Changes in the international arena are calling for a quick reaction from the British government, so it has recently updated its business immigration routes. New categories have been introduced that are called UK Global Business Mobility visas.
This article is an expert review of UK Global Business Mobility routes; it outlines the most important aspects of the visa application process. If you still have some questions after reading the article, feel free to contact Imperial & Legal advisors for more information.
UK Global Business Mobility routes are five immigration categories that allow foreign specialists to work in the United Kingdom. However, these are non-settlement visas, meaning that it does not lead to an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). To stay in the UK permanently, you will have to switch to another visa category.
You may need a UK Global Business Mobility visa for opening an overseas representative of your business, a business trip, intra-company transfer, internship, carrying out a temporary contract, etc. In one way or another, your stay in the UK will be limited, and after you complete your work, you will have to either switch to another visa category to get ILR or leave the country.
The disadvantage of UK Global Business Mobility visas is that they substitute a few long-term and well-established visas, for example, the Intra-Company Transfer visa.
At the same time, UK Global Business Mobility visas offer a wider choice of immigration options and give more opportunities for foreign companies and entrepreneurs who either have a UK subsidiary or just plan to open it. For example, compared to a UK Sole Representative visa, a UK Global Business Mobility visa allows to employ not only a top manager of a company delegated to open an office in the UK but also several other representatives. In other words, if immigration hurdles do not bother you much and you want to open a UK subsidiary to get a profitable contract, the new immigration routes offer more benefits than inconveniences.
There are five UK Global Business Mobility visa routes:
All these categories allow a foreign worker to come to the UK for professional training, on a business trip or to carry out a temporary contract as either a senior or specialist worker. Each immigration category is described in detail below.
This immigration category covers senior and specialist workers who come to the UK to run a UK subsidiary.
To get a visa, the company that invites you to the UK must be able to issue a certificate of sponsorship.
The Graduate Trainee category is for internships. To apply under this category, the following requirements must be met:
The UK Expansion Worker category suits senior and specialist workers who relocate to the UK to expand business here.
The Service Supplier category was created for two types of foreign specialists:
The receiving company must have an A-category sponsorship licence to be able to issue a certificate of sponsorship to a foreign specialist.
The Secondment Worker category allows foreign specialists to come to the UK to carry out works within the framework of a high-value contract or to launch an investment project.
The below table demonstrates the correlation between the old and newly introduced immigration routes:
Global Business Mobility immigration category
Senior or Specialist Worker
Intra-Company Graduate Trainee
Temporary Workers International Agreement
Representative of an Overseas Business
UK Expansion Worker
Unfortunately, old business visas issued to foreign specialists and trainees, once expired, will be substituted with the similar UK Global Business Mobility categories. Intra-Company Transfer and Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visas, for example, will not be extended, and new immigration routes will not lead to ILR anymore.
Sole representatives will still be able to extend their visas. However, if they need more employees, they will have to switch to the UK Expansion Worker category to invite up to five additional company representatives.
The table lists the maximum stay in the UK for all UK Global Business Mobility visa categories:
Global Business Mobility visa category
Up to 9 years of stay in any 10-year period
Up to 5 years of stay in any 6-year period
The period of stay on your first UK Global Business Mobility visa depends on several factors:
The British government is not interested in foreign workers staying in the country after their job here is done. That’s why the shortest possible period of stay is considered while issuing a visa. For example, if your certificate of sponsorship mentions a particular task that you need to perform, you will have to leave the UK within 14 days after completing it. If you need more time to finish your work, you can apply to extend your UK Global Business Mobility visa.
To learn the exact validity of your UK Global Business Mobility visa, contact Imperial & Legal.
To get a UK Global Business Mobility visa, you need to meet all the standard requirements:
Another important requirement is a certificate of sponsorship. It must be obtained at least three months before application for a UK Global Business Mobility visa. By this time, the receiving company must obtain a sponsorship licence from the Home Office. If it already has a licence, it must be of an A category.
The rules are standard. You can add the following family members to your application:
To apply for a UK Global Business Mobility visa most efficiently and to avoid any additional costs, you need legal support. Imperial & Legal’s experienced advisors consider each case individually. With our legal assistance, you will get a UK Global Business Mobility visa in four simple steps.
For your visa application to be approved, you must meet all the standard requirements, including age, due diligence, health, etc., and some qualification requirements that differ depending on the chosen immigration category.
The Home Office uses a point-based system to decide on your visa application. To get a visa, you need to score 40 to 60 points. If you have a certificate of sponsorship, you get 20 points automatically. Other 20-40 points are granted for meeting other qualification requirements.
To obtain a UK Global Business Mobility visa in the Senior or Specialist Worker category, you need to get 60 points. To do this, you must meet the following requirements: get a certificate of sponsorship, have the necessary qualification and have the minimum annual salary. Each requirement ticked earns you 20 points.
To get a UK Global Business Mobility visa in the Service Supplier category, you need to get 40 points (annual salary is not counted for this immigration category):
The second requirement is the same as for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa if services are provided through a foreign company with a UK subsidiary. If they come to the UK under an international trade agreement, the Home Office must make sure that an applicant has relevant qualifications for the work they are to perform.
A foreign specialist must be employed by a UK subsidiary to come to the country under the following visa categories:
The Service Supplier category does not require a UK subsidiary, especially if it applies to a freelance worker. In this case, it can be a UK-registered company that invites a foreign specialist under one of the international trade agreements.
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