Global Business Mobility Routes
The Global Business Mobility visas are beneficial for foreign companies that are setting up operations in the UK or sending over trainees, senior executives, or specialised personnel to the UK to fulfil contracts, regardless of whether the company already has a presence in the UK

The new Immigration Rules for the Global Business Mobility Routes came into force on 11 April 2022 and gives a variety of options for overseas firms moving staff to the UK.

The Global Business Mobility visas are beneficial for foreign companies that are setting up operations in the UK or sending over trainees, senior executives, or specialised personnel to the UK to fulfil contracts, regardless of whether the company already has a presence in the UK.

Although these routes do not lead to settlement, but these offer a fantastic opportunity to accelerate your trade ventures in the UK. Additionally, an option to switch to another suitable category would be available depending on individual circumstances.

The new visa route has been divided into five categories by the Home Office:

A Senior or Specialist worker (replaces Intra-Company Transfers)

The Senior or Specialist Worker pathway is tailored to address specific business needs, replacing the former Intra-Company Transfers.

This route caters to senior managers and specialists designated to UK-based companies by their overseas employers, seeking to work in the UK for a defined duration.

To qualify, applicants must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK

 

If your annual income falls below £73,900, you may be required to demonstrate that you’ve been employed by your current employer outside the UK for a minimum of 12 months. In such cases, you’ll need to furnish evidence of payment received from your employer during this period. Acceptable forms of evidence include:

  • printed payslips,
  • online payslips accompanied by a letter from your sponsor endorsed by a senior staff member,
  • bank or building society statements, or a building society passbook.
  • However, if your annual income exceeds £73,900, there is no minimum duration of employment required.
  • Job Offer from your employer entity in the UK and their valid sponsor licence number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship.
  • Your job is listed under the list of eligible occupations to ensure its eligible under this visa route
  • You must be paid at least £48,500 or the ‘going rate’ for your job – whichever is higher. Check the occupation code for your job in the going rates table.

Expansion Worker Visa

The Expansion Worker route is one of the pathways within the Global Mobility routes. It presents a unique opportunity for foreign companies to establish a presence and grow their business from the UK.

This visa enables the transfer of senior management staff and employees with specialised skills and industry experience to the UK, allowing them to oversee and operate the overseas company’s subsidiary from this location. Businesses sponsoring individuals under this visa category can send up to five workers at the same time.

How to obtain Expansion Worker Visa UK ion Worker Visa

To be eligible for the Expansion Worker route, the foreign company and the candidate they intend to sponsor must satisfy a particular set of criteria established by Home Office.

Overseas business / employer obligations For Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence Application

The Global Business Mobility routes are available to companies of all sizes that have a trading presence outside the UK.

The overseas company must establish a business presence in the UK before sponsoring an applicant under the Expansion Worker route. This involves registering with Companies House and completing other essential requirements to demonstrate a pre-existing trading presence in the country.

Following this, the UK subsidiary of the parent company should proceed to obtain an A-rated Sponsor Licence. This licence will provide them with the authority to hire foreign workers under the UK Expansion Worker programme.

Basically, this is a 4-step process for the overseas company divided under 2 broad categories of what an overseas company needs to do prior to acquisition of sponsor licence and post grant of the sponsor licence once it has made a subsidiary presence in the UK.

 

Establish a presence as a subsidiary in the UK
(register with the Companies House)

Obtain a Sponsor Licence for Expansion Worker route. Ensure that the employment on offer in the UK meets the relevant skill and salary requirements.   for hiring overseas staff members in the UK jurisdiction.

After Obtaining the Sponsorship licence

Obtain a Certificate of Service (CoS) through the UK subsidiary’s Sponsorship Management System  

Apply for Skilled Worker visa under the declared job role as declared in the CoS allocation.

