The Government has issued a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules in order to implement its ‘Plan for Growth’ measures, which aims to simplify the Immigration Rules. The changes introduced new Global Business Mobility, High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes.

In this article, Keystone Law’s Immigration team outline the new criteria for each new visa route.

Global Business Mobility routes

The Global Business Mobility routes are a new category of sponsored routes for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in, or transfer staff to, the UK for specific business purposes. The routes will replace four existing business mobility provisions and create a new provision for secondments.

There were five visa routes created, which came into force on 11 April – none of these lead to settlement:

  • Graduate Trainee, replacing the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route. The Graduate Trainee route is 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.
  • Secondment Worker, a new route for “overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where the worker is being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas”.
  • Senior or Specialist Worker, replacing the Intra-Company Transfer route. This route is for senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas.
  • Service Supplier, replacing the contractual service supplier and independent professional provisions in the Temporary Worker – International Agreement route. The Service Supplier route is 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.
  • UK Expansion Worker, replacing the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa category. This route is 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.

Appendix High Potential Individual (HPI) route (comes into force on 09:00am on 30 May 2022 and does not lead to settlement)

This is a new route aimed to introduce an elite points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK to maintain its status as a leading international hub for emerging technologies.

It will allow graduates from non-UK universities listed as top 50 on at least two ranking systems (the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, or The Academic Ranking of World Universities) to come unsponsored for two years if they hold a qualification awarded in the five years prior to the date of application that is equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, or three years if they hold a qualification equivalent to a UK PhD.

Scale-up Visa (leads to settlement)

The Scale-up Visa follows the commitment in the Government’s 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 visa”. The Explanatory Memorandum provides: “To register for this route, a company will need to demonstrate that they have an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3-year period in terms of turnover or staffing. Companies will also need to have had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of this 3-year period.”

Once a scale-up has an A-rated licence, they can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and sponsor migrants for 6 months in occupations skilled to at least RQF level 6, with a salary that is equal to or exceeds: £33,000 per year, the going rate for the occupation code, and £10.58 per hour. There is no immigration skills charge. Migrants will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for 2 years initially. Scale-up Workers can switch to different sponsored roles in the first 6 months. After 6 months, they do not need to be sponsored, but to extend for three years they must have had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK of at least £33,000 per year during at least 50% of their permission as a Scale-up Worker. To settle, they must have earned this during at least 24 months of the 3 years immediately before the date of application.

For more information on the new visa routes, please contact a number of Keystone Law’s Immigration team on the below details.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.