A Guide for UK Employers on the new Global Business Mobility Visa
What your business needs to know to prepare and be ready for the global business mobility visa route
You may think that Spring 2022 is a long way off but when it comes to business planning, immigration and assessing recruitment needs it is not. In this article our Sponsorship Licence lawyers take a look at the new global business mobility visa route and how the new immigration route may help your UK business.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers
A new sponsored immigration route
The new global business mobility visa will be a sponsored visa route. That is a key point that business immigration solicitors are making as UK businesses will only be able to sponsor a global business mobility visa applicant if they hold a sponsor licence. There is plenty of time between now and Spring 2022 to:
- Assess your recruitment needs and look at whether your vacancies are capable of being met within the UK or if they will probably need to be filled through overseas recruitment.
- Apply for a sponsor licence.
- Renew your sponsor licence if it is nearing its expiry date.
- Review your HR and recruitment practices so that you are on top of all sponsor licence management issues and can take full advantage of the global business mobility visa when it is launched.
- Address any sponsor licence issues that have led to your sponsor licence being downgraded or suspended so that you can get your A rating back.
Who is the global business mobility visa aimed at?
The global business mobility visa sounds a bit like the current global talent visa and therefore Sponsorship Licence lawyers have already started to receive questions about whether the global business mobility visa will be limited to ‘exceptional’ individuals or prize winners. That is because the global talent visa is very much seen as exclusive as it can be difficult to prove that an individual visa applicant is a leader in their field or shows exceptional promise.
The early signs are that the global business mobility visa will not be as restricted as the global talent visa and will be aimed at overseas businesses with a UK branch or subsidiary or international firms who want to set up a UK base. The global business mobility visa will enable employers who want to transfer staff to the UK from overseas or international businesses or who want to set up a UK branch of their business and send an overseas worker to the UK to do so, subject to the workers meeting the eligibility criteria.
Will the global business mobility visa replace the intra company transfer visa?
Under the current points-based immigration system the intra company transfer visa is available where an international business wants to transfer a suitable employee who is based overseas to work in the UK. It is understood by Sponsorship Licence lawyers that the intra company transfer visa will sit within the global business mobility route.
Will the global business mobility visa replace the sole representative visa?
The government press releases on the global business mobility visa refer to international businesses using the global business mobility visa to set up shop in the UK in much the same way as is currently possible under the sole representative visa. It is understood that the sole representative route will be grouped within the global business mobility visa route.
When the new global business mobility visa comes into force it is hoped that the government will follow a recommendation that the sole representative visa is no longer limited to one overseas based employee being able to come to the UK on the sole representative visa to set up a branch of the overseas parent company in the UK . It is suggested that a team of overseas based employees be granted entry clearance with one member of the team meeting the sole representative visa eligibility criteria and up to four other employees being able to join them provided they meet the skilled worker visa eligibility criteria.
Whilst a team approach to setting up a business in the UK is welcomed by many business immigration solicitors there is a recommendation that the length of the sole representative visa is reduced from three years to two. However, the sole representative could then apply for a skilled worker visa assuming that they have successfully set up the branch or subsidiary of their overseas parent company and the company has a Home Office issued sponsor licence and the sole representative meets the eligibility criteria for the skilled worker visa.
Will the intra company transfer visa under the global business mobility visa route become more popular than the skilled worker visa?
International businesses with a UK base often struggle with the option of sponsoring employees under an intra company transfer visa or skilled worker visa but the two schemes are very different and will remain so. The intra company transfer visa is for existing employers of an international company who want to transfer their employee to the UK to work. The skilled worker visa is for a new employee to move to live in the UK to work for either a UK company or an international company with a UK base. Under either visa route the employee will need their employer to hold a sponsorship licence.
Sponsorship Licence lawyers say that when it comes to the differences between the intra company transfer visa and the skilled worker visa two of the most obvious ones are:
- With the intra company transfer visa a visa applicant does not need to meet the English language requirement.
- The intra company transfer visa does not currently lead to direct settlement in the UK whereas with the skilled worker visa if a visa applicant has been lawfully and continuously resident in the UK for five years and they meet the other general eligibility criteria they can apply to settle in the UK through an indefinite leave to remain application. However, in an appropriate case, an intra company transfer visa holder can apply to switch to a skilled worker visa and they can then apply for indefinite leave to remain once they meet the residence requirement. When the global business mobility visa route is brought in the intra company transfer visa immigration rules may be changed to allow for direct settlement on an intra company transfer visa making it a more attractive option for employees.
Sending workers to the UK on assignment
Business immigration solicitors say that under the planned global business mobility visa route it is anticipated that sending a worker to the UK on assignment will be made easier. At present the two options are:
- Intra company transfer visa – the employee has to meet the skill criteria and minimum salary threshold.
- Visitor visa – the work the employee is going to do in the UK can only fall within very limited permissible business activities. The visitor visa only lasts for up to six months.
It is understood that the new immigration rules will make it easier for international employers to transfer staff to the UK for assignments or to familiarise themselves with new business procedures that have been trialled in the UK. Employers are welcoming this plan as it is often the case that a branch of a business in one country will take the lead on a new product development or innovation in business practice but the international company will then need to ‘spread the word’ throughout the company branches through the training of overseas based employees . When the company change takes place in the UK, it makes it so much easier if training and familiarisation for key staff can take place in person in the UK rather than through zoom meetings.
To keep abreast of changes and developments in UK business immigration law join us in one of our online webinarson the latest immigration and employment law developments.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsor Licence Lawyers