Everything you need to know about The Senior or Specialist Worker visa
The Home Office recently published the details on various new business immigration channels, including the Global Business Mobility visa and its five distinct subcategories, in the Statement of Changes to the UK’s Immigration Rules.
The Home Office noted when creating the route last year that immigration routes that previously functioned for businesses no longer do so because they have not kept up with enterprises. The Senior or Specialist Worker route is one of the five new visa categories which replaced the Intra-Company Transfer route.
The Senior or Specialist Worker route is for senior managers and specialists assigned to a UK firm affiliated with their overseas employer and who want to work in the UK for a set amount of time.
The applicant must receive 60 points to qualify for sponsorship under this route. Here’s how it’s divided:
- A valid sponsorship offer that earns you 20 points.
- 20 points if the job offer is at the appropriate skill level for sponsorship, which is often graduate-level or higher.
- 20 points for a wage that is at or above the correct amount (£42,400 per year or the going rate, whichever is higher). A “high earner” must be paid at least £73,900 per year to qualify.
To be accepted, the position must pay a minimum of £42,400. Applicants must have worked for the overseas firm for at least 12 months unless they are a high earner earning above £73,900. They are generally limited to five years of stay in any six years under the Global Business Mobility Routes and Intra-Company Routes.
Financial requirements must be met by the candidate unless their sponsor has verified maintenance on their Certificate of Sponsorship (entry clearance or leave to remain) or they have been in the UK for 12 months before the (leave to remain) application. They must have the required capital in their bank account.
To be eligible for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- The applicant must be a current employee of a sponsoring organisation that has been approved by the Home Office.
- The candidate must have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ (CoS) from the UK-based company detailing the work they will be doing for the firm.
- The individual must work in one of the acceptable vocations on the Home Office list
- He/She has to receive a minimum salary of £42,400 every year. If the employee has worked for the company for less than 12 months, they must be a “High Earner,” earning at least £73,900 per year to be eligible.
- Employees must work for the “sponsor group,” which is an overseas entity related to the UK entity by common ownership or control, to receive 20 points for sponsorship under this route.
Unlike before, there are no English Language requirements for this category.
With a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you can stay in the UK for a minimum of around 5 years or the duration of your sponsorship certificate plus 14 days. You can seek to extend or obtain a new visa as many times as you want, up to the maximum total stay allowed.
High-earners can extend their visas, although they cannot be granted leave to remain for more than 9 years in any 10-year term. All other Senior and Specialist personnel are not eligible for leave to remain which would allow them to stay for more than 5 years in any 6-year term. Time spent on the ICT category will count towards the total period when calculating the cumulative periods.
A Senior and Specialist Worker visa allows for a maximum total stay of
- If you are paid less than £73,900 per year for 5 years in any 6 years
- If you earn £73,900 per year or more, you can work for 9 years in any 10 years.
Any time you spend in the UK on one of the following visas counts toward your total stay limit:
- Graduate Trainee Visa for Internal Employees
- Visa for intra-company transfers
- Visa for Graduate Trainees (Global Business Mobility)
- Worker visa for secondment (Global Business Mobility)
- Visa for Senior or Specialist Workers (Global Business Mobility)
- Visa for Service Provider (Global Business Mobility)
- Worker visa for UK Expansion (Global Business Mobility)
A Senior or Specialist employee can apply for up to 5 years at a time, subject to the limitations on cumulative leave durations. Under this option, dependents (partners and children under 18) can be sponsored to join or accompany the main applicant to the UK.
The applications for Senior or Specialist Worker visa is primarily submitted online.
However, the forms and procedures are dependent on whether you are:
- From outside the UK and are visiting the UK
- You’re working as a Senior or Specialist Worker in the UK and wish to prolong your stay.
- Transferring from one visa to another while in the UK
- If your partner and children are eligible, you can include them in your application to stay in the UK.
You have up to three months to apply for a visa before you start working in the United Kingdom. This date is printed on your sponsorship certificate. You’ll need to prove your identity and give supporting documents as part of your application.
If you require an appointment, you may need to give extra time. When you start your application, you’ll see if you need one.
After you’ve applied online, verified your identification, and submitted your paperwork, you’ll normally hear back within 3 to 8 weeks.
3 weeks: If you’re not in the UK.
8 weeks: If you’re in the UK.
If you are moving to the UK under the Senior or Specialist Worker visa with your partner, or your children, you will need to make the application fee payment, demonstrating you have enough personal savings to sustain yourself and your dependents in the UK and pay the healthcare fee for each year of your stay.
If you are an existing sponsor and would want to learn more about the new pathways, or if you are a business interested in applying for a sponsor licence, contact A Y J Solicitors for assistance. We can assist you in achieving your Global Mobility goals by guiding and advising you throughout the process.