Global Mobility Visa
In April 2022 the Home Office scrapped a number of existing immigration routes and replaced them all with a new broad category, the ‘Global Mobility’ visa.
The Global Mobility visa has five ‘routes’. These are;
Old route it replaces
Senior of Specialist Worker
Intra Company Transfer Visa
Intra Company Transfer Graduate Trainee
UK Expansion Worker
Sole Representative of an Overseas Business
Temporary Work – International Agreement
None- new route
One common theme across these routes is that these are all sponsored. Any business wishing to take advantage of them must apply for their sponsor licence first. Even if you there is already a sponsor licence in place, you may need to add the route to that licence. This can take some time, so early planning is essential.
A second common theme is that these visas are all temporary. None of them lead to indefinite leave to remain, so workers with these visas will have to leave the UK or switch onto another type of visa at the end of their stay.
Senior or Specialist Worker and Graduate Trainee
These replace the old ‘intra company transfer’ visa and are mostly unchanged.
This is for multinational companies with a branch in the UK. It allows them to move employees from their overseas offices to the UK on a temporary basis.
- ‘Senior or Specialist’ workers are either senior management or workers with a particular sought after skill. This is reflected in the minimum salary. Workers on this route must be paid at least £42,400 per year. They must also have worked for the business for at least 12 months unless they are paid £73,900 or more.
- Graduate trainees are employees on a graduate training scheme that leads to a senior management or highly skilled position. It allows trainees to spend up to one year of their traineeship at the UK office. The minimum salary is £23,100 or the ‘going rate’ for the role, whichever is higher.
In most cases, these applicants could use the ‘skilled worker’ visa, which gives them the option of staying in the UK permanently. The main benefit of the Global Mobility visa option is that the worker does not need to meet the English Language requirement- so if that is a problem, then this visa may be a good option. Otherwise, we expect it to be a lightly used route for most sectors.
UK Expansion Worker
This replaces the old ‘sole representative of an overseas business’ visa. It is for overseas businesses who wish to establish a trading presence in the UK, but have not yet done so. Like the other routes, the business must apply for a sponsor licence using a new procedure for such companies.
The route allows for a team of up to 5 employees from the overseas company to move to the UK. They must all be doing ‘highly skilled’ roles. This is reflected in the minimum salary. Workers on this route must be paid at least £42,400 per year. They must also have worked for the business for at least 12 months unless they are paid £73,900 or more. There are also certain concessions for businesses based in Japan.
Applicants on this route will only be granted a visa lasting one year. They can extend this for one more year,. After two years on this route, the expansion worker must either switch into another visa category or leave the UK.
This replaces the Temporary Work- International Agreement visa. It allows workers for an overseas business to come to the UK to work with a UK client as part of a contract. The contract must be covered by a specified international trade agreement.
The sponsor is the UK based business who will receive the service. They must get a sponsor licence and register the contract with the Home Office before proceeding.
There are two groups of workers who can use this route.
- Overseas Service Suppliers are employees of a company who has a contract to supply a service to a UK based company. They must usually be doing a highly skilled role and have been employed by the service supplier for 12 months before they apply.
- If the role is not ‘highly skilled’ then the applicant must usually have a degree level qualification or equivalent technical qualification. There are some sector specific exceptions to this. They must also have three years of professional experience. If a particular registration or qualification is required to do the job in the UK, then they must hold this. Again, there are some niche exceptions for certain sectors.
- Self-employed, independent service suppliers are self-employed workers who are providing a professional service to a UK based client. They must also meet the skill or the qualification requirement and have sufficient experience outside the UK.
This is a new visa. It allows an overseas business to send their highly skilled workers to a UK based client on secondment for a limited period.
- The secondment must be connected to a high value contract, which has been pre-registered with the Home Office. A ‘high value’ contract is one that is worth at least £10 million per year and at least £50 million in total. It must meet both requirements.
- The worker must be sponsored by the UK based company, so they must have a sponsor licence in order to use this route.
- The worker must have been employed for the overseas business for at least 12 months.
The requirement to have a ‘high value’ contract means that this option will have limited application for most businesses. However, where it does apply it is potentially a very useful addition.
These are complex applications, with multiple requirements. If your business is considering using one of these new options, then why not book a free initial consultation with one of our Business Immigration Lawyers. We would be happy to discuss your situation.