Skip to content

Global Mobility

Global Mobility overview

What is the Global Business Mobility route?

There are 5 Global Business Mobility visas under this route. These are: Senior or Specialist Worker, Graduate Trainee, UK Expansion Worker, Service Supplier and Secondment Worker.

Who is the Global Business Mobility route aimed at?

It is aimed at workers based outside the UK who are undertaking a temporary work assignment for a business in the UK.

Senior or Specialist Worker

What is the Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is for overseas workers who are a senior manager or specialist employee and is coming to a UK business linked to their overseas employer on a temporary basis.

How is the Senior or Specialist Worker visa different from the Intra-Company Transfer visa?

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is not significantly different from its predecessor, the Intra Company Transfer visa.

The eligibility criteria remain largely the same however the minimum salary has increased from £41,500 per year to £42,400 per year.

The ICT visa’s graduate trainee route is now a separate standalone visa type.

Can I bring my family to the UK with me?

Yes, you can bring certain family members known as “dependants” with you. These are your:

  • spouse or partner
  • children under the age of 18
  • children over 18 who are already in the UK as your dependant.

If you are already in the UK with your dependants and you switch to the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, they will be able to remain with you. Whether or not they need to apply for new visas will depend on the circumstances and it is recommended that you contact us to discuss this further.

How long can I have a Senior or Specialist Worker visa for?

The maximum total stay in the UK is:

  • if you earn more than £73,900 per year, you can hold this visa for 9 years in any 10 year period; and
  • if you earn less than £73,900 per year, you can hold this visa for 5 years in any 6 year period.

This includes time spent in the UK on a previous Global Business Mobility visa or Intra-Company Transfer visa.

Can I settle/obtain ILR in the UK with a Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

No, the Senior or Specialist Worker is a temporary visa which does not lead to settlement in the UK.

Do I have to be sponsored by a UK company for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

Yes, you need a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK company to be able to apply for this visa. The UK company should be a group company of your current employer overseas.

How long do I have to have worked for my employer for to be transferred to the UK under a Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

For the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you need to have worked for your overseas employer for at least 12 months. This 12 month requirement can be avoided if the role that you will take in the UK pays a salary of £73,900 pa or more.

What is the minimum salary I have to earn for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

For the Senior or Specialist Worker visa the minimum salary is £42,400pa.

Does my job need to meet a minimum skill level for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

Yes. The role that you will be sponsored to do must be at RQF Level 3 or above (equivalent to A Level).

Do I need to provide evidence of maintenance funds?

Yes. You must be able to provide bank statements showing that you have had at least £1,270 in your bank account for the 28 days immediately before the visa application is submitted. This requirement can be avoided if your sponsor agrees to ‘certify your maintenance’ on the Certificate of Sponsorship.

Do I need to prove my English language ability?

No, the Senior or Specialist Worker visa does not require you to evidence your English language ability as part of the application process.

How do I apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

You will be required to complete an online application form, upload copies of your supporting documents and then book and attend an in-person appointment to give your biometric details (fingerprints and photograph).

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

The fee for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa depends on where you are applying from and the duration of your visa:

 Visa for up to 3 yearsVisa for more than 3 years
Switching inside the UK
£719£1,423
Applying from outside the UK
£625£1,235

You will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for the duration of your visa and may have to pay a fee of £19.20 to enrol your biometric information.

If you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia, the fee payable will be slightly lower. Please contact us for further information.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

This is currently £624 per person, per year of your visa and it is an upfront cost.

What supporting documents do I need to provide with my application?

The supporting documents are specific to each applicant but generally the following documents are likely to apply:

RequirementLikely documentation
IDPassport and current BRP (if you have one)
Evidence of employmentPayslips and bank statements
Maintenance funds
Bank statements showing at least £1,270 held for the 28 days before the application unless the sponsor certifies maintenance
Criminal record certificate (for some roles only)
Criminal record certificate from any country (excluding the UK) you have lived in cumulatively or continuously for 12 months or more in the last 10 years whilst aged 18 or over
TB test
Clear TB test if you are from a country requiring a TB test
Do I need to provide translations of my supporting documents for my visa application?

Yes if any of the documents are not in English or Welsh. There are specific guidelines set by UKVI for the provision of translated documents, please contact us to discuss these.

Can I switch from a Senior or Specialist Worker visa to a Skilled Worker visa?

Yes, which also means that you will subsequently be able to apply for ILR after holding the Skilled Worker visa for 5 years.

To discuss your options for switching visa types, please contact us.

How long will it take for my application to be considered?

If you are applying from outside the UK, your application should be dealt with within 3 weeks.

If you are applying from inside the UK, your application should be dealt with within 8 weeks.

You can, in certain circumstances, pay an additional fee to use a priority or premium service for a faster decision.

Services and pricing

We provide a range of services to Senior or Specialist Worker visa applicants including assistance with their initial application and switching to this visa category. This includes:

  • initial correspondence with you regarding eligibility
  • review of and advice to you on the draft completed application form
  • advice to you on the application process and queries
  • advice on which supporting documents to provide with the application
  • assist with questions about the process or correspondence from the Home Office.

