The UK government has introduced several changes to its business immigration routes to attract foreign specialists.
UK Global Business Mobility visas include five immigration categories that allow foreign specialists to work in the UK.
If you come to the UK to work or complete an internship, a business mobility visa is the best solution for you. However, it is not suitable for relocation.
It is a non-settlement route. It means that it does not lead to an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). After you complete your work, internship, business trip or provide a service you will have to leave the country.
The immigration authorities will not count the period of your stay in the UK on one of the Global Business Mobility visas towards the time required for ILR. However, if you plan to move to the UK, one of these visas is the first step to getting an ILR. For example, if you come to the UK on a UK Expansion Worker visa, you can switch to a UK Skilled Worker visa, which allows you to apply for an ILR. Therefore, applying for a UK Global Business Mobility visa is an excellent opportunity for anyone planning to live in the UK.
There are five UK Global Business Mobility visa routes:
The UK Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker) visa allows individuals to come to the UK to do an eligible job. Training usually leads to a specialist or senior worker position.
This immigration category includes both senior and specialist workers who come to the UK to run a UK branch. It replaced an Intra-Company Transfer visa.
This category replaced an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa. However, the targeted applicants have remained the same. It is still used to transfer a graduate trainee to the UK branch, whose training period is clearly defined and leads to a full-time specialist or a senior position.
Compared to the other four types, this visa is unique; it did not replace any previous immigration category. Secondment Worker visas allow foreign specialists to carry out temporary work in the UK. Note: your overseas employer must have a contract with the UK organisation.
This category replaced the Temporary Worker visa working under international agreements. The Service Supplier visa can be obtained by a foreign worker who will provide services within the UK as:
A service supplier cannot work in the UK independently. They must obtain an invitation from the UK receiving company.
This category replaced a Representative of an Overseas Business visa. It has a huge benefit. Sponsors can send up to 5 workers to the UK at a time. Unlike a UK Sole Representative visa, a UK Expansion Worker visa does not lead to ILR. However, there is an important nuance. After an overseas representative office is open and a company conducts business activities in the UK, it is possible to switch employees to a UK Skilled Worker visa to obtain an ILR after 5 years. It makes the process of obtaining British citizenship longer but easier.
The UK immigration authorities use a sponsorship system to make sure the UK companies monitor their foreign employees and also pay them salary at the level that is above the minimum established for this job (this requirement is only relevant for visas where a foreign specialist is employed directly by the UK employer).
It does not matter who you are (a trainee, a specialist or manager, a freelance worker or a secondment worker), the UK company must:
A foreign specialist must obtain a certificate of sponsorship for the following visa categories:
The exception is an Expansion Worker visa where specialists from the head office relocate to the UK to expand business. If a UK company have an existing and valid sponsorship licence under the previous four visa categories of the UK Global Business Mobility route, a company will apply for a sponsorship licence and issue a certificate of sponsorship for an expansion worker under an Expansion Worker visa. In this way, an expansion worker issues a certificate of sponsorship to themselves.
In addition to a sponsor, the UK immigration authorities have several requirements for foreign specialists.
We will not go into detail about general requirements for all visa categories such as being over 18 years of age, having enough money to support yourself, testing negative for tuberculosis, having a good reputation, etc. Imperial & Legal’s immigration advisors suggest that you should focus on the specific requirements for UK Global Business Mobility visa applicants.
Global Business Mobility visa category
Required Work Experience
Senior or Specialist Worker
12 months or more if you’re paid less than £73,900 a year
At least 3 months working for the company outside the UK before the date of application
At least 12 months working for the business outside the UK
At least 12 months or more working for the business outside or inside the UK for both in-house and freelance specialists
At least 12 months working in the company’s head office if you’re paid less than £73,900 a year in the UK (except for Japanese citizens who will be working in the UK branch)
Your job must be on the list of eligible occupations for UK Global Business Mobility visas.
How to check whether your occupation is eligible in the UK? Before you can find out, you need to know a 4-digit occupation code.
The Home Office requires that foreign workers get a salary at the level that is above the minimum established for this job per year (the rate can be found on the official government website). The highest option is chosen. This requirement applies to the following visas:
You can find out more about all the requirements for UK Global Business Mobility visa applicants if you book a consultation with Imperial & Legal or read articles on our website.
The duration of your stay in the UK depends on the specific visa category. There are 2 options for each type of visa. You should choose the shortest one.
Global Business Mobility Visa
The time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days
The time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days;
or 6-12 months for freelance specialists working under international trade agreements
You can apply to extend your UK Global Business Mobility visa. The exception is graduate trainees whose UK traineeship is intended to lead to a full-time job in a UK branch or parent company abroad. Therefore, to remain a trainee, such immigrants must leave the UK and reapply for a visa from their home country.
As the UK Global Business Mobility route was originally launched for temporary workers in the UK, there was a maximum total stay for each of the immigration categories.
9 years in any 10-year period if you’re paid £73,900 a year or more
5 years in any 6-year period
UK Global Business Mobility visas are excellent solutions to many business issues. They are used to meet specific needs: inviting interns and specialists from abroad, transferring any specialists and employees, and ensuring their longer stay in the country. However, it is better to consult qualified immigration advisors and plan your activities to choose the best option. Imperial & Legal’s qualified advisors can help you obtain a certificate of sponsorship and apply for the necessary category of a UK Global Business Mobility visa.
If you come to the UK to set up an overseas representative office for your company, we can help you with incorporation, a registered address, opening a bank account, accounting services and other business-related matters.
The following occupation codes have been removed from the list of eligible occupations for this visa:
However, if you’re already sponsored to do a job with one of these occupation codes, you can extend your visa provided that your employer is willing to continue to sponsor you. In other words, you can extend your immigration status if you work in the same job.
Applicants must prove that they have worked for their overseas employer outside the UK for at least 12 months by providing the following:
Yes, this opportunity is offered to senior or specialist workers coming to the UK on a UK Global Business Mobility visa if:
We will work with you to find a customised solution for your immigration, second citizenship, business, tax and other needs.
UK Global Business Mobility visas
Representative of an Overseas Business visa
UK Skilled Worker Visa
UK Graduate Trainee Visa
UK Service Supplier Visa
Employing foreign nationals