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UK Global Business Mobility Visa: Senior or Specialist worker

Does the replacement of ‘Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer’ with ‘Global Business Mobility Visa – Senior or Specialist worker’ help employers? Does it make the UK more open for business?

The good news is that the changes obey the maxim ‘First, do no harm’. This is achieved by not actually doing anything much, other than changing the name, and removing the slightly anomalous exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge.

When Tier 2 General visas were subject to quotas, and needed 28 days of advertising (The ‘Resident Labour Market Test’), Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers offered huge advantages over Tier 2 General in terms of speed, predictability of outcome, and range of staff that could be sponsored. But the 2021 replacement of Tier 2 General with Skilled Worker visas, that don’t have quotas, and don’t (at the moment) require a ‘Resident Labour Market Test’, begs the question:

Why not use Skilled Worker visas instead of Global Business Mobility Visa – Senior or Specialist worker ?

The main advantage that the Global Business Mobility Visa – Senior or Specialist worker now offers over a Skilled Worker visa is:

· No English Language requirement

If proving English Language is not a problem, then almost everything else points to choosing the Skilled Worker route:

Immigration Skills Charge: Same under Skilled Worker and GBM-SSW

Sponsor licence: Needed for either Skilled Worker or GBM-SSW

Time to get a sponsored employee to the UK: Skilled Worker takes c2days longer than GBM-SSW. (if you already have the needed allocation of CoS for GBM-SSW, if not, Skilled Worker will be faster)

Role Seniority: Skilled Worker requires a minimum of RQF Level 4(School leaver) while

GBM-SSW requires a minimum of RQF Level 6 (Undergraduate degree) level role.

Minimum Pay: Skilled Worker requires £25,600pa (in some cases only £20,480) and ‘the going rate’ for the job (or, in some cases 70-90% of the going rate) GBM-SSW requires min £42,400 pa and ‘the going rate’ for the job.

Prior Employment requirement: None for Skilled Worker, GBM-SSW requires 12 months prior service, unless the worker is being paid a UK package of £73,900+.

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visas were used in their thousands by the big outsourcers (Infosys, TCS, Wipro, etc) and the ‘Big 4’ consultancies (PWC, EY, Deloitte, KPMG). They (and, pre 2008, the ICT Work Permit) were exempt from the 28 day advertising requirement, which almost always made them a faster option. Then, during the coalition & Theresa May years when the policy of ‘reducing net migration’ meant quotas and severe restrictions on Tier 2 (General) visas, the quota-free Tier 2 ICT route acted as a safety valve to let global companies move overseas talent to the UK. The fact that Tier 2 ICT employers also saved the £1,000 per year Immigration Skills Charge (which applied to Tier 2 General, and Skilled Worker visas) was a bonus.

The levelling of the cost playing field, by ‘Global Business Mobility Visa – Senior or Specialist workers’ now paying the Immigration Skills Charge, and the removal of quotas and 28 day advertising from Skilled Worker visas, means that there is seldom any need not to choose GBM-SSW over Skilled Worker.

There are lots of senior and well paid roles which could fit into either Skilled Worker or GBM-SSW. In almost every case, Skilled Worker is a better option, because Skilled Worker visas provide a path to settlement in 5 years (and nationality/passport a year later), and Global Business Mobility visas do not.

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visas used to lead to settlement, until 2010 rule changes: the price of avoiding quotas in Tier 2 ICT was making settlement impossible, thus allowing the coalition government to argue that ICTs ‘did not affect net migration’.

Now that the government is not trying to cut net migration, and has abolished quotas on Skilled Worker visas, it is hard to see why a senior executive posted to the UK (possibly with their family) should be kicked out after 5 years (or after 9 years if paid £73,900+ pa). The 9 year limit, even for the most senior staff, is there to prevent ’10 year long residence’ based settlement eligibility.

Happily, the issue is largely theoretical. Employers/Individuals can opt for a Skilled Worker visa and have that path to settlement in 5 years. If proving English language skills is a problem, an individual can use a Global Business Mobility Visa to get to the UK quickly, and then, while here, take an English language test, and switch to a Skilled Worker visa. Lots of people don’t even need to take a test, and so can take the Skilled Worker route for their initial application. Tests are not needed

· For nationals of English speaking countries: USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Malta, and most of the Caribbean ( Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago)

· For those with a degree (Bachelor’s, Masters, or Doctorate), or degree level qualification, awarded in the UK,

· For those with a degree (Bachelor’s, Masters, or Doctorate), or degree level qualification, proven by ECCTIS confirmation to be UK equivalent, awarded in Ireland, or in an English Speaking country (other than Canada which has some French speaking areas)

· For those with a degree (Bachelor’s, Masters, or Doctorate), or degree level qualification, proven by ECCTIS confirmation to be UK equivalent, that was taught in English (teaching in English to be evidenced by an official letter, transcript, or certificate, from the awarding body)

Whatever your, or your employee’s level of English Language, if you want to move a worker to the UK, or hire from overseas, contact us on 07879 480 755

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