Fee estimate*: £1,250 – £2,500

*:  Our fees are calculated based on the number of hours it will take us to carry out this work. The exact number of hours it will take depends on the circumstances in your case, such as:

  • the volume of supporting documents and evidence that we need to consider
  • the quality of the draft supporting documents provided by you, the amount of time required to amend these and the number of amended drafts required
  • whether face to face meetings or video calls with you are required and the volume of calls and queries from you
  • the urgency of your application
  • whether you have an adverse immigration or criminal history
  • the need to obtain documentation from or liaise with third parties such as accountants or translation companies
  • whether you are applying alone or with dependants
  • whether you require advice on your current immigration status.

Fees are excluding VAT at the rate of 20%. VAT may or may not be payable on the above fee estimate as this is dependent on the country in which you reside and you will be advised of this before work on your application commences. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as visa fees payable to the Home Office and document translation fees. These are not included in the above estimates.

Full details can be found in our comprehensive pricing document, which can be found here, or please contact one of our immigration specialists.

Graduate Trainee

What is the Graduate Trainee visa?

The Global Business Mobility Graduate Trainee visa is for overseas workers who have been accepted onto a graduate training course/placement in the UK which leads to a senior management or specialist position.

What are the key eligibility criteria for the Graduate Trainee visa?

To qualify you must:

  • be an existing employee of an organisation that’s been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor
  • have worked for your sponsor outside the UK for at least 3 months immediately before you apply
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the work you will do in the UK and
  • undertake a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations and be paid at least £23,100 per year
How long can I stay in the UK with this visa?

You can stay in the UK with a Graduate Trainee Visa for whichever is shorter of:

  • the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days and
  • 12 months

UK Expansion Worker

What is the UK Expansion Worker visa?

The UK Expansion Worker visa allows you to come to the UK to set up a branch of an overseas business that has not yet started trading in the UK.

What are the key eligibility criteria for the UK Expansion Worker visa?

To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker Visa you need to:

  • already work for an overseas business as either a senior manager or specialist employee
  • have a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer
  • have worked for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 months unless you earn over £73,900 per year or are a Japanese national doing work for a Japanese company expanding into the UK
  • do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations and
  • be paid the minimum eligible salary required for your job which is a minimum of £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for your job, whichever is higher
What is the difference between the UK Expansion Worker visa and the Sole Representative visa?

The Sole Representative visa route is no longer open to new applicants and was more flexible than the UK Expansion Worker visa.  It also led to settlement in the UK which the UK Expansion Worker visa does not.  In addition, the UK Expansion Worker visa requires sponsorship which the Sole Rep visa didn’t.  However the Sole Rep visa only allowed one individual to come to the UK set up a UK entity whereas the UK Expansion Worker visa allows up to 5 individuals to launch the business in the UK.

How long can I stay in the UK with this visa?

You can stay in the UK with the UK Expansion Worker visa for whichever is shorter of:

  • 12 months after the start date of the job on your certificate of sponsorship and
  • the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days

Service Supplier

What is the Service Supplier visa?

The Service Supplier visa allows individuals who are either a contractual service supplier employed by an overseas service provider or a self-employed independent professional based overseas, to come to the UK temporarily to carry out qualifying contract work.

 

What are the key eligibility criteria for the Service Supplier visa?

To be eligible for a Service Supplier visa, you must:

  • be an employee of an overseas business, or a self-employed service provider based overseas
  • be providing a service to a UK business approved as a sponsor by the Home Office, under a contract that is covered by a valid international trade agreement
  • be doing an eligible job (if your job is not eligible you may still qualify if you have relevant qualifications and experience)
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your UK sponsor with information about the work you’ll be doing in the UK and
  • have worked for your employer for at least 12 months outside the UK, or have at least 12 months’ professional experience if you’re a self-employed service provider
How long can I stay in the UK with this visa?

You can stay for whichever is the shorter of:

  • 6 months or 12 months (depending on the trade agreement you’re providing services under); and
  • The time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days.

If you have spent time in the UK previously on a different visa, this may limit your stay in the UK to a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period.

Secondment Worker

What is the Secondment Worker visa?

This is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where the worker is being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas.

What are the key eligibility criteria for the Secondment Worker visa?

To be eligible for a Secondment Worker visa, you must:

  • be an existing employee of an overseas organisation that has a contract worth at least £50 million with a UK organisation
  • have worked for your overseas employer for at least 12 months outside the UK
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from the UK organisation sponsoring you with information about the work you will do in the UK and
  • do a job in the UK that’s on the list of eligible occupations
How long can I stay in the UK with this visa?

You can stay in the UK with a Secondment Worker visa for whichever is shorter of:

  • 12 months after the start date of the job detailed in your certificate of sponsorship
  • the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days

The visa can be extended by 12 months such that the maximum duration that the visa can be held for is 2 years.

 

 

 

Disclaimer

Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

As a hub, we have included references to articles and explainers from third parties. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

Our immigration team

Flora Mewies

Flora Mewies

Partner | Employment

Leeds and Manchester

Read bio

Roisin Patton

Roisin Patton

Partner | Employment

Newcastle

Read bio

Gillian Burns

Gillian Burns

Associate | Employment

Newcastle

Read bio

Natalie Payne

Natalie Payne

Solicitor | Employment

Leeds and Manchester

Read bio