On 15 March 2022, the Government laid before Parliament new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 1118 which proposes the most significant changes to the UK’s current points-based immigration system since its inception on 1 January 2021.
Included within the changes are the introduction of 3 new points-based immigration categories; the Global Business Mobility, High Potential Individual and the Scale-up visa routes. There were also minor amendments to existing routes, however, for the purpose of this alert, we take a closer look at the new categories and what it means for sponsors and individuals.
What is the Global Business Mobility visa?
The Global Business Mobility routes will consist of a number of new sponsored categories for businesses that are seeking to either establish a presence in the UK, transfer overseas staff to the UK, or come to the UK for a specific business purpose. There will be five sub-categories to this route – four will replace existing visa categories (mainly rebranding) and the remaining category will create a new provision for secondments.
- Senior or Specialist Worker. This visa category will replace the Intra-Company Transfer route. This category will be appropriate for senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to a UK business which is linked by common ownership to the overseas employing company.
- Graduate Trainee. This visa category will replace the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route. This category will be for workers on a graduate training course which leads to a senior management or specialist position and who are required to undertake a work placement in the UK.
- UK Expansion Worker. This visa category will replace the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business route (however will remain open for Media Representatives and those already on Sole Rep visas extending or applying for ILR). This visa route will be for specialist or senior employees who are being assigned to the UK to assist with the overseas business’s expansion to the UK.
- Service Supplier. This visa category will replace contractual service providers and independent professional persons in the Temporary Worker – International Agreement route. This route will be for overseas workers coming to the UK to provide a service that is in line with a UK trade commitment.
- Secondment Worker. This new route will be for workers who are being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas.
The key elements of the Global Business Mobility visa are that employers will still have to sponsor (please see details about sponsor licences) workers to come to the UK to fulfil specific work purposes. The Global Business Mobility visa follows the points based system and individuals are required to score points ranging from 40 to 60 points depending on the sub-category being applied for.
All five sub-categories are temporary routes (they do not lead to settlement/indefinite leave to remain in the UK). The Global Business Mobility routes come into force from 9:00am on 11 April 2022.
What is the Scale-up visa?
The Scale-up visa will allow individuals that have a sponsored job offer from an authorised UK scale-up company to qualify for a ‘fast-track visa’. To register for this route, a company will need to demonstrate they have an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3-year period in terms of turnover or staffing and have a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the 3-year period. We await further details on exactly what the registration process will entail for companies looking to sponsor under this route.
The job offer must be skilled at RQF Level 6 or equivalent (graduate level) – higher than the current threshold for Skilled Worker applications which is set at RQF Level 3. They must also be paid at least £33,000 per year or the going rate for the particular occupation.
Individuals will initially be granted a visa for a 2-year period – the first six months of which they must work for the sponsor. Individuals may be eligible to extend their visa for a period of up to 3 years. This route does lead to settlement/indefinite leave to remain after a period of 5 years. This visa category will come into force from 22 August 2022.
What is the High Potential Individual visa?
The High Potential Individual route is aimed at graduates from the top-50 Universities across the world who wish to come to the UK to undertake full-time employment or self-employment work or seek employment opportunities.
Individuals must have been awarded within the last 5 years either a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree qualification from one of the top global universities (non-UK) which is published in the Home Office’s ‘Global Universities List’. The list will be compiled on an annual basis and will include the top 50 universities in at least two of the following ranking systems:
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings;
- Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings; or
- The Academic Ranking of World Universities.
Individuals will be granted a 2-year non-extendable visa if relying on a Bachelors or Master’s degree. Those who hold a PhD qualification will be granted a 3-year visa. The English language and financial requirements will need to be met in order to score a total of 70 points required for this route. This category does not lead to settlement/indefinite leave to remain but switching to other categories will be allowed. This route comes into force from 9:00am on 30 May 2022.
To understand more about the individual requirements for each of the new visa categories please contact Sundeep Rathod.
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Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.
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