The new Global Mobility Routes are now Live, but has anything changed?
On 11 April 2022, the new Global Business Mobility (GBM) routes went live and aims to provide new solutions for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in, or moving staff to, the UK. There are five sub-categories (see below), with only one new category; the Secondment Worker route.
Common to all the GBM routes is that all require sponsorship via a licenced UK employer and none will lead to settlement.
- 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.
The changes that come with the new GMB routes aren’t substantial. Even so, it is our view that the changes that have been made may dissuade investment within the UK rather than encourage it, particularly the requirement for sponsorship (which is new, in some cases) and given there continues to be no route to settlement.
Not only that but many UK employers that have been struggling to fill ‘specialist’ roles in their UK business since Brexit had been hopeful that a new GBM route would help alleviate current problems with recruitment. However, unless an employee with a desired specialism can meet the definition of a secondment worker or service supplier (which are pretty strict!), it remains the case that, in most cases, such roles are not eligible for sponsorship under the UK’s points based system.
If you require any advice in this area, please contact our immigration specialist, Emma Cousins at firstname.lastname@example.org