On 11 April 2022, the new Global Business Mobility (GBM) routes went live and aim to provide new solutions for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in, or moving staff to, the UK. In this post, we look at The new Global Mobility Routes are now live – what has changed?
What are the changes?
Common to all the GBM routes is that all require sponsorship via a licensed UK employer and none will lead to settlement. Within the new GBM routes, there are five sub-categories:
Senior or Specialist Worker: This route will replace the existing Intra-Company Transfer route and is for senior managers and specialist employees being temporarily transferred to a UK business linked to their employer. Save for a couple of tweaks, including to the salary threshold (an increase to £42,400), it’s only the name of the route that’s changed.
Graduate Trainee: This route will replace the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route and is applicable to workers who are required to transfer to the UK to undertake graduate training courses leading to either senior management or specialist positions within international businesses. Again, apart from an increase to the salary threshold (£23,100), there are no changes.
UK Expansion Worker: This route replaces and expands the Representative of an Overseas Business route and is aimed at overseas senior managers or specialist employees that are assigned to undertake business presence expansion work in the UK. This route can only be used where the business has not begun trading in the UK. Whilst the English language requirement has gone, a new (more cumbersome) requirement is that sponsorship is required. A further, in our view off-putting change, is that unlike its predecessor, time spent in the UK under this category cannot count towards settlement.
Service Supplier: This route replaces the Temporary Workers – International Agreement route and, again, there’s not much that has changed. This route is applicable to overseas workers who are to undertake temporary UK assignments (as an employee of an overseas business or a self-employed industry expert) to provide services under existing international trade agreements between the UK and other countries.
Secondment Worker: This is a new route for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where they are being seconded as part of a ‘high-value contract or investment’ by their employer.
What is the impact of the changes?
This new points-based route is intended to attract the “brightest and best to the UK to maintain our status as a leading international hub for emerging technologies”. Applicants to this route must have either a Bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from one of the top global universities outside the UK, as published in the specific annual Home Office “Global Universities List”, which was awarded during the five years immediately preceding the date of application.
This route is also subject to English language and financial requirements.
Successful applicants of this route will be granted permission to live and work in the UK for a period of two or three years, depending on whether they are relying on a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s/Master’s level degree, or to a UK Ph.D., respectively.
Looking further into the future, the Home Office’s broad aims over the next few years include simplifying the business immigration routes. The Home Office’s points-based immigration system: sponsorship roadmap (published in August 2021), sets out plans to modernise the immigration system through developments such as making the sponsor license application “fully paperless”, building a new sponsorship IT system, and introducing automated checks against data held by other government departments such as HMRC and Companies House to expedite the application process.
If you require further advice on the recent amendments to the Immigration Rules or would like to discuss potential business immigration routes for your own workforce, please contact our business immigration law specialists here