Global Business Mobility Visa Guide

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The UK’s Global Business Mobility Visa offers specific work routes for specific types of workers. While the GBM rules may appear complex, with professional advice, these routes can form a valuable part of an organisation’s global mobility programme and development of UK-based operations through critical-talent mobility.

In this guide, we explain what the Global Business Mobility visa is, together with the eligibility requirements and length of stay under each subcategory. We also look at whether this visa provides a path to settlement, and if dependants are eligible under this route.

 

What is the Global Business Mobility visa?

The Global Business Mobility visa is a combined category of five sponsored work routes for overseas businesses looking to establish, develop or support UK-based operations.

The GBM visas reform and expand on previous UK work and business visas, with the aim of allowing non-UK organisations to deploy certain personnel to the UK temporarily.

 

Global Business Mobility visa routes 

There are five separate global business mobility routes that correspond to different temporary work assignment types, including:

 

There are various eligibility requirements for each of these routes, including a financial requirement and, where applicable, the provision of a valid tuberculosis certificate. Below we look in detail at the other requirements for each specific route.

 

Senior or Specialist Worker route

The Senior or Specialist Worker route is for senior managers and specialist employees being assigned to a UK business that’s linked to their employer overseas and who wish to undertake a temporary assignment in the UK. This route replaced the Intra-Company Transfer route in April 2022.

To be eligible for this specific route, an applicant must:

  • be working for the sponsor group and have worked for that group outside the UK for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless they’ll be working in the UK as a high earner being paid a gross salary of £73,900 per year or more
  • have been issued a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they’re proposing to do, issued by an employer that’s authorised by the UK Home Office to sponsor a Senior or Specialist Worker and who has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge in full
  • have sponsorship for an eligible job at or above an appropriate minimum skill level, with an annual salary of at least £42,400 up to 11 April 2023 or £45,800 from 12 April 2023, or the ‘going rate’ for that job, whichever is higher.

If the applicant is successful, permission will be granted for either 5 years after the start date of the job set out in the Certificate of Sponsorship; 14 days after the end date of this job; or the date at which the applicant will have had cumulative permission on the Global Business Mobility and the Intra-Company routes totalling 5 years in any 6-year period, or 9 years in any 10-year period if applying as a high earner — whichever is the shortest.

 

Graduate Trainee route

The Graduate Trainee route is for overseas workers on a graduate training course leading to either a senior management or specialist position and required by their employer to do a UK work placement. This route replaced the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route.

To be eligible for this specific route, an applicant must:

  • be currently working for the sponsor group at the time of the application and have worked for that group outside the UK for a continuous period of at least 3 months prior to the date of their application
  • have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they’re proposing to do, issued by an employer that’s authorised by the UK Home Office to sponsor a Graduate Trainee
  • have sponsorship for an eligible job at or above an appropriate minimum skill level, with a salary of at least £23,100 per year up until 11 April 2023 or £24,220 from 12 April 2023, or the ‘going rate’ for that job, whichever is higher, with clearly defined progression toward a managerial or specialist role within the sponsor organisation as part of a structured graduate training programme.

 

If successful, permission will be granted for either 1 year after the start date of the job set out in the Certificate of Sponsorship; 14 days after the end date of this job; or the date at which the applicant will have had cumulative permission on the Global Business Mobility and the Intra-Company routes totalling 5 years in any 6-year period — whichever is the shortest.

 

UK Expansion Worker route

The UK Expansion Worker route is for overseas workers looking to undertake temporary assignments in the UK, where the worker is either a senior manager or specialist employee being assigned to the UK to assist with the expansion of the business. This route replaced the Representative of an Overseas Business route and can only be used when the business hasn’t yet begun trading in the UK. If the business already has an established UK presence, workers should apply under the Senior or Specialist Worker route instead.

To be eligible for this specific route, an applicant must:

  • be currently working for the sponsor group and have worked for that group outside the UK for a period of at least 12 months, unless they’ll be working in the UK as a high earner, or are an Australian national working for an Australian business, or are a Japanese national seeking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
  • have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they’re proposing to do, issued by an employer that’s authorised by the UK Home Office to sponsor a UK Expansion Worker.
  • have sponsorship for an eligible job at or above an appropriate minimum skill level, with a salary of at least £42,400 per year up until 11 April 2023 or £45,800 from 12 April 2023, or the ‘going rate’ for that job, whichever is higher.

