Global business mobility: A game changer for your growth in Northern Ireland
As part of his Autumn Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans for three new visa routes, designed to attract the best and brightest talent to the UK. In this article, we explore the new Global Business Mobility visa route, which opened for business on 11 April 2022. Forward thinking businesses should utilise this global recruitment tool to separate themselves from the pack in the ever-present war for talent.
In spite of Brexit and uncertainty around the Northern Ireland protocol, it is clear that multinationals continue to view establishment in the UK, and Northern Ireland in particular, as an attractive proposition. For those looking to launch or grow their presence in the region, the Global Business Mobility visa routes could play a key role in shaping their growth plans.
Designed to allow overseas businesses to establish a presence in, or transfer existing staff to, the UK for specific business purposes, the Global Business Mobility routes are the result of a face lift of previously existing routes, including the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa route many UK businesses will be familiar with.
|New route||Previous route|
|Senior or specialist worker||ICT|
|Graduate trainee||ICT graduate trainee|
|UK expansion worker||Sole representative of an overseas business|
|Service supplier visa||Tier five international agreement|
Senior or specialist worker
This route is designed for senior manager or specialist employees who are being assigned to the UK branch of their overseas employer for a temporary period. It replaces the Intra-Company Transfer route but many of the criteria for sponsorship remain.
For overseas employees who are taking part in a graduate training course that will lead to a senior management or specialist position with their overseas employer and are required to do a work placement in the UK as part of their course. Holders cannot apply to extend this visa but can apply for a further graduate trainee from outside the UK.
UK expansion worker
For overseas employees who are undertaking a temporary work assignment in the UK in order to facilitate an overseas businesses expansion in the UK. If the business is already trading in the UK, applicants should apply for a senior or specialist worker visa instead. The maximum stay under this visa is two years.
For overseas workers being seconded to the UK to undertake temporary work assignments as part of a high value contract or investment by their overseas employer.
For contractual service suppliers employed by an overseas service provider or self-employed contractors based overseas who are undertaking an assignment in the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK's international trade agreements.
Existing licence holders
Businesses who previously held an ICT or ICT graduate trainee licence do not have to update their status, as they will have been automatically transferred to the equivalent route under the new system (much like old tier two licenses were switched to skilled worker in January 2021). However, licence holders should familiarise themselves with updated guidance and it is an opportune time to self-audit in order to ensure they remain compliant with ongoing reporting obligations.
Like their predecessors, the new routes are designed to be temporary, so visa holders will not be able to use them as a route to settlement - despite a previous recommendation by the Migration Advisory Committee. However, once in the UK, holders may be able to switch into another visa category that does allow for future settlement.
The ALG Corporate Immigration team routinely supports clients in obtaining appropriate sponsorship licenses and recruiting migrant talent into the UK. Please get in touch with a member of the team if you would like to find out more.
Date published: 7 June 2022