When overseas businesses set their sights on UK expansion, the UK Global Business Mobility Visas offer a route forward. This visa category enables senior figures from the organisation to live and work in the UK, often to get the ball rolling in establishing a presence in the UK.
This is not a single visa category but a group of five visas that will suit a wide range of business needs. This could include allowing senior staff to take up contract work in UK branches of a business, set up a UK-based office, or transfer existing staff to a UK office.
In this guide, we’ll look at everything you need to know about becoming a UK visa sponsor capable of sponsoring this visa category.
What are the UK Global Business Mobility Visas?
The Global Business Mobility Visas are a set of five visas that can enable companies to move workers to the UK to support their business activities. The five categories of UK Global Business Mobility Visas are:
- Senior or Specialist Worker visa
- Graduate Trainee visa
- Secondment Worker visa
- Service Supplier visa
- UK Expansion Worker visa
Some of these visas have taken the place of the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa. The most important thing to remember about this visa is that you need to be able to demonstrate why you cannot recruit for this role in the UK.
In this case, you would need to demonstrate why you need existing workers to take up these posts, and this is usually because they have prior knowledge of your business operations.
Who can become a UK visa sponsor?
To be eligible to sponsor workers on this visa category, you have to be a legitimate UK company with genuine business interests. This will typically mean you have to be registered as a limited company and pay corporation tax in the UK.
The directors of the company must not have criminal convictions and the company cannot have had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.
The company will also need to demonstrate that they have the resources to monitor and track sponsored employees. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit your business to determine if you are a suitable UK visa sponsor.
If you are able to secure a UK visa sponsor certificate, you may then be eligible to sponsor workers in the Global Business Mobility Visa categories. There are additional requirements for this visa category, including:
- You’ll need to demonstrate that you are offering roles at an appropriate skill level.
- You will also need to meet salary requirements for these roles.
- The role you are hiring for must be genuine.
- If relevant, you need to meet the rules on third-party working.
- You need to show that you meet the National Minimum Wage and Working Time Regulations.
- And finally, you’ll also need to demonstrate that your organisation has a qualifying overseas business link.
How much does it cost to become a UK visa sponsor?
When becoming a UK visa sponsor, you have to determine if you are hiring Workers or Temporary workers. The Senior or Specialist Worker visa would be classed as hiring Workers, while the remaining four categories would be classed as Temporary Workers.
This is important as it will impact the cost of your application. If you won’t be utilising the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, then you can save money on your sponsorship application.
The cost of applying to become a UK visa sponsor will also depend on the size of your organisation. The cost of becoming a UK visa sponsor is as follows:
|Type of licence||Small or charitable sponsors||Medium and large sponsors|
|Worker and Temporary Worker||£536||£1476|
|Add a Worker licence to an existing Temporary Worker licence||No fee||£940|
|Add a Temporary Worker licence to an existing Worker licence||No fee||No fee|
To qualify as a small organisation, you will need to meet two of the following requirements:
- Your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
- Your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less
- You have fewer than 50 employees
To qualify as a charitable organisation, you will need to be registered as a charity in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
What other fees are associated with this visa route?
Your UK visa sponsorship licence will last for four years, unless you are downgraded to a B-rated sponsor, or have your licence revoked. After four years, you will pay the same fee again to renew your licence.
In addition to the visa sponsorship certification fee, you will also need to pay for a certificate of sponsorship for every employee you would like to sponsor. This costs £199 and takes just a few days to process. Once secured, your employee can attach this sponsorship certificate to their application.
You will also need to pay the immigration skills charge. This is a charge based on the duration of the worker’s contract. The majority of these visa routes are only available for up to 12 months, with the exception of the Senior or Specialist Worker visa which can allow a worker to come to the UK for up to 5 years.
How long does the application process take?
If you are keen to get started with your business expansion plans, you may be curious to know how long it will take to become a Global Business Mobility Visa Sponsor.
It will typically take around eight weeks to receive a decision on your visa sponsor certificate. This can take longer if your case is more complex or if UKVI requires more information. After this point, you will need to apply for a certificate of sponsorship that your employee can attach to their visa application. The individual worker’s visa application will then take around three weeks for applications made outside the UK and eight weeks for applications made in the UK. . Checkout Best Immigration Lawyers in London UK
Need help becoming a UK visa sponsor?
If you’re thinking about expanding in the UK and need the support of the Global Business Mobility Visas, we can help. We’re the experts in helping organisations to secure their UK visa sponsor licences