 

If successful, permission will be granted for either 1 year after the start date of the job set out in the Certificate of Sponsorship; 14 days after the end date of this job; the date at which the applicant will have had continuous permission as a UK Expansion Worker totalling 2 years; or the date the applicant will have had cumulative permission on the Global Business Mobility routes totalling 5 years in any 6-year period — whichever is the shortest.

 

Service Supplier route

The Service Supplier route is for contractual service suppliers employed by overseas service providers, or self-employed independent professionals based overseas, looking to undertake temporary assignments in the UK to provide services covered by a UK international trade agreement. This route replaced the contractual service supplier and independent professional provisions under the Temporary Work – International Agreement route.

To be eligible for this specific route, an applicant must:

  • be currently working as or for an overseas service provider that will provide services to their UK sponsor and have worked in that capacity outside the UK for a cumulative period of 12 months
  • have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they’re proposing to do, issued by an employer that’s authorised by the UK Home Office to sponsor a Service Supplier, and who has a relevant Home Office registered contract with an overseas service provider on which the applicant will work in the UK
  • have sponsorship for an eligible job at or above an appropriate minimum skill level, or instead have a university degree or equivalent level technical qualification and experience
  • meet the nationality requirement for a Service Supplier.

 

If successful, permission will be granted for either 14 days after the end date of the job set out in the Certificate of Sponsorship; the date at which the applicant will have had cumulative permission on the Global Business Mobility and Intra-Company routes totalling 5 years in any 6-year period; or the maximum single assignment period for the applicant in question, being either 6 or 12 months — whichever is the shortest.

 

Secondment Worker route

The Secondment Worker route is for overseas workers looking to undertake temporary assignments in the UK, where the worker is being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their overseas employer.

To be eligible for this specific route, an applicant must:

  • be currently working for an overseas business that has a Home Office registered contract with their UK sponsor and have worked for that business outside the UK for a cumulative period of at least 12 months
  • have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they’re proposing to do, issued by an employer that’s authorised by the UK Home Office to sponsor a Secondment Worker, and who has a Home Office registered contract with an overseas business on which the applicant will work
  • have sponsorship for an eligible job at or above an appropriate minimum skill level.

 

If successful, permission will be granted for either 1 year after the start date of the job set out in the Certificate of Sponsorship; 14 days after the end date of this job; the date at which the applicant will have had continuous permission as a Secondment Worker totalling 2 years; or the date the applicant will have had cumulative permission on the Global Business Mobility and Intra-Company routes totalling 5 years in any 6-year period — whichever is the shortest.

 

Extending a Global Business Mobility visa

The Global Business Mobility visa is designed for overseas workers undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, but there will still be a right to extend this type of visa from within the UK, up to the maximum length of time permitted under each route.

However, none of these routes will lead directly to settlement in the UK, not even the UK Expansion Worker route which replaces the Representative of an Overseas Business visa; a route that previously permitted eligible visa holders to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

For overseas workers in the UK under a Global Business Mobility visa, they would need to satisfy the eligibility requirements to enable them to switch into a different immigration route that does lead to settlement, such as the Skilled Worker route.

 

Can dependants come to the UK under a Global Business Mobility visa?

Applicants may be accompanied or joined by a partner and any dependent children under a Global Business Mobility visa. However, to be eligible to come to the UK under this route, the spouse or partner of the primary visa holder will need to satisfy various eligibility requirements, including a relationship and financial requirement. Any child applicant will also need to satisfy additional age and care requirements.

 

Global Business Mobility FAQs

Who can apply for Global Business Mobility visa UK?

The Global Business Mobility visa is for those working for an overseas business that’s linked to their UK sponsor, such as senior or specialist employees, graduate trainees and expansion workers, as well as service suppliers, independent professionals and secondment workers.

What is Global Business Mobility visa?

The Global Business Mobility visa is a combined category of sponsored routes for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in the UK, or to transfer staff, for specific business purposes.

Can I move to the UK and start a business?

You can move to the UK to start a business provided you have permission from the Home Office to do so under the UK’s Immigration Rules. This means you must meet the strict eligibility requirements for the visa in question.

Do I need a sponsor licence for the Global Business Mobility visa?

The Global Business Mobility visa is a sponsored route, with five different subcategories, all of which will require the applicant to have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a Home Office approved employer authorised to sponsor that category of worker.

 

Need assistance?

DavidsonMorris are UK business immigration specialists. We support employers with all aspects of corporate immigration to meet their UK talent needs through international recruitment and global mobility. By seeking expert advice from an immigration specialist at the earliest possible opportunity, prospective and existing sponsors can maximise the chances of successful Home Office applications.

For advice and guidance for your organisation, contact us.

Last updated: 20 March 2023

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

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