On 11th April 2022, the new Global Business Mobility visa was introduced. This visa route provides five different ways for overseas businesses to expand into or transfer employees to the UK. Our immigration specialist Alice Boyle shares details on the five routes.

The five categories of Global Business Mobility Visa cover:

  • The transfer of key/specialist staff
  • Setting up a branch or subsidiary in the UK
  • Supply of services under an international trade agreement
  • High-value secondments
  • Graduate trainees.

They are as follows:

Senior or Specialist Worker

This route is specifically for senior or specialist employees looking to transfer temporarily to an existing UK subsidiary or branch of their overseas employer. This new category replaces the previous Intra-company transfer (ICT) visa routes although existing ICT visa holders will not be affected. This visa is particularly helpful when an employee cannot meet the English language requirements for a Skilled Worker visa.

UK Expansion Worker

This route allows senior or specialist employees of an overseas business to come to the UK to set up a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary. This category has replaced the representative of an overseas business (sole representative) visa although there are significant differences in particular the new requirement for the UK entity to have a sponsor licence. A positive is the fact that the UK authorities have waived the requirement for the applicant not to control the overseas company. This means that majority shareholders or owners of overseas companies can now apply for this visa. They will need to be able to show that their UK expansion plan is credible and not merely for immigration purposes.

Service Supplier

This is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade agreements. The worker needs to be either a contractual service supplier employed by an overseas service provider or a self-employed independent professional.

Secondment Worker

This is a new route for overseas workers being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment (worth at least £10 million per year and at least £50 million overall) by their overseas employer. They must have worked for their overseas employer for at least 12 months.

Graduate Trainee

This route replaces the previous ICT – Graduate Trainee category and is for employees normally employed outside the UK at a connected group company on a graduate training course. Such employees can come to the UK as part of their graduate training/work placement with a view to then taking up a senior management or specialist position outside the UK. The employee must have worked for the sponsor outside the UK for at least 3 months before applying.

Important Considerations

  • Each of the five categories of Global Business Mobility Visa require the UK entity to have a valid sponsor licence before a visa application can be made. We can assist you with sponsor licence and visa applications and also advise on the ongoing compliance and audit responsibilities for UK sponsors.
  • It is important to note that none of these Global Business Mobility Visas lead to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) or citizenship. If that is a concern, then the Skilled Worker, Innovator or Global Talent route would be more appropriate.

Whatever your priorities, our immigration team (in conjunction with our corporate and employment teams where appropriate) can advise you on the best way for your business and employees to come to the UK. Get in touch with our specialist team to talk through your requirements.

Alice Boyle

Alice Boyle is a solicitor with extensive experience in all areas of immigration law. She qualified in 2000 at Norton Rose and has specialised in immigration since 2003.

Prospect Law is a multi-disciplinary practice with specialist expertise in the energy and environmental sectors with particular experience in the low carbon energy sector. The firm is made up of lawyers, engineers, surveyors and finance experts.

This article remains the copyright property of Prospect Law Ltd and neither the article nor any part of it may be published or copied without the prior written permission of the directors of Prospect Law.

This article is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and it should not be relied on in any way.

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