At a Glance
- The UK government has announced wide-ranging changes to the UK Immigration Rules in the Statement of Changes, including the launch of the new Global Business Mobility routes, High Potential Individual route, and the Scale-up route.
- These changes will be implemented between April 11, 2022 and August 22, 2022.
In the recently published Statement of Changes, the UK government has announced wide-ranging changes to the UK Immigration Rules, including the launch of the new Global Business Mobility category, the High Potential Individual (‘HPI’) route and the Scale-up route.
A closer look
Below is a summary of the pertinent details of the Statement of Changes.
Change Impact Global Business Mobility route. This will be a new category for overseas business seeking to establish a presence in, or transfer staff to the United Kingdom for specific business purposes.
- This route will open to new applicants on April 11, 2022 and there will be five sub-categories under this route (listed below). Family members will be permitted to apply as dependents and there will be no limit on the number of applications.
This route consists of five separate categories which amalgamate existing provisions. It is for applicants who are coming to the United Kingdom on temporary assignments so they will not lead to settlement. Global Business Mobility Route Subcategory 1- Senior or Specialist Worker. This route will be a rebranding of the Intra Company Transfer visa and is intended for senior managers or specialist employees who are assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas.
- The role must meet the required skill level and the minimum general salary threshold will increase from the current requirement of GBP 41,500 to GBP 42,200. Applicants must have worked for the overseas entity for at least 12 months, unless they are a high earner earning over GBP 73,900, in which case there is no such requirement.
This route will replace the Intra-Company Transfer route which will close on April 11, 2022 but will require foreign nationals to have a higher minimum salary. Global Business Mobility Route Subcategory 2- Graduate Trainee. This route will be a rebranding of the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route. It is intended 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 United Kingdom. The minimum general salary threshold will be increased from the current requirement of GBP 23,000 to GBP 23,100 per year. This route will replace the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route which will close on April 11, 2022 but will require foreign nationals to have a higher minimum salary. Global Business Mobility Route Subcategory 3- UK Expansion Worker. This route will replace the Representative of an Overseas Business route. It is intended for senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to the United Kingdom to undertake work relating to a business’ expansion to the United Kingdom.
- Applicants will require sponsorship from a business in the United Kingdom that has a Sponsor Licence but has not yet started trading in the United Kingdom. It must also be a subsidiary of an overseas business expanding in the United Kingdom.
- The applicant must be an existing employee of an overseas business with at least 12 months prior service unless they are a high earner or they are coming under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
- The salary must meet the market rate requirement or the general salary threshold of GBP 42,400 per year (whichever is higher).
- This route replaces the Sole Representative provisions which will close on April 11, 2022. This means that it will no longer be possible to make initial applications under the Representative of an Overseas Business route.
- It will also no longer lead to settlement in the United Kingdom. Instead, permission will be granted for 12 months initially and up to two years in total.
- Unlike the Representative of an Overseas Business category, there will be no limit on the number of Expansion Workers a business can sponsor at one time. This means that applicants will no longer need to have full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the business to be eligible. Applicants will also now be able to be a majority stakeholder in the overseas parent company.
Global Business Mobility Route Subcategory 4- Service Supplier. This route will replace the existing Appendix Temporary Work- International Agreement route.
- It is intended for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the United Kingdom, where the worker is either a contractual service supplier employed by an overseas service provider or a self-employed independent professional based overseas, and they need to undertake an assignment in the United Kingdom to provide services covered by one of the United Kingdom’s international trade commitments.
- The sponsor must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor a Service Supplier and must have a contract with an overseas service provider, where that contract has been registered with the Home Office, and on which an applicant as a Service Supplier will work.
- The applicant must either be sponsored for a job in an occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations that is identified as eligible for the Global Business Mobility routes or must have a university degree or equivalent level technical qualification.
- This route replaces the Temporary Work – International Agreement which will close on April 11, 2022.
- The requirement under the existing rules is that the contract must be pre-approved, but the Statement of Changes only confirms that the contract has to be ‘registered’. This should become clearer in the guidance.
- Individuals under this route will be able to come to the United Kingdom for a maximum of five years in a six-year period, compared to only 12 months under the current International Agreement route.
Global Business Mobility Route Subcategory 5- Secondment Worker. This route will allow individuals to undertake temporary work assignments, where they are being seconded to the United Kingdom as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas.
- The applicant will need to be sponsored by a company in the United Kingdom which already has a Sponsor Licence.
- The applicant must also have 12 months prior service with the overseas business.
- The contract between the UK company and the overseas business must be registered with the Home Office.
This will be a new route in the Immigration Rules, but similar arrangements are usually covered by the visitor visa provisions. This category will enable individuals to come to the United Kingdom for up to five years with their family members, without the uncertainty of qualifying as a visitor. The definition of a high value contract or investment was not provided in the Statement of Changes but this should be explained in the forthcoming guidance. High Potential Individual (‘HPI’) route. This route will open on May 30, 2022.
- This route is for recent graduates of “top global universities” (defined as an institution listed as top 50 on at least two ranking systems).
- Applicants must have successfully completed an eligible course of study equivalent to United Kingdom bachelor’s degree level or above outside the United Kingdom in the last five years.
- There will be no job offer requirement and applicants will be permitted to work in the United Kingdom and bring their dependent family members with them.
- The route will enable applicants to come to the United Kingdom without requiring sponsorship from a company.
- This route will not lead to settlement in the United Kingdom and permission will only be granted for two years for those who hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree or for three years for those that hold a qualification equivalent to a PhD.
- The Innovation Strategy published on July, 22 2021 stated that the UK government would explore the scope to expand eligibility to other characteristics of high potential, but this has not been confirmed in the Statement of Changes.
Scale-up Visa. This route will open on August 22, 2022.
- It is intended for individuals recruited by a UK Scaleup Sponsor who have a high-skilled job offer from a qualifying Scale-up business at the required salary level. This will either be the going rate for their specific role or the general salary threshold of either GBP 10.58 per hour or GBP 33,000 per year (whichever is higher). There will also be an English language requirement.
- Dependent family members will be able to join and this will be a five-year route to settlement in the United Kingdom.
- Scale-up companies will be able to apply through a fast-track verification process, so long as they can demonstrate an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a three-year period greater than 20% and a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the three-year period.
- The UK government will explore whether scale-ups who can demonstrate an expectation of strong growth in future years may also qualify following a future review.
- Unlike other sponsored routes, the Scaleup route will only require individuals to be sponsored for the initial six months on the route. To extend and apply for settlement, applicants will need to meet the minimum salary requirement and prove that they are employed in a graduate level occupation.
These changes will be implemented between April 11, 2022 and August 22, 2022, as specified in the table above.
The new routes announced in the Statement of Changes build upon the UK government’s ‘New Plan for Immigration’ published on May 24, 2021, in which the government set out its intention to introduce bespoke immigration routes which will ultimately contribute to UK economic growth.
UK Immigration Rules are often changed several times a year, via Statement of Changes, which lists the amendments that will be incorporated into updated Immigration Rules on the specified implementation dates.Looking aheadThe UK government will release detailed guidance on the above and other rules. Fragomen will report on all relevant developments.Source: https://www.fragomen.com/insights/united-kingdom-statement-of-changes-announced-to-uk-immigration-rules.html#:~:text=The%20UK%20government%20has%20announced,2022%20and%20August%2022%2C%202022