Senior or Specialist Worker visas allow foreign nationals to work for their overseas employer’s UK branch in an eligible position. It replaces the intra-company transfer visa or skilled worker (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term Staff visa in the global business mobility category.

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is intended for highly paid employees in certain occupations and roles. The UK government designed this visa to be a nonimmigrant visa, so visa holders are expected to be in the UK only for a temporary assignment linked to their employer overseas. It is therefore not possible for holders of a specialist worker visa to settle in the UK or to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. They may, however, be able to switch to another visa that will lead to settlement.

What is the specialist worker visa?

For overseas businesses wishing to establish a presence in the UK or transfer staff to the UK, the Global Business Mobility (GBM) visa provides a number of different sponsored immigration routes, including the route for senior and specialist workers. It opened to applicants on 11 April 2022 alongside four other sponsored routes.

The UK’s points-based immigration system replaces the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa with this new category. Applications under the ICT route are no longer accepted. If an ICT visa holder is already in the UK, their existing visa will continue until it expires.

Eligibility for the global business mobility Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK

To qualify for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you must:

  • be an existing employee of an organisation that’s been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor for at least 12 months
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the work you will do in the UK
  • do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations (your job must be skilled to RQF Level 6 or higher)
  • be paid at least £42,400 per year
  • your UK sponsor has paid the Immigration Skills Charge
  • you have enough funds to support yourself

The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement

A Certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is a UK immigration document that confirms your employment and educational qualifications, as well as your permission to work in the UK.

The role of the sponsor is to provide evidence that you have the right skills, experience and qualifications for your job at the UK company or organization sponsoring you. The role of CoS is to authorize entry into the UK on this visa, confirming that it is legally valid for all purposes under immigration law.

A Sponsor applicant must be sponsored by an entity with whom they have an existing relationship because they cannot apply themselves directly. However there are some exceptions where individuals can apply without having met them before. For example, if they were working abroad through their own company but now want to come back.

Financial requirement global business mobility Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK

If you’re applying for a Global Business Mobility Visa, your income must be at least £42,400 per year. This is the minimum amount of money that you need to earn in order to support yourself financially throughout your stay in the UK.

You should also have a bank statement showing how much money has been deposited into your account over the past 12 months (or so). If there’s any outstanding debt or unpaid bills on this statement, the application may be refused.

Maintenance requirements: In addition to the minimum salary requirement, individuals must also be able to demonstrate that they are able to meet the maintenance requirements for themselves and any dependents who may be coming to the UK with them. This may include providing evidence of sufficient funds in a bank account, or a letter from an employer stating that the individual will receive a salary or other financial support while in the UK.

Fees: There are a number of fees associated with the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK, including the application fee, biometric fee, and any additional fees for dependents. The current application fee for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK is £152, and the biometric fee is £19.60. Any additional fees for dependents will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the individual.

It is important to note that the financial requirements for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK may vary depending on an individual’s specific circumstances and the country from which they are applying. It is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer or immigration specialist for more information on the specific financial requirements for this visa.

How long can I stay?

In the case of the Senior Worker visa, you will be granted entry clearance for a period of five years on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. During this stay, you can undertake voluntary work or a course of study. However, you won’t have access to any public funds.

How long does the process take?

The process for applying for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa can take up to six months. If you have a skilled worker visa and are able to show that you have enough income, it may be possible for your application to be processed faster. However, this will depend on whether there are any other factors affecting the case that require special consideration.

If you have been working overseas previously as part of your job offer with the employer in question, then this could help speed up your application process.

What happens after I’ve submitted my application and how do I track my application?

The visa application process is a long one. You need to submit your application by the closing date and then wait for a decision from the Home Office before you can make any travel arrangements.

There are several steps in the application process, so it’s important that you keep track of your

progress and check back regularly on their website or through their helpline if you have any questions.

Once your application has been accepted by HM Passport Office, they will send out an email confirming this fact with details about what needs to be done next.

Applying for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK

To apply for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK, individuals must submit a complete application, including all required documents and information. The application process and required documents will vary depending on an individual’s specific circumstances and the country from which they are applying.

Required documents and information: Some of the documents and information that may be required as part of the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK application process include:

  • A valid passport or other travel document
  • Proof of English language proficiency, such as an IELTS test certificate
  • Evidence of work experience and skills, such as a degree or professional qualification
  • Proof of salary, such as a contract of employment or letter from an employer
  • Evidence of sponsorship from an employer in the UK, or a valid job offer
  • Evidence of maintenance, such as bank statements or a letter from an employer

How to apply: The process for applying for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK will vary depending on an individual’s specific circumstances and the country from which they are applying. However, in general, individuals will need to complete an online application form and submit it along with the required documents and information. The application fee for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK is currently £152.

Processing times and decision-making process: The processing time for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK will vary depending on a number of factors, including the volume of applications being processed and the completeness of the application. In general, it can take up to 3 weeks for a decision to be made on a Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK application.