Employer Obligations Before the grant of Sponsor Licence for the UK subsidiary

  1. Demonstrate it is actively trading, typically for at least three years.
  2. The overseas parent company must satisfy the Home Office that it can successfully establish a presence in the UK by submitting a well-researched and credible business plan for its UK subsidiary. This plan should outline the company’s growth strategy and demonstrate its financial capacity to support and accelerate its expansion. The overseas business should be stable or growing in its current foreign location and have undertaken preparatory work for expansion.  Credible evidence of the overseas company’s intention and ability to set up a new UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary of an established foreign business should be a part of the business plan.
  1. To apply for a UK Expansion Worker sponsor licence, the overseas parent company will need a UK footprint, such as a Companies House registration, but should not have started trading in the UK yet.
  2. Prove to the Home Office that there is a qualifying connection between the UK subsidiary (the sponsor) and the overseas parent company that will send workers to you. When applying for the licence, the subsidiary company will need to include information about any linked overseas entities in the application form and the sponsorship management system.
  3. When the sponsor licence is approved under the UK Expansion Worker route, the subsidiary company will receive either an ‘A’ or a ‘Provisional’ rating. Note:
  • A settled worker in the UK can act as the Authorising Officer, the UK Expansion Worker sponsor can be awarded an ‘A-rating’ and up to five CoS.
  • However, under the Rules, there is an option for appointing an overseas Authorising Officer. In this case, the subsidiary will receive only one Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) initially. The Proposed Authorising Officer must be the first sponsored worker, and once in the UK, the sponsor can re-rate to an ‘A-rating’ and request up to five additional CoS.
  • In either scenario, the Authorising Officer must also be the Level 1 User.
    The Authorising Officer must assign the CoS to themselves to apply for UK entry clearance. After entering and establishing UK residency, and the business obtaining an A-rated sponsor licence, the Authorising Officer can appoint others to these roles and request to increase the CoS allocation, capped at
  • UK Expansion Worker sponsor employer (i.e. the subsidiary company in this case) must identify key personnel to manage the sponsor licence. This should ideally be a settled worker in the UK who can be the Authorising Officer.
  • The UK business must have robust HR and record keeping systems set up in advance of making the Sponsor Licence application to fulfil the sponsor licence duties. Compliance is of key importance here and steps should be taken on every occasion to demonstrate the UK business will cooperate with full disclosure about its staff activities throughout its trading presence in the UK.

Employer Obligations After the grant of Sponsor Licence for the UK subsidiary

Once the Sponsor Licence has been granted, the UK Subsidiary must apply for a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to recruit the overseas applicant to their UK branch.

This must be obtained no more than 3 months prior to submitting your Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa application.

The Certificate of Sponsorship must contain specific mandatory information, pertaining to the applicant’s (senior employee’s) as follows:

  • Details of their name, job, and salary.
  • Confirmation that you have worked for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 months* – this requirement has a waiver under any of the 3 conditions.
  • If the applicant / candidate in concern is a high earner with an annual salary of £73,900 or more.
  • If the applicant / candidate is a Japanese national aiming to set up a UK branch or subsidiary of the associated company or organisation under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
  • If the applicant / candidate is an Australian national or permanent resident looking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary of the sponsor group under the Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Australia, once the agreement is in force or provisionally applied.
  • A start date which is no more than 3 months after the date of your Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa application.
  • Confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application which was either granted or refused and has not been withdrawn by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office.
  • That the sponsorship is for a genuine The Home Office will refuse the Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa application if there are valid reasons to suspect that the sponsored job is non-existent, fraudulent, or primarily created to facilitate your visa application.

 

The Home Office must be convinced that the UK business have not made an arrangement to fill a temporary or permanent role with a third party who is not your sponsor, or to perform contract work that involves carrying out a continuous routine role or providing an ongoing routine service to a third party other than your sponsor.

 

