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London and UK parliament through London Eye

Vanessa Ganguin for the European American Chamber of Commerce New York

Global Business Mobility visa offers new solutions for sending staff to the UK

European American Chamber of Commerce NY

1 December, 2021

We are eagerly awaiting to see how the UK Government’s latest immigration reform to reflect the global nature of business pans out. The Global Business Mobility visa is set to commence in Spring 2022 and will provide more new solutions for overseas firms moving staff to the UK.

Who should apply for a Global Business Mobility visa?

Global Business Mobility visas should prove helpful for overseas firms establishing a UK footprint or transferring trainees, senior and specialist staff to the UK to fulfil contracts – whether or not a firm has a UK presence.

The Home Office is dividing the new immigration route into five categories:

  • 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
  • The first three are aimed at firms with a UK presence, the last three at firms with no UK presence. (Secondments are a route for both.)

What requirements will Global Business Mobility visa applicants need to demonstrate?

The Home Office has intimated that depending on which of the above assignments they are on, applicants will face the following requirements:

  • Sponsorship by the UK entity receiving applicants
  • Appropriate skill level for the role
  • A salary threshold
  • Minimum length of time an applicant has been employed by the overseas firm
  • Assignments will be temporary  (though flexible and routes should be switchable to more permanent status)

These requirements will be confirmed when more details of this new visa are announced. Unlike other immigration routes, such as the Skilled Worker visa, there is not expected to be an English language requirement.

What problems will the Global Business Mobility visa solve?

The Global Business Mobility visa is set to address such shortfalls as setting up a subsidiary in the UK and being able to send a whole specialist team of “expansion workers” not just the sole representative currently allowed. There will now be a route for businesses to send workers to establish a branch or subsidiary which will be suitable for many more firms and scenarios than existing routes. Sponsorship will allow a transition to later sponsor such a team in more permanent roles.

The new visa will also enable for the first time secondments in high value import and export deals and to oversee substantial investment – something that is not possible at present. Secondments to a UK firm you may be doing business with would allow your staff to oversee production and get hands-on experience in a way that would be tricky under a visitor visa.