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Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence Application Guide

The Global Business Mobility (‘GBM’) routes are sponsored immigration routes that allow eligible businesses to sponsor overseas workers to come to the UK to undertake temporary assignments. There are five Global Business Mobility routes as follows: 

In this article we look at the general and specific requirements that businesses need to be aware of when applying for a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence.

General Requirements for a Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence

When considering your application for a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence, the Home Office will need to establish whether your organisation is genuine and has been operating in the UK lawfully. They will consider whether you are honest, dependable, reliable and have not behaved in a way that is not conducive to the public good. They will also need to see that you are able to carry out your sponsor duties.  

To assess your application, the Home Office will look at the documents enclosed with your application to see whether you are eligible. To meet the suitability criteria, they will check your human resource and recruitment systems. They may do this by conducting an announced or unannounced visit. They may also check whether there is any evidence of your key personnel having any unspent criminal conviction for a relevant offence as well as any evidence of previous non-compliance.

Specific requirements for a Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence

Home Office policy guidance sets out the specific requirements which must be met if you are applying for a sponsor licence under the Global Business Mobility routes: 

In addition to the general requirements set out in Part 1: Apply for a licence, to be eligible for a sponsor licence on any of the GBM routes, you must be able to satisfy us that you can offer employment which: 

  • meets the skill-level requirement for the relevant route
  • where relevant, meets the salary requirements of the route
  • is genuine 
  • where relevant, meets the rules on third-party working
  • have a qualifying overseas business link
  • if applying on the UK Expansion Worker route, meet the additional requirements for that route’

For an Expansion Worker sponsor licence, additional requirements are:

  • You have a UK ‘footprint’; 
  • You have an overseas trading presence;
  • Your expansion plan is credible and you will establish a UK presence within two years;

What Documents Are Required for a Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence Application?

To support your application for a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence, you will need to provide relevant documents in Appendix A. In most applications, you must provide at least four documents. There are mandatory documents for specific routes. We discussed Appendix A Tables in our blog, Employer’s Guide to Appendix A Sponsor Licence Documents.  

Table 3 of Appendix A sets out the mandatory documents for the Global Business Mobility routes. For the Service Supplier route, you must have a service contract for a period of 12 months or less with an overseas provider. The contract must be awarded through open tendering  or another procedure showing that it is a genuine contract under an eligible trade agreement. 

If you are applying for a sponsor licence under the Senior or Specialist Worker route, you must show the link between your organisation and the overseas company by common ownership or control, or through a joint venture agreement. 

Similar to the Senior or Specialist Worker route, the Graduate Trainee route must also demonstrate evidence of linked common ownership or control. Additional criteria is to show evidence of a graduate training programme. 

The Secondment Worker route requires the sponsor to have a contract with an overseas company for goods or investment worth at least £10 million a year, and no less than £50 million in total. 

Key Personnel and Sponsor Duties

To obtain a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence, the business must nominate persons to undertake the key personnel roles of the Authorising Officer, Key Contact and Level 1 User. We have discussed each of these roles in our article, Key Personnel in Sponsor Licence Applications. For a UK Expansion Worker licence, the Authoring Officer role may be undertaken by either a worker who is already based in the UK and will be overseeing the expansion to the UK or a senior employee of the overseas business who is coming to the UK to oversee the expansion, if no suitable person is available in the UK.

Sponsor licence holders have a number of duties and responsibilities when their sponsor licence is granted. We discussed the recent changes to the sponsor duties here.

As a Global Business Mobility licensed sponsor, your duties will include: 

  • Reporting duties – reporting certain information within time limits; 
  • Record-keeping duties – certain documents must be kept for each worker you sponsor;
  • Complying with immigration laws – this can include not assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship where the role is not a genuine vacancy;
  • Complying with wider UK law – this can be UK employment law;
  • Not engaging in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good – all sponsors have a responsibility to behave in a manner that is consistent with fundamental values and not detrimental to the wider public good;

Failure to understand and comply can put your sponsor licence at risk of being suspended, downgraded or revoked.  We discussed this issue in our blogpost, Sponsor Licence Suspended – What To Do Now and the next steps here

How to Apply for a Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence

In order to apply for a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence you will need to complete an online application form and pay a fee. The amount you must pay will depend on the route you select. Once you have submitted the Global Business Mobility sponsor licence application form, you must send the required documents to the Home Office within five working days. Sponsor licence application can take up to eight weeks to be processed. There is a priority service for a fee of £500 where a decision is usually made within 10 working days. 

A Global Business Mobility sponsor licence is valid for 4 years. For the Expansion Worker route, the sponsor licence will not be eligible for renewal after 4 years. 

It is also possible to add further routes to your sponsor licence such as Skilled Worker and Scale-up

Contact Our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to a Sponsor Licence application, contact our business immigration lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.


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