  1. The sponsored job must be an eligible job at or above a minimum skill level. i.e.; the job must be skilled to at least RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent).  Although there is no requirement for the applicant to hold a degree, but the role must be equivalent to a graduate level role.
  2. Close guidance must be taken from the Home Office’s list of jobs that are eligible for a Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa.  This list includes the relevant occupation code, job type and related job titles that would qualify an applicant under the Expansion worker route. This should be read simultaneously with the Home Office’s eligible jobs in Appendix Skilled Occupations. Each eligible job under this list has a SOC 2020 occupation code.  The applicant must be sponsored for a job in an eligible SOC 2020 occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations.
  3. The Applicant must satisfy the job skill level requirement if the role they are being sponsored for is on the list. The UK sponsor subsidiary must ensure that a correct occupation code is chosen simultaneously.
  4. The Sponsor subsidiary (i.e. sponsor employer in the UK) must pay the applicant (i.e. their employee under the Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa route) their skilled worker a salary at a rate that either meets or exceeds both a ‘general salary’ threshold and the ‘going rate‘ for the specific occupation, as outlined in the relevant occupation code mentioned previously.
  5. Reference must be taken from the Home Office’s  list of going rates for eligible Global Business Mobility occupation codes. The going rates for jobs that are eligible for a Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa are also set in Appendix Skilled Occupations
  6. Employers who hold a valid Home Office authorisation to sponsor workers under the UK Expansion Worker route are exempted from paying the Immigration Skills Charge.
  7. For the purposes of the Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa route, the general salary requirement is set at £48,500 per year. In most cases, an applicant for this visa must receive a salary that is equal to or higher than both £48,500 per annum and 100% of the pro-rated going rate for the occupation, as specified in the SOC 2020 occupation code. The applicant’s salary must meet whichever threshold is higher between the general salary requirement and the occupation-specific going rate.
  8. Evaluation of the salary for the UK Expansion Worker Visa route for the applicant in line with the guaranteed basic gross pay for up to 48 hours per week. This also includes allowances that are guaranteed to be paid throughout the employment period in the UK, such as London weighting. Additionally, salary assessment considers allowances paid as a mobility premium or to cover the extra costs associated with living in the UK.
  9. If the working pattern for the sponsored applicant is dictated by variation in weekly hours and uneven pay, any work beyond 48 hours in certain weeks can count towards the £48,500 salary threshold. This is permissible if the average over a regular cycle (up to 17 weeks) does not exceed 48 hours per week. When assessing whether the salary thresholds are met, any unpaid rest weeks will be factored into the average.

Mandatory requirements UK Expansion Worker route

The overseas employee will be subject to the following mandatory requirements when on-boarding the subsidiary company: 

  • They must be 18 years or over in age
  • The sponsored applicant must be already actively employed in the capacity of senior management position with the overseas business ahead of the CoS application made.
  • The applicant must have been employed by the company or organisation for a total of at least 12 months before submitting their application. This employment can be in the capacity of an employee, self-employed contractor, or any other arrangement.
  • The applicant should possess the required educational qualifications, skills, and experience to effectively fulfil the duties associated with the position they are assigned under the Skilled Worker visa for the Expansion Worker route.
  • They have a have a validCertificate of Sponsorship issued by the UK sponsor subsidiary for the job they are going to undertake.
  • Satisfy that the job offer is genuine at an appropriate skill level; and they will be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold of £48,500 per year and the ‘going rate’ for the applicable SOC 2020 occupation code.
  • They meet the maintenance funds The applicant must have atleast £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28-day period must be within 31 days of the date you apply.

 

Depending on their domiciled country, they have provided a valid TB certificate

Restrictions for Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker Visa Holders

  • No recourse to public funds.
  • UK Expansion Worker Visa does not lead directly to settlement in the UK. The sponsored worker could extend the visa multiple times until it qualifies him for 10 year long residence route and thereafter settlement. In the alternative, they can switch to viable options like skilled worker route or Innovator Founder route that would qualify them for settlement in 5 years.

How Can We Help?

  • At MAK25 London, we offer a comprehensive range of services to support your subsidiary company’s Sponsor Licence and the switch and settlement of employees under the Expansion Worker route, from start to finish and beyond.

    Our services include:

    • Assistance with the setup of your company, including registration formalities.
    • Support in developing a robust business plan.
    • Guidance through the Sponsor Licence application process
    • Help with applying for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) and visas under the Expansion Worker route.
    • Preparation and support for your subsidiary through mock audits
    • Ongoing management of your business’s employee mobility needs throughout the entire Sponsor Licence lifecycle.

     

    If you are an overseas business with an ambition to expand your presence on the UK soil, get in touch with us today for a detailed consultation to discuss the option of Expansion worker route for yourself.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your options.

Enquiries welcome aamil@mak25.co.uk or call +44 7823733189 (virtual conferences available for international clients)