< back

How the Global Business Mobility visa will overhaul how firms move staff to the UK

14 April 2022

On the actual morning of 11 April, when the Global Business Mobility visa overhauled many immigration routes for businesses moving staff to the UK, the Home Office finally published detailed guidance for employers – most importantly details on eligibility and how sponsorship would work for employees using these routes.

Even for a Home Office under the cosh with headline-grabbing delays, this was about as last minute as you can get with such flagship changes for work immigration routes.

Trailing the new Global Business Mobility visa last year, the Home Office announced reforms to reflect the global nature of modern business, insisting: “Immigration routes that may once have worked for business, no longer do; they have not evolved in tandem with businesses”.

The Global Business Mobility visa revamp was set to address business mobility difficulties, including setting up a subsidiary in the UK.

The Home Office promised the new visa route would “enable an overseas business to temporarily send an employee to the UK for a specific corporate purpose that could not be done by a resident worker.”

So now we’ve had a chance to read the new immigration rules, how much will the Global Business Mobility visa facilitate staff moving with the ease that modern trade necessitates, and how much is a rebranding exercise?

Global Business Mobility visas are a mix of new and improved old routes (such as Intra-Company Transfers and Representative of an Overseas Business) to help firms in the UK as well as abroad transfer certain categories of staff to the UK to work.

The Home Office has published five new categories of work visa under the Global Business Mobility umbrella:

  • Senior or specialist worker to meet specific business needs (this replaces Intra-Company Transfers)
  • Graduate trainee as part of a training programme (this replaces the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa)
  • Secondment worker to UK firms in high value contracts or investments (brand new)
  • Service supplier to the UK in line with UK trade agreements (replaces the service supplier part of the T5 International Agreement immigration route)
  • UK expansion worker to establish a UK presence (replaces and expands the route for a Representative of an Overseas Business)

The first three categories are for employers with a UK presence, the last three work for employers with no UK presence. Secondments are a route for both.