Senior or Specialist Worker Visa (GBM) FAQs
The Global Business Mobility routes allow workers of overseas businesses to send workers to the UK to undertake work on a temporary basis. There are 5 global business mobility routes:
- Senior or Specialist Worker;
- UK Expansion Worker;
- Graduate Trainee;
- Service Supplier;
- Secondment Worker;
The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is for senior managers and specialist employees who wish to undertake a temporary work assignment in the UK. The overseas worker must be assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas (also known as an intra-company transfer). In this post, we provide answers to some of the questions that are most frequently asked by applicants considering applying for a Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.
In other posts we have compared the Global Business Mobility routes with other immigration routes: High Growth Business Visas: Expansion v Scale-Up and The UK Expansion Worker & Skilled Worker Routes Compared.
What Are the Requirements for a Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa ?
General requirements for a GBM Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
To be eligible for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa on the Global Business Mobility route, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are aged 18 or over;
- The job you will be doing must be genuine;
- The job you will be doing must be at the appropriate skill level;
- You have a valid certificate of sponsorship assigned by a sponsor who holds a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence;
- You are currently working for the overseas business;
- You must be able to support yourself financially;
- You may be required to provide a Tuberculosis certificate;
Eligibility requirements for a GBM Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
You may be eligible for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa if your role is a senior manager or specialist employee and you are currently working for a business abroad that is linked to the UK sponsor by common ownership or control, or by a joint venture on which you are sponsored to work and you have been working outside the UK for the overseas business for a cumulative period of at least 12 months.
Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Skill level Requirement
Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Genuine Job Requirement
In order to qualify for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, the job that you are being sponsored to do must be a genuine vacancy.
Home Office guidance sets out information regarding third party work:
Where a Senior or Specialist Worker or Graduate Trainee is being supplied to a third-party organisation, their sponsor must retain full responsibility for the duties, functions and outcomes, or outputs of the job.
If there are any concerns, the Home Office may carry out a compliance visit to the sponsor. This can be done on an announced or unannounced basis.
UK Sponsor Requirement for a GBM Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
The sponsor must hold an A-rated sponsor licence and be listed on the Home Office’s register of sponsors (unless the applicant was last granted permission as a Senior or Specialist Worker and is applying to continue to work for the same Sponsor).
Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Salary requirement
An applicant who is applying for a Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa must have an annual salary that is equal to or exceeds the general salary requirement of £45,800 per year (unless transitional measures apply) and the going rate for that job in one of the eligible occupation codes in Appendix Skilled Occupations.
Can I Meet the Overseas Work Requirement if I Have Been Working for the Organisation Abroad for Less Than 12 Months?
If you are applying for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa as a high earner with a salary of at least £73,900, you do not need to have worked outside the UK for 12 months. However, you must be currently working for the overseas business that is linked to the UK sponsor by common ownership or control, or by a joint venture on which you are sponsored to work.
How Long Can I Stay in the UK on a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa?
If your entry clearance application for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is approved, you will be granted permission for a period of five years after the start date of the job stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or 14 days after the end date of the job on the CoS, whichever is shorter.
The maximum period of stay under the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa route is 5 years in any 6 year period if you are paid less than £73,900 per year. If you are paid more than £73,900 a year, the maximum time you can stay in the UK is 9 years in any 10 year period.
Can I Switch Into a Senior or Specialist Worker Global Business Mobility Visa From Another Immigration Route?
The answer for most applicants will be yes. However, if you are in the UK or were last granted with any of the following permission, you will not be allowed to switch into the Senior or Specialist Worker Global Business Mobility route:
- as a Visitor; or
- as a Short-term Student; or
- as a Parent of a Child Student; or
- as a Seasonal Worker; or
- as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or
- outside the Immigration Rules.
Can Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Holders Bring Family Members to the UK?
A partner and any children under the age of 18 of a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa holder can apply to join the main applicant and will need to meet the relevant requirements. The dependent partner will need to meet the relationship requirements, such as demonstrating that the relationship is genuine and subsisting. For the dependent child, the child must be aged under 18 on the date of application and also show that care and accommodation in the UK are suitable.
Does the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Lead To Settlement in the UK?
The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa sub-route of the Global Business Mobility routes does not lead to settlement. However, it is possible for Senior or Specialist Worker Visa holders to switch into other immigration routes that do lead to settlement, such as the Skilled Worker visa route and the Scale-up visa route. Both routes lead to settlement and a dependent partner and dependent children can also join the main applicant in the UK. We have provided an overview of these visas in our earlier post here.
Does My Sponsor Need a Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence?
Yes. We set out the general and specific requirements when applying for a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence in our post, Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence Application Guide. Your sponsor will have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge when assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship, unless an exemption applies.
Information regarding the documents required for a successful sponsor licence application can be found in our earliest post here.
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance in relation to a Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa application, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.