Senior or Specialist Worker Visa – Global Business Mobility

The Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa replaced the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) provision and enables businesses with linked entities overseas to transfer existing employees to the UK for a specified period of time. The employee will need to be assigned to a UK business that is linked to their employer overseas to be considered for this type of visa.

Latitude Law has spent more than 15 years assisting companies and individuals to undertake work in the UK through various immigration routes. We will ensure that applications are submitted and managed to enable overseas workers to work or establish a business presence in the UK.

To speak to one of our solicitors about the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa route, including which option is best for your business and how to make a successful application, call us on either 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185 now. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.

What is the Global Business Mobility senior or specialist worker visa?

The Global Business Mobility visa (GBM) for senior or specialist workers is one of five immigration routes for overseas businesses looking to transfer workers to the UK or establish a presence here. The new routes were open to applicants on 11th April 2022.

As the name suggests, this route is for senior management or specialist workers looking to transfer to a UK branch or subsidiary of their overseas employer.

The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is a category under the UK’s points-based immigration system that replaces the ICT Visa. Applications for ICT Visas are no longer accepted; however, existing ICT Visa holders are not affected.

Requirements for Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visas

To qualify for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa under the Global Business Mobility route (GBM), the following must be satisfied:

  • You are aged 18 or over
  • You are currently employed by an overseas entity with a Home Office-sponsored branch or subsidiary in the UK
  • Your salary is £42,400 gross per annum (or the going rate under the role, if higher)
  • You have been with the same sponsor group overseas for 12 months, unless you are a high earner with a gross annual salary of at least £73,900
  • You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by the UK sponsor you are going to work for
  • The job you are planning to is skilled at least RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent)
  • Your UK sponsor has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge
  • Your UK sponsor is able to provide genuine employment to an overseas worker
  • You have enough money to support yourself
  • You have provided a valid tuberculosis (TB) test certificate, if required

Senior or specialist workers will only be able to stay in the UK for up to five years in any six-year period, unless they are a high earner, in which case they can spend up to nine years in any 10-year period.

Note that this cap on UK residence includes time spent in the UK holding permission to enter or remain under a previous Intra-Company Transfer Visa.

The exact requirements you will be required to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances, so you may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for advice.

How to apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

The application process for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is similar to the former intra-company transfer route. Applicants will need to complete an online visa application with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) number. The CoS must not have been issued more than three months prior to the date of application and confirm a start date of no more than three months after the date of application.

There will also be an application fee to pay and a number of documents to submit in support of the application. Also, depending on where the worker is from and what type of passport they have, their fingerprints and photograph may need to be taken in order to receive a biometric residence permit.

In order to apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa under the Global Business Mobility, applicants must have:

  • a valid passport or other travel document;
  • a valid CoS from a licensed UK business or organisation;
  • their job title, annual salary and occupation code;
  • evidence of working for their employer outside of the UK;
  • proof of sufficient funds; and
  • a valid TB test certificate, if applicable.

A granted Senior or Specialist Worker Visa permits the applicant to work in the UK in the job for which they have been sponsored. Under this route, those granted permission to enter or remain from 11th April 2022 will no longer be able to undertake supplementary employment. They are, however, permitted to undertake voluntary work and, subject to certain conditions, study in the UK.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Our team of business immigration solicitors has assisted many employers and skilled workers across a variety of industries to gain permission to work in the UK through Global Business Mobility routes. This includes helping UK employers to obtain a Home Office sponsor licence, and maintain their licence by ensuring compliance with the strict requirements, duties and responsibilities as a sponsor licence holder.

Thanks to our extensive knowledge of immigration rules, we are able to provide pragmatic advice and meet our clients’ needs. We have connections with the Home Office and other immigration authorities so we can advise you with confidence, and ensure the entire immigration procedure runs smoothly and efficiently for you.

FAQs about Senior or Specialist Worker Visas

How much does it cost to apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa?

There are various fees involved in the application process for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, including an application fee and an annual immigration health surcharge.

When applying from outside of the UK, the application fee for a senior or specialist worker is £625 when requesting up to three years’ leave, and £1,235 for more than three years’ leave to remain (permission to stay). For applications within the UK intending to extend a visa or switch to this route, the fee is £719 for up to three years’ leave, and £1,423 for more than three years.

The immigration healthcare surcharge is set at £624 for every year that the applicant is granted leave to remain in the UK, which means the total cost for three years would be £1,872 together with the application fee.

How long does it take to process a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa application?

For applications made outside of the UK, once you have submitted your application online, provided evidence of your identity and provided supporting documentation online, the current timescale for a decision is within three weeks. There may be a delay in the decision-making times should the Home Office require further information or supporting documents from you.

Out-of-country visa priority services, which can be used to receive an expedited decision for work visas are currently suspended as the Home Office is prioritising Ukraine Visa Scheme applications. Applicants for work visas may take longer to process.

Can dependants of senior or specialist workers come over to the UK on this visa?

Dependent spouses or partners and children under the age of 18 can make applications under the Senior or Specialist Worker route. However, if an application is made, the dependant will need to satisfy both a relationship and financial requirement.

The financial requirements mean that a spouse or partner of a senior or specialist worker must be able to show funds of at least £285, while child rates are set at £315 for the first, then £200 per additional child. If an employer can certify that they will maintain and accommodate dependants of senior or specialist workers, there will be no financial requirement.

An application for a dependant can be made at the same time as a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa application, or at a later date. Their visa will end on the same date as the period of leave granted to the primary visa holder.

Does the Senior or Specialist Workers route lead to settlement in the UK?..

The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is a temporary work visa. This means that, regardless of how much they earn or whether their UK sponsor would like them to stay in the UK, there is no eligibility to apply for settlement.

None of the five routes under Global Business Mobility provide a path to settlement. To apply for settlement, individuals must switch to a different immigration route, provided they meet the specific criteria for that route.

Contact us

For advice on Senior or Specialist Worker Visas, including which immigration route to take and how to make a successful application, contact Latitude Law today by calling 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and we will call you back.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 20/05/2022