Does your overseas business intend to send an employee or several employees to the UK?
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The United Kingdom’s immigration department, the Home Office, made a very important announcement recently, indicating the launch of the Global Business Mobility Visa in spring 2022.
Consolidating several visas that offered workforce transfers to the UK, this new visa aims at offering improved solutions to overseas companies intending to transfer employees to the country for a short period to perform a specific business task that cannot be executed by a UK resident worker. It is a move by the Home Office to offer migration solutions that are in tandem with the evolving business needs.
Let’s see how the visa will enable overseas businesses to establish and expand their businesses in the UK, especially as far as skill transfer is concerned.
Who are The Target Users of The Global Business Mobility Visa?
The Global Business Mobility visa is designed to facilitate the temporary transfer of five different types of workers, who are defined by the nature of the assignment they are purposed to perform in the UK. These worker categories are:
Senior or Specialist Workers
Senior or specialist workers are specialists and senior managers of an overseas company performing a skilled role. Although a report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) shows that the comprehensive requirements of Global Business Mobility visa will be set out in the Immigration Rules and published soon (before June 2022), it gives a highlight of some of the requirements that the applicants of the Global Business Mobility Visa will have to fulfil under different worker categories.
For senior or specialist workers, an applicant needs to be performing a skilled role with at least RQF level 6 in the sponsor company outside the UK for a minimum of 13 months. However, there can be an exemption to this requirement if the visa applicant is expected to earn at least £73,900 in the UK.
In contrast with the current Intra-Company Transfer Visa, one of the visas that are expected to be consolidated, the Senior or Specialist Worker category of the Global Business Mobility Visa, will not encompass any English language requirement. However, the minimum annual salary level requirement has increased from £41,500 to £42,400, and the Immigration Skills Charge will still hold even in the new dispensation.
Additionally, unlike in the inter-company transfer visa, which requires a senior or specialist worker to switch to another visa to obtain settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK, the counterpart category in the Global Business Visa can be a direct route to settlement. Better still, the duration of an immigrant employee stay on the ‘Senior or Specialist Worker’ category of the Global Business Mobility visa can be factored in their future applications for settlement in the UK even if they switch to another visa later.
Graduate trainees are workers who are employed in a business organisation under a structured graduate training programme. Overseas companies who want to send such employees to their branches or wholly-owned subsidiaries in the UK to take up a managerial or specialist role have been able to do so under Tier 2 Intercompany Transfer Visa.
If implemented, the new MAC recommendation will see the ‘Graduate Trainee’ category of the Global Business Mobility visa become a rebrand of the Intercompany Graduate Trainee Visa. One of the proposed requirements of the Graduate Trainee component of the rebranded visa is that an applicant should have a minimum work experience with the sponsor company/organisation for a continuous 3-month period prior to the visa application date.
However, the minimum salary requirement for a graduate trainee migration application under the new visa will be reduced to £20,480 per annum, from the current £23,000 applied on the Tier 2 Intercompany Graduate Trainee Transfer Visa.
According to the UK immigration rules, contractual service suppliers in reference to immigrant workers are the people who’re travelling to the UK to offer a service according to a UK trade commitment or international law or treaty.
Immigrants who’ve been contracted to work for a foreign government and independent professionals offering a defined contractual service that can’t be offered by a UK resident are examples of service suppliers.
Service suppliers who want to travel to the UK for an assignment have been using a Temporary Work – International Agreement visa, which is about to become a component of Global Mobility Visa, under ‘the Service Suppliers’ category.
Secondment workers are employees or officials who are transferred by their overseas employers to the UK on a different assignment to what they are used to, for a specific purpose, e.g. upskilling, skills exchange or temporary employee replacement.
The Global Business Mobility Visa will cater for the transfer of this category of workers who want to engage in high-value contracts with UK firms. The workers will be applying for UK immigration under the ‘Secondment Workers’ category of the visa.
For an application for the Global Business Mobility Visa under Secondment Worker to be successful, the secondment worker applicant must prove that the contract they are going to engage in the UK is worth at least £50 million, and the sponsor’s overseas business should have been in operation for at least 12 months.
According to the MAC report, the proposed maximum validity for a Secondment Worker visa is 12 months.
However, if the MAC’s recommendations are followed, the contract value will need to be in excess of £50 million, and the overseas business will need to have been operating for at least 12 months.
UK Expansion Workers
According to UK immigration laws, UK expansion workers are employees who are sent by their multinational employers to establish the presence of their employer organisations in the UK.
The ‘Expansion Workers’ category of the Global Business Mobility Visa will streamline some of the key challenges that overseas businesses face when expanding their presence and operations in the UK, especially in issues regarding employee migration.
For instance, if recommendations by MAC are implemented, a company will be able to send in up to five workers to the UK under the proposed UK expansion worker route.
Will Sponsorship be a Requirement?
Yes, the Home Office has already sent strong indications that the applicants for the new visa will have to demonstrate proof of sponsorship (by the receiving business), no matter the worker category under which they’re applying. Besides, an applicant should show that they have a sending business and that the latter has a relationship with the receiving business.
Those are some of the notable components that we have noted about the Global Business Mobility Visa. Our professional business immigration solicitors keep you posted on any new development on the visa as it emerges. Feel free to consult us for any further clarification on this new expected offering by the Home Office. We’ll be glad to help you navigate through any issue regarding worker migration to the UK successfully.
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Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.