Global Business Mobility: Changes to Business Routes into the UK

From 11 April 2022 there are five new routes for those who wish to work in the UK. The collective name is the Global Business Mobility routes. Some replace existing routes and they are:






None of these routes leads to permanent settlement in the UK so they are ‘temporary’ routes into the UK, but it is possible to switch to more permanent routes once here.

It is possible to bring dependants on all these Global Business Mobility Routes. Global Business Mobility jobs must be on the government’s list of eligible skilled occupations. For most of the routes, the job must attract a salary above the level set by government for that role. There are no English Language requirements for Global Business Mobility roles.

As usual with UK immigration law, the devil is in the detail and there are plenty of details to consider on these routes. This is a brief overview.

Senior or Specialist Worker

This Global Business Mobility route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route. It is for overseas workers who are carrying out a temporary work assignment in the UK for a UK business linked to their employer overseas. The worker must be a senior manager or a specialist employee. The UK business must have a sponsorship licence to enable it to employ this worker in addition to paying a salary of at least £42,400. The Senior or Specialist Worker route is very similar to the ICT route.

Graduate Trainee

The Graduate Trainee route is for overseas workers who are on a structured graduate trainee scheme and must complete a work placement in the UK. The trainee scheme must lead to a senior management or specialist position. The overseas employer must be linked to the UK business, which must have a sponsorship licence. There is a minimum salary requirement. This Global Business Mobility route replaces the ICT Graduate Trainee route.

Expansion Worker

This category represents the biggest change in business routes. This Global Business Mobility route replaces the Representative of an Overseas Business visa known also as the Sole Representative route. It is considerably more complex than the old route but the media representative part of the old route remains the same.

An Expansion Worker is someone assigned temporarily to expand the operations of an overseas company into the UK. The worker must be a senior manager or specialist employee on a salary of at least £42,400 and carrying out a role on the eligible occupation list. There can be a team of expansion workers which is a change from the old 'sole representative' visa.

An Expansion Worker can only enter the UK if the UK business has not yet started trading here. The business must however have a ‘footprint’ in the UK such as premises or registration as a company at Companies House.
The complication comes because the UK business must obtain a provisional sponsorship licence in order to employ the Expansion Worker. Once the worker has arrived in the UK, the UK business can upgrade to a full sponsorship licence and the company employs the Expansion Worker. The business must have an expansion plan and the overseas parent company must be well established.

An Expansion Worker can only stay in the UK for 12 months and can only remain on this route for two years. They must then switch to Skilled Worker if they need to stay in the UK. This Global Business Mobility route may have limited appeal to overseas companies wishing to expand into the UK. Senior managers with families may not find the temporary nature of the route very attractive.

Service Supplier

This Global Business Mobility Route replaces in part the Temporary Work - International Agreement visa.
A Service Supplier must be providing services covered by one of the UK’s international trade agreements. They can be a self-employed independent professional based overseas or a contractual service supplier employed by an overseas service provider.

The sponsor in the UK must have a contract with the overseas service provider and must register the contract with the Home Office. The Service Supplier must have worked for the overseas service provider for over 12 months.

Secondment Worker

This is new but no one is certain that anyone will actually use this particular Global Business Mobility route.
An overseas employer will second a Secondment Worker to a UK business as part of a ‘high value contract or investment’. High value appears to mean over £50m. The UK business must hold a sponsorship licence and must be linked to the overseas business.

So a whole new set of rules and regulations for businesses wishing to assign workers to the UK from abroad or set up a branch in the UK. If you need more information or just a chat about the options, contact us.

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