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Legal changes

GBM will cover 5 separate sub-categories, only one of which (Secondment Worker) is brand new.

On 11 April 2022, the Home Office “new” Global Business Mobility (GBM) immigration routes will come into effect. GBM 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. GBM will cover 5 separate sub-categories, only one of which (Secondment Worker) is brand new. These changes are introduced as part of the Home Office project to simplify and clarify the immigration rules.

What are the new GBM routes?

The 5 GBM routes re-package and reform some existing routes. Common features of these new 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 5 years in any 6 year period (although high earning senior or specialist workers may be granted a maximum of 9 years in any 10-year period)
  • Migrants will not be allowed to carry out supplementary employment.

Below are some details for each sub-category.

Senior or Specialist workers

This replaces the current Intra-Company Transfer visa. The main eligibility criteria are unchanged, including evidencing common ownership between the UK and overseas entities, length of stay, minimum skill level (RQF Level 6) and exemption from the English language requirement. The new route increases the minimum salary to £42,400 per year (from £41,500) or the going rate for the relevant occupation code. The high earner threshold of £73,900 is maintained.

Graduate trainee

Replacing the current Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee route, again this is the same as previously with the exception of a slightly increased minimum gross annual threshold from £23,000 to £23,100.

UK Expansion worker

This route replaces and extends the Representative of an Overseas Business route for sole representatives. Whilst some features of the previous route remain, there are some changes that lead to additional complications. The main features are:

  • This new GBM 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 £42,400 (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 1 year and extended up to a maximum of two years

Sponsor guidance is expected to be released, which should provide the criteria for sponsorship, including how many workers can be sponsored under this route.

Secondment worker

This is 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. Further guidance is expected on what constitutes such a project.

There is no requirement for common ownership and control between the overseas and UK entities.

This route requires the worker to be sponsored for the duration of the intended period in the UK. There is a requirement to 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.

Service supplier

This 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.

Can dependants come to the UK under a GBM 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.

What next?

We expect further explanatory guidance on these new routes. This will provide more clarity on how these will operate in practice.

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 information or to speak to our team of immigration experts please get in touch with us.