Rights and privileges on the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK

The rights and privileges of the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK will depend on the specific terms of the visa, which will be outlined in the visa grant letter issued to the individual. Some of the key rights and privileges of this visa include:

Length of stay and renewal options: The Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK is typically valid for a period of up to 5 years, after which it can be renewed for an additional period of up to 5 years. In order to be eligible for renewal, individuals must continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the visa and must have spent at least 75% of the time on the visa working in a senior or specialist role.

Work rights and restrictions: Holders of the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK are typically allowed to work in any type of job, including full-time, part-time, and self-employed roles. However, there may be some restrictions on the type of work that can be done, depending on the individual’s skills and expertise. For example, certain industries or occupations may be excluded.

Travel and residence rights: Holders of the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK are typically allowed to leave and re-enter the UK as many times as they wish while their visa is valid. They are also typically allowed to reside anywhere in the UK during the validity of their visa.

Family members and dependents: Individuals who hold the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK may be able to bring their family members with them to the UK. This includes a spouse or partner, as well as any children under the age of 18 who are unmarried and not in a long-term relationship. In order to bring family members to the UK, individuals must be able to demonstrate that they are able to support and accommodate their family members financially.

Does the global business mobility senior or Specialist Worker Visa lead to settlement in the UK

The Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker Visa does not lead directly to settlement in the UK.  However, you may be able to switch into another immigration route which does lead to settlement. 

Settlement, also known as permanent residence, allows individuals to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions. There are several pathways available for individuals on the Senior or Specialist Worker visa UK to transition to settlement, including switching to a visa on the Points-Based System and various settlement routes.

To be eligible for settlement in the UK through the Points-Based System, individuals will need to have held a valid visa for at least 5 years and have accumulated a certain number of points based on their skills, qualifications, and experience.

To be eligible for settlement in the UK through one of the settlement routes, individuals will need to meet the specific requirements for the route they are pursuing. For example, the Long Residence route requires individuals to have lived in the UK continuously for at least 10 years, while the Family route requires individuals to have a family member who is a British citizen or permanent resident in the UK.

It is important to note that the requirements for settlement in the UK may vary depending on the specific pathway being pursued. It is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer or immigration specialist for more information on the specific requirements and application process for settlement in the UK.

The application fee for permanent residence in the UK is currently £2,389.

In general, individuals must meet the following requirements to be eligible for permanent residence in the UK:

  • They must have held a valid visa for at least 5 years
  • They must have spent at least 75% of the time on their visa working in a senior or specialist role
  • They must have met the maintenance requirements for themselves and any dependents who may be coming to the UK with them
  • They must have a good character and not have committed any serious criminal offenses

 

Can dependents accompany or join GBM senior or specialist workers?

There are a number of eligibility requirements for spouses or dependent children to accompany or join a GBM senior or specialist worker visa-holder. However, both will need to satisfy financial and relationship requirements in order to come to the UK.

The unmarried partner of a senior or specialist worker must have been living together for at least two years in a relationship akin to marriage or a civil partnership. Applicants or primary visa holders must also have permanently ended any previous relationship, and the couple cannot be so closely related that they cannot get married or form a civil partnership. In addition, both parties must intend to live together throughout the applicant’s stay in the country. When dealing with dependent children, the applicant must be a child of a parent that is, at the same time, being granted permission as a temporary resident on the graduate skilled workers (GSW) route, or as the spouse of a GSW holder. The applicant’s parents must also apply at the same time as the applicant, or have a temporary residence permit in the UK other than that of a visitor, with one exception, provided they are living abroad.

a parent that has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing, the parent who does not have permission as a senior or specialist worker and is British, or is entitled to enter or stay in the UK without restriction, or will be ordinarily resident in the UK is permitted. There must be specific agreements made in order for the child’s welfare in the United Kingdom to be fulfilled. Furthermore, if the child is over the age of 16, they cannot be considered self-reliant.

Based on financial need, a minimum of £285 is needed from an applicant or visa-holding GBM senior or specialist worker as well as from an applicant’s partner. There is an additional £200 for every additional child. Or alternatively, the primary visa holder’s employer can confirm on the CoS that they’ll maintain and accommodate the dependants up to the end of the first month they’re in the UK.

Conclusion

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is an excellent option for highly skilled professionals looking to work in the UK. With its streamlined application process, clear eligibility criteria, and extensive benefits, this visa has become a popular choice for specialist worker visa applicants. The specialist worker route and global business mobility routes offer flexibility and opportunities for growth, allowing applicants to work in eligible occupations with a minimum annual salary threshold.

To apply for the specialist worker visa, applicants must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer, meet the English language requirements, and provide supporting documents. Specialist worker visa holders can bring their families with them and access quality healthcare and education in the UK.

Overall, the Senior or Specialist Worker visa offers an excellent opportunity for individuals seeking to advance their careers, gain international experience, and contribute to the UK’s economy and society. With its clear requirements and benefits, this visa is an attractive option for specialist employees looking to work in the UK. Therefore, if you are a highly skilled professional looking to work in the UK, the Senior or Specialist Worker visa is a great option to consider under the visa global business mobility routes.

How we can help

CGM App is an end to end immigration software, designed for expats, employers and immigration consultants (all over the world), that help to fine tune the process and scale of global business immigration for each user. 

Visit cgmpartners.org.uk/register for more information.

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