What are UK Global Business Mobility Visas?
UK Global Business Mobility visas are a set of sponsored employment visas that were introduced in April 2022. This visa category consists of five separate visas tailored for international businesses looking to fill specific roles in the United Kingdom. These visas allow companies to:
- Bring in specialist and skilled workers
- Second employees, graduate trainees, or service providers to the UK
- Establishing new branches of overseas businesses within the UK
The scheme is designed to meet the needs of multinational firms working within the UK or looking to expand into the UK. The scheme complements the Skilled Worker Visa, the primary mechanism for bringing foreign nationals to the UK to undertake roles that can’t be filled locally.
Throughout this guide, we’ll examine each of the Global Business Mobility visas, where they’re applicable, the benefits, and the costs of each visa.
A Senior or Specialist Worker visa enables you to enter or remain in the UK to perform a qualified job within your employer’s UK division. This visa has taken the place of the former Intra-company Transfer visa, which was previously known as the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term Staff visa.
To meet the requirements for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you need to:
- Be a current employee of an organisation that has obtained approval from the Home Office as a sponsor.
- Possess a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ issued by your employer, containing details about the work you will undertake in the UK.
- Engage in a job that is included in the list of eligible occupations.
- Receive a minimum annual salary of at least £45,800.
With a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you can stay in the UK for up to 5 years, although your initial visa may have a shorter duration. You can apply for visa extensions or new visas as many times as needed as long as you do not exceed the maximum allowable total stay.
The permissible total duration for a Senior and Specialist Worker visa is as follows:
- 5 years within any 6-year timeframe if your annual salary is below £73,900.
- 9 years within any 10-year timeframe if your annual salary is £73,900 or higher.
The Secondment Worker visa is for applicants being relocated from their foreign employer to work in the UK for a different company in a qualified role. Your overseas employer must hold a substantial contract worth at least £50 million with the UK organisation.
To meet the requirements for a Secondment Worker visa, you need to:
- Be a current employee of an international organisation with a high-value contract with your UK sponsor, which holds a sponsor licence with the Home Office.
- Have a minimum of 12 months of employment with your overseas employer outside the UK.
- Possess a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ provided by your sponsor, containing details about the work you will undertake in the UK.
- Engage in a job in the UK that is included in the list of eligible occupations.
With a Secondment Worker visa, you can stay in the UK for up to 12 months, although the actual period will be specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship. Should you want to extend your stay in the UK, you can renew your visa for an additional 12 months. The maximum permissible duration on a Secondment Worker visa in the UK is 2 years.
The visa cost is £298, and you’ll also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge if the visa is for 6 months or longer.
The UK Expansion Worker visa enables you to enter the UK to establish a branch for an international business that has not yet initiated operations in the UK. You must already hold a position as either a senior manager or a specialist employee within the overseas business.
To qualify for a UK Expansion Worker visa, you are required to:
- Possess a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer.
- Have a history of employment with your employer outside the UK.
- Engage in a role that is included in the list of eligible occupations.
- Receive a salary that meets the minimum eligibility criteria for your particular job.
It’s important to note that the specific eligibility criteria may also vary based on the nature of your job.
Under a UK Expansion Worker visa, you can stay in the UK for up to an initial 12 months. If you need to extend your stay in the UK, you can apply for a visa extension for an additional 12 months. However, the maximum allowable duration for a UK Expansion Worker visa in the UK is 2 years. After this time, you must consider other visa options, such as a Skilled Worker visa, or you’ll need to leave the UK.
The application fee for a UK Expansion Worker visa is £259, and the Immigration Health Surcharge will also be payable if the visa is over 6 months long.
The Graduate Trainee visa permits you to enter the UK while working for your employer at their UK location. Your employment must be in an eligible role, and part of a graduate training program focused on managerial or specialist positions. This visa has replaced the former Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa, previously known as the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Graduate Trainee visa.
To meet the eligibility criteria for a Graduate Trainee visa, you are required to:
- Be a current employee of an organization that has received approval from the Home Office as a sponsor.
- Have a minimum of 3 months of employment with your sponsor outside the UK immediately before submitting your application.
- Possess a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer containing information about the work you will undertake in the UK.
- Engage in a job that is listed among the eligible occupations.
- Receive an annual salary of at least £24,220.
Under a Graduate Trainee visa, your stay in the UK is up to a maximum of 12 months. Visa extensions for the Graduate Trainee visa are not permitted, but you do have the option to apply for another Graduate Trainee visa from outside the UK. You should also note that you cannot apply to switch to a Graduate Trainee visa from within the UK, so both the initial and any subsequent applications must be made from overseas.
The application fee for a Graduate Trainee visa is £298, and the Immigration Health Surcharge will also be payable for visas for 6 months or greater. We have a more comprehensive guide on the Graduate Trainee visa, which details the complete requirements in greater detail.
The Service Supplier visa is relevant to a small niche number of applicants. To be eligible, you must hold a contract to deliver services to a UK company, either as:
- An employee representing an overseas company.
- A self-employed professional located overseas.
To meet the requirements for a Service Supplier visa, you need to:
- Be an employee of an overseas business or a self-employed service provider based overseas.
- Be engaged in providing a service to a UK business through a contract under a valid international trade agreement.
- Occupy a role that qualifies as eligible. In cases where your job does not initially meet the criteria, you may still qualify if you possess relevant qualifications and experience.
- Possess a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your UK sponsor containing details about the work you will be undertaking in the UK.
- Have a minimum of 12 months of employment outside the UK if you are an employee, or hold at least 12 months of professional experience if you are a self-employed service provider.
The specific eligibility criteria may vary depending on the nature of your job.
The duration of your stay in the UK will be determined by the specific trade agreement under which you provide services. The maximum allowable duration for a Service Supplier visa ranges from 6 to 12 months, depending on the type of trade agreement governing the services you are providing.
The application fee for a Service Supplier visa is £298, and the Immigration Health Surcharge may also be payable depending on the duration of your visa.
Maximum Time on Global Business Mobility Visas
There are limitations on how much cumulative time you can stay in the UK across the various Global Business Mobility visas. While there are some special provisions for well-paid Senior or Specialist Worker visa holders, as a general rule, your stay in the UK is limited to a maximum stay of 5 years within a 6-year period. This applies to time spent on any of these visas:
- Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
- Intra-company Transfer visa
- Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)
- UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
Maintenance Requirement for Global Business Mobility Visas
For each of the Global Business Mobility visas, you’ll need to satisfy the maintenance requirement. To demonstrate your financial capability upon your arrival in the UK, you must maintain a minimum balance of £1,270 in your bank account. This sum should have been consistently available for at least 28 consecutive days, with the end of these 28 days falling within 31 days of your application date.
You will need to provide evidence when submitting your application unless you can satisfy one of the following criteria:
- You have already been in the UK on a valid visa for 12 months or more before the date of application.
- Your sponsor is willing and able to cover your expenses during your initial month in the UK, up to a total of £1,270.
In addition to the funds required to support yourself, any partner or dependant children accompanying you are expected to demonstrate their financial self-sufficiency. So, in addition to the £1,270 needed for the main applicant, you must also show you have the following funds:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
Further information is available on each of the visa-specific pages.