Workers are excluded from this option and must provide their own proof of financial capacity.
  • Proof of Funds:
    • Applicants can demonstrate their financial capacity by showing they have held at least £1,270 for 28 consecutive days before applying.
    • This requirement is a relaxation from the previous 90-day requirement applicable to some Tier 2 applications.
    • Detailed guidance on what constitutes acceptable proof of funds is provided in the financial requirement guidance for the visa.

Conclusion

Applicants must demonstrate that they can financially sustain themselves in the UK, either by proving they have been in the country with valid permission for at least 12 months or by providing evidence of financial capacity through sponsor assurance or personal funds.

These financial criteria are designed to ensure that Global Business Mobility applicants do not face economic hardship during their stay, thereby supporting the integrity and objectives of the Global Business Mobility routes.

6. Additional Information on Global Business Mobility Visa


Important supplementary details for the Global Business Mobility Visa UK routes provide crucial insights into various aspects of these visa categories:

Maximum Length of Assignments

  • Standard Limit: For most routes (Senior or Specialist Worker, Service Supplier), assignments are typically capped at 5 years within a 6-year period.
  • High Earners: Senior or Specialist Workers earning at least £73,900 per year can have assignments up to 9 years within a 10-year period.
  • UK Expansion Workers and Secondment Workers: These routes have a maximum length of 1 year initially, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Transitional Arrangement

  • Senior/Specialist Workers: Those who have been part of this route since before April 6, 2011, can continue to apply under the previous rules, allowing for assignments up to 5 years at a time.

Changes of Employment

  • New Application Required: A new application is necessary if the applicant changes employers, occupation codes, or experiences a significant salary reduction (including high earners in the Senior or Specialist Worker route whose salary falls below the high earner threshold).
  • No New Application Needed: Changes within the same occupation code, pay raises, job transfers due to mergers (under TUPE or similar protections), and certain temporary salary reductions do not require a new application.

Supplementary Employment

  • General Restriction: Supplementary employment is generally not allowed.
  • Exceptions: Senior or Specialist Workers who were on the route before April 11, 2022, may undertake supplementary employment if it’s on the Shortage Occupation List, within the same occupation code as their sponsored job, no more than 20 hours per week, and outside their sponsored working hours.

Visa Issuance and Refusal

  • Granting of Visa: Successful applicants receive either digital status (EEA and Swiss nationals applying via the UK Immigration: ID Check app) or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
  • Refusal: Refused applicants can request an administrative review but cannot appeal within the UK.

Conditions of Stay

  • Employment: Visa holders must work for their sponsoring employer and are generally restricted from supplementary employment, except as noted above. They can also work out a contractual notice period for a job they were lawfully doing on the application date (except for Service Suppliers).
  • Public Funds and Study: Access to public funds is prohibited. Study is permitted if it doesn’t interfere with the sponsored job, and an ATAS certificate is required for certain courses.
  • Voluntary Work: Voluntary work is allowed, with only reimbursement for reasonable expenses permitted.

Additional Considerations

  • Tuberculosis Test: Applicants from certain countries may need to provide a tuberculosis test certificate as part of their visa application.
  • Police Registration: Some visa holders may need to register with the police upon arrival in the UK.
  • Switching Visa Routes: While the Global Business Mobility visa is not a path to settlement, some sub-routes may allow switching to other visa categories that do offer settlement options.

These guidelines aim to clarify the operational rules and limits of the Global Business Mobility Visa routes, ensuring that applicants and sponsors fully understand their responsibilities and the scope of activities allowed under these visas.

7. FAQs: Global Business Mobility Visa UK


  1. What is the Global Business Mobility Visa UK?

    The Global Business Mobility Visa UK is a visa category designed to facilitate the transfer of skilled workers from international businesses to their UK branches or entities. It caters to various professional roles and business needs.

  2. Who is eligible for the Global Business Mobility Visa UK?

    This visa category is primarily for international businesses seeking to temporarily transfer their skilled employees to the UK. The specific eligibility criteria depend on the chosen sub-route.

  3. What are the sub-route options?

    The Global Business Mobility Visa offers five sub-routes: the Senior/Specialist Workers route for executives, managers, and specialists; the Graduate Trainees route designed for recent graduates participating in company training programs; the UK Expansion Workers route, which is for employees setting up new UK branches; the Service Suppliers route intended for fulfilling pre-agreed service contracts; and the Secondment Worker route, which accommodates temporary transfers within multinational companies.

  4. Who are “Senior or Specialist Workers”?

    Senior or Specialist Workers possess expertise, skills, or seniority crucial for the company’s UK operations. They often include executives, managers, and specialized professionals.

  5. What is the “Graduate Trainee” sub-route?

    This sub-route is tailored for recent graduates participating in structured, company-wide training programs who are being transferred to the UK.

  6. Who qualifies as a “UK Expansion Worker”?

    UK Expansion Workers are employees of overseas businesses establishing a UK presence. They play a fundamental role in setting up and expanding the company’s operations in the UK.

  7. Who qualifies under the “Service Supplier” category?

    Service Suppliers are individuals coming to the UK to deliver pre-agreed services as part of contracts between their overseas employer and a UK-based organization.

  8. What about “Secondment Workers”?

    Secondment Workers are employees temporarily transferred to a UK entity of their multinational company under a service contract between the entities.

  9. Are there specific salary requirements for these sub-routes?

    Yes, salary requirements vary depending on the sub-route and job role. It’s crucial to consult the official guidelines or seek professional advice for specifics.

  10. Can Senior or Specialist Workers engage in supplementary employment?

    Generally, supplementary employment is not permitted for Senior or Specialist Workers. However, those who were part of the route before April 11, 2022, may undertake supplementary employment if it is either in a job on the Shortage Occupation List or in a job in the same occupation code as the job for which their certificate of sponsorship was assigned. Additionally, the supplementary work must be no more than 20 hours a week and outside the working hours covered by their certificate of sponsorship.

  11. What are the maximum assignment lengths for Global Business Mobility Visa holders?

    Most visa routes allow assignments of up to 5 years within a 6-year period. For high earners in the Senior or Specialist Worker route, the term can extend up to 9 years within a 10-year period.

  12. Can Senior or Specialist Workers continue under old rules?

    Yes, those who have been part of the route since before April 6, 2011, can apply under the rules that were in place then.

  13. What if I need to change my employer or job role while on this visa?

    A new application is generally required if you change employers, occupation codes, or have a significant salary change. Minor changes within the same occupation code or salary increases might not require a new application.

  14. What happens if my Global Business Mobility Visa application is refused?

    You can request an administrative review if your application is refused, but there’s no right to an-country appeal.

  15. What are the conditions of my stay in the UK on this visa?

    You must work for your sponsoring employer and adhere to restrictions on supplementary work. You won’t have access to public funds and can study if it doesn’t interfere with your job.

  16. Can my family accompany me on the Global Business Mobility Visa?

    Yes, dependent partners and children are usually eligible to accompany or join the main visa holder.

  17. Do Global Business Mobility Visa routes lead to permanent settlement in the UK?

    No, these routes are designed for temporary assignments and don’t directly lead to permanent settlement. However, some sub-routes might allow switching to other visa categories that offer settlement options.

For further details please refer to Immigration Rules Appendix Global Business Mobility routes.