A new Global Business Mobility route will be introduced in the first half of 2022, bringing the Intra-Company Transfer visa, the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa, the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa and the Temporary Work – International Agreement visa together under one route.
What is the Global Business Mobility visa and who can apply
In his 2021 Budget Speech, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the introduction of a new Global Business Mobility visa. Last month the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) gave recommendations on certain aspects of the new Global Business Mobility route, which are currently under consideration by the Home Office. Here’s what we know so far about the likely shape of the new category.
The Global Business Mobility visa route envisages five different categories of workers:
- Senior or specialist worker to meet specific business needs
- Graduate trainee as part of a training programme
- Secondment worker to UK firms in high-value contracts or investments
- Service supplier to the UK in line with UK trade agreements
- UK expansion worker to establish a UK presence
In all cases, the following requirements will need to be met:
- All roles will need to be sponsored.
- Jobs will need to be at the appropriate skill level.
How the Intra-company transfer visa route is changing
The Intra-company transfer route (ICT) is used by international businesses to temporarily transfer key employees, where they are senior managers or specialists, to their UK branch or head office. It will be rebranded as the Senior or Specialist Worker category of the Global Business Mobility visa route.
However, unlike the existing ICT route, following a recommendation by the MAC, it’s expected that the Senior or Specialist Worker category of the Global Business Mobility visa route will be a route to residency, without the need to switch to another visa to obtain residency. It’s also recommended that time spent on the ICT visa should count towards residency if the worker does switch to another visa.
There will continue to be no English language requirement for this route, but applicants will need to be paid at least £42,400 per annum – an increase on the current salary level of £41,500.
Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa route
The Intra-company graduate trainee visa is used by companies as part of a structured graduate training programme for a managerial or specialist role. The route will be rebranded as the Graduate Trainee category of the Global Business Mobility visa route.
Changes to the route include a reduction on the current salary of £23,000 to at least £20,480 per annum. This is to bring the threshold in line with the new entrant rate for the Skilled Worker route.
Contractual service suppliers visa category
The Temporary Work – International Agreement visa, is used by workers who are contracted to do work in the UK covered by international law or treaty. It will be rebranded as the Service Suppliers category of the Global Business Mobility visa route.
The Global Business Mobility route will include the existing arrangements implementing the UK’s trade commitments in respect of contractual service suppliers and independent professionals travelling to the UK to deliver a service.
Changes to the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa
The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, is used by businesses that wish to send a senior employee to the UK in order to establish a commercial presence for the company in the UK. The route will be rebranded as the UK Expansion Worker category of the Global Business Mobility visa route.
Currently, the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is valid for three years with a possible two-year extension. However, if the MAC’s views are adopted, the new individual subsidiary visa will be limited to a two-year period. If you wish to extend your stay or re-enter the UK, you will have to switch to another visa type. It’s the recommendation to allow in-country switching to other visas.
The justification for this, according to the MAC, would be to prevent the abuse of this route “as a way for people to obtain UK residence and work authorisation, despite not making progress towards setting up a viable business.”
If the MAC’s views are adopted, the default option for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa will remain a single individual. However, if overseas firms want to send a team of workers to establish a subsidiary, they will be able to apply for a new sponsored Team Subsidiary (TS) visa that is to be trialled over a two-year period.
The TS visa will be limited to a two-year period, and the number of team members will be limited to five with at least one member of the team meeting the criteria of the current Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa route. The other team members will, at a minimum, need to meet the criteria of the Skilled Worker route.
As with the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, if members of the team wish to remain in the UK or extend their stay they will need to switch to a different visa.
Import and export-related secondments
The Global Business Mobility route will include a Secondment Workers category that can be used by overseas businesses to send teams of workers to undertake a secondment in relation to a high-value contract with a UK firm for goods or services, to be up-skilled in the use of the product being produced by that UK firm. Secondment Worker visas are likely to be issued for a maximum of 12 months with the possibility of a single renewal.
However, the MAC has suggested applying a £50 million threshold to count as “high value”, which will significantly limit its accessibility and usefulness. The MAC noted that they would expect no more than a handful of applications each year.
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