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Global Business Mobility Visas and the end of intra-company routes

Learn about the Global Business Mobility immigration routes which were introduced to replace the Intra-Company routes.

On 11 April 2022, the Home Office “new” Global Business Mobility immigration routes came into effect. Global Business Mobility is a combined new category of sponsored routes for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in the UK, or to transfer staff to the UK for specific business purposes.

In this comprehensive guide to Global Business Mobility Visas, we will cover:

The Global Business Mobility Visa route covers five separate sub-categories, only one of which (the Secondment Worker Visa) is brand new.

These changes were introduced as part of a Home Office project to simplify and clarify the immigration rules.

What are the Global Business Mobility Visa routes?

The five Global Business Mobility Visa routes re-package and reform some existing routes. Common features of the routes are:

  • They require sponsorship via a UK-licenced employer
  • They do not accrue the right to indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
  • Migrants may only be granted immigration permission for up to five years in any six-year period (although high-earning senior or specialist workers may be granted a maximum of nine years in any 10-year period)
  • Migrants will not be allowed to carry out supplementary employment
  • Applicants can bring their partner and dependants, provided they satisfy eligibility requirements.

Global Business Mobility Visa categories

Below are some details for each Global Business Mobility Visa sub-category.  

Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa replaces the previous Intra-Company Transfer visa. The main eligibility criteria are unchanged, although the new route increased the minimum salary, which is now £45,800 per year or the going rate for the relevant occupation code.

Graduate Trainee Visa

Replacing the current Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee route, again this is the same as previously except for a slightly increased minimum gross salary threshold, which must now be at least £24,220 per year and 70% of the pro-rated going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher.

Once a Senior or Specialist Worker or Graduate Trainee Visa application is approved, applicants will be able to stay in the UK for the shorter period of the length of the Certificate of Sponsorship (plus 14 days); or 5 years.

Individuals to apply to extend their visa multiple times, as long as the extension will not take them beyond the maximum period shown below.

Salary Maximum stay
Less than £73,900 5 years in a 6-year period
More than £73,900 9 years in a 10-year period

UK Expansion Worker Visa

The UK Expansion Worker Visa replaces and extends the Representative of an Overseas Business route for sole representatives. Some features of the previous route remain and there are some changes. The main features are:

  • This new Global Business Mobility route requires a sponsor
  • Time spent under this route does not lead to settlement
  • There are no prohibitions on applicants having a controlling interest in the overseas business
  • The English language requirement will no longer apply
  • There is a minimum gross annual salary threshold of £45,800 (or the going rate) or £73,900 for those without 12 months tenure overseas
  • Immigration permission may be granted for an initial period of up to one year and extended up to a maximum of two years

Secondment Worker Visa

The Secondment Worker Visa is a newly created route for overseas workers undertaking temporary work assignments for their overseas employer as part of “high value contract or investment projects” in the UK with a registered UK entity.

  • There is no requirement for common ownership and control between the overseas and UK entities
  • The worker must have worked for the overseas employer for a cumulative period of 12 months before coming to the UK
  • There is a minimum skills threshold, but no minimum salary threshold and there is no English language requirement
  • Again, permission may be granted for an initial period of up to one year and extended up to a maximum of two years.

Service Supplier Visa

The Service Supplier Visa reforms the Temporary Workers — International agreements provisions and broadly aligns with the previous rules. ‘Service suppliers’ are contractual service suppliers employed by an overseas business, or self-employed independent professionals based overseas. The contractual services must be registered with the Home Office and covered by an existing International Trade Agreement between the UK and the relevant countries.

Applicants require a certificate of sponsorship from a sponsor licenced for this route, with confirmation they will be paid at least the national minimum wage.

The maximum an individual can stay in the UK on a Service Supplier visa is 6 or 12 months depending on the type of trade agreement they are providing services under.

Does time spent in the UK on a Global Business Mobility Visa count towards indefinite leave to remain?

No. The Global Business Mobility Visas are non-settlement routes which means that time spent will not count towards indefinite leave to remain eligibility.

However, individuals may be able to switch to another visa, such as the skilled worker visa, that does contribute towards meeting the ILR eligibility criteria.

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

Yes, applicants can bring their partner and dependents. As with other routes, the partner must satisfy eligibility requirements, including a relationship and financial requirement. Dependent child applicants must also satisfy age and care requirements.

Can I switch jobs on a Global Business Mobility Visa?

Individuals who are moving to a new job with a different occupation code will need to reapply for an updated Global Business Mobility Visa.

The role must be with the same employer. Otherwise, they will need to apply for another type of visa, such as the skilled worker visa.

In both scenarios listed above, any dependents who wish to remain in the UK will need to reapply for their dependant visa. This can be done at the same time, or at a later date, but this must be before their current visa expires.

What is the difference between a Global Business Mobility Visa and a Skilled Worker Visa?

The Global Business Mobility Visa and Skilled Worker Visa have similar qualifying criteria. However, there are a number of key differences between the two visas:

Category Global Business Mobility Visa Skilled Worker Visa
English language proficiency Not required Minimum of Level B1 on the CEFR scale
Minimum salary requirement £45,800 £26,200
Time served with employer At least 12 months (unless salary is above £73,900) No minimum requirement
Future settlement Does not qualify for settlement Contributes towards settlement qualification

How can we help you?

We have a team of experienced immigration solicitors, who can help and advise you. Please get in touch with any questions.

For further advice on the Global Business Mobility immigration routes, contact our immigration solicitors.