New Immigration Business and Work Routes

The Home Office published a new Statement of Changes on 15th March 2022 which sets out forthcoming changes to the UK’s Immigration Rules. The 205 page document highlights some amendments to several existing immigration routes and also reaffirms the impending launch of some much anticipated new work visa categories.

Jan Manuel Solicitors will provide updates  soon on how these changes could impact businesses transferring staff to the UK this year. In the meantime, below is an outline of changes regarding UK work routes which come into effect from 6th April 2022.

Introduction of the new Global Business Mobility routes

The Global Business Mobility visa will be a new ‘umbrella category’ consisting of five sponsored routes for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in, or transfer staff to, the UK for specific business purposes.

The new routes will replace four existing work categories and create a new provision for secondments. As well as rebranding to make these provisions more easily identifiable by businesses seeking to send workers to the UK, the requirements and conditions for each have also been simplified and consolidated where possible to provide greater clarity to employers and workers.

The five routes will correspond to different assignment types as follows:

  • Senior or Specialist Worker – For senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas. This route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route.
  • Graduate Trainee – For workers on a graduate training course leading to a senior management or specialist position and who are required to do a work placement in the UK. This route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee route.
  • UK Expansion Worker – For senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to the UK to undertake work related to a business’s expansion to the UK. This route replaces the Sole Representative provisions in the Representative of an Overseas Business route.
  • Service Supplier – For contractual service suppliers employed by an overseas service provider and self-employed independent professionals based overseas, that need to undertake an assignment in the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade commitments. This route replaces the contractual service supplier and independent professional provisions in the Temporary Work – International Agreement route.
  • Secondment Worker – For workers being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas. This is a new route in the Immigration Rules.

Introduction of the new High Potential Individual (HPI) and Scale-up routes

These two new points-based routes for highly skilled workers were first announced in the Government’s Plan for Growth, published on 3 March 2021.

The High Potential Individual route:

The High Potential Individual route is a new route which delivers the commitment in the Plan for Growth to “introduce an elite points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK to maintain our status as a leading international hub for emerging technologiesâ€.

Applicants in this route must have either a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree qualification from one of the top global universities outside the UK as published in the Global Universities List by the Home Office, awarded during the last 5 years from the date of application.

Under the High Potential Individual route, applicants with a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree will be permitted to stay for 2 years, and applicants holding a qualification equivalent to a UK PhD will be able to stay for 3 years.

The Scale-up route:

The Scale-up route is a new route which delivers the commitment in the Plan for Growth to “allow those with a job offer at the required skills level from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visaâ€.

Applicants in this route must have a sponsored job offer from an authorised UK scale-up company. The job offer above must be skilled to graduate level (RQF 6 and equivalent) and be paid a salary of at least £33,000 per year or the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher.

Under the Scale-up route, permission will be granted for 2 years. To extend their permission to stay, applicants must have PAYE earnings of at least £33,000 per year for at least 50% of their time in the route. Extensions will be granted for 3 years. The route also leads to settlement in the UK, providing the applicant meets the requirements.

Who will be eligible to sponsor a scaleup worker?

Sponsored scale up visa applicants must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from an A- rated scale- up sponsor (company) that has not been withdrawn or previously used. A qualifying sponsor must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor the job in question.  To qualify as a scale-up, a sponsor will need to show annualised growth in either turnover or staffing of at least 20% for the previous three year and that they had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the period. The Government will consider further ways in which scale-up companies may be able to register for this route in due course.

Updates to the Global Talent route

The Global Talent route is for talented and promising individuals in the fields of science, digital technology and arts and culture wishing to work in the UK. Changes are being made to the endorsement criteria and evidential requirements to reflect feedback and recommendations from the endorsing bodies for the route.

Furthermore, following advice from the relevant endorsing bodies, the list of prizes in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes has been expanded to cover a slightly wider range of prizes. Applicants who hold a qualifying prize are able to qualify without the need to obtain an endorsement from one of the Global Talent endorsing bodies. The list will be kept under review and may be revised in future updates to the Immigration Rules.

Expansion and updates to the Seasonal Worker route

The Seasonal Worker route is being expanded to include roles in ornamental horticulture. This includes, but is not limited to, those growing daffodils, Christmas trees, and also forest nursery workers.

A new minimum hourly pay requirement has also been added to the route, requiring all workers to be paid at least £10.10 per hour. This will be equal to the minimum hourly rate that those applying on the Skilled Worker route are required to meet.

Finally, all references to poultry production work, haulage driving work involving transportation of food goods, or specified pork butchery work have been deleted as the deadlines for applications on this route to work in these roles have now expired.

To speak to an immigration solicitor about any of these changes, please call  0203 761 3993  or email [email protected]

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