On 22nd August the Home Office introduced the latest of several recent changes to the UK work visa landscape, the launch of the Scale-Up visa. The new visa route is aimed at those individuals who have high levels of skills and qualifications and are in receipt of an eligible sponsored job offer from a qualifying scale-up business. The scale-up visa is just one of several recent changes.
What other work visa types have been introduced in recent years?
- March 2019 - “Innovator” visa replaces the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa
- March 2019 - “Start-up” visa introduced
- December 2020 - “Skilled Worker” visa replaces Tier 2 (General) visa
- April 2022 - “Senior or Specialist Worker” visa replaces Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term Staff visa (ICT)
- April 2022 - “UK Expansion Worker” visa replaces “Representative of an Overseas Business” visa - (except for journalists)
- August 2022 – “Scale-Up” visa introduced
What visas are frequently requested by overseas workers and businesses?
The Innovator visa enables entrepreneurs from outside the UK to set up an innovative business in the UK. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a minimum investment of £50,000, and have a business idea that has been approved by an approved endorsing body. The company must be endorsed as being new, unique and with growth potential. English language and adequate savings requirements must also be met by the applicant.
The UK Start-up visa, like the Innovator visa, is designed for entrepreneurs who want to come to the UK to start a new innovative business. The main distinction is that applicants for a start-up visa do not need any investment funds. The visa is not extendable and does not provide a path to settlement.
Applicants for a start-up visa must be at least 18 years old and have had their business idea assessed for innovation, viability and scalability by a UK-approved endorsing body. English language requirements and savings criteria must be met.
Skilled Worker visa
The Skilled Worker visa (which replaced the Tier 2 General visa) is for foreign nationals who wish to come to the UK to work in a sponsored job. Only UK employers with a sponsor licence are able to employ overseas staff through the Skilled Worker visa scheme. The Skilled Worker visa uses a points-based system (PBS) which awards points based on meeting certain criteria.
What is a UK Global Business Mobility Visa?
The UK Global Business Mobility visa routes are aimed at overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK and came into effect in April 2022. Some of the most requested visa types are as follows:
Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Replaced ICT)
The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is intended for overseas senior managers and employees with specialised skills and experience who wish to work in the UK on a temporary basis. Applicants must be employed by an overseas company or organisation that is affiliated with their UK business sponsor (via ownership or a Joint Venture). This replaces the Intra-Company Transfer Visa (ICT).
UK Expansion Worker visa (Replaced Sole Representative)
The UK Expansion Worker visa replaced the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa and allows established and trading businesses outside the UK to send a senior manager to expand their presence in the UK. This route is designed for employees of foreign companies that do not already have a trading presence in the UK.
Secondment Worker visa
The Secondment Worker visa allows overseas employers to send workers to the UK to fulfil a high-value contract or investment with a UK-registered sponsoring business. Applicants must possess the necessary skills for the secondment and have worked for the overseas company for at least one year.
Service Supplier visa
The Service Supplier visa is intended to allow overseas workers who work for an overseas service supplier or who meet the self-employed requirements, to come to the UK for a temporary work assignment.
Graduate Trainee visa
The Graduate Trainee visa is intended for overseas workers who wish to be transferred by their employer to the United Kingdom for the purpose of completing a work placement as part of a graduate training programme. The training programme must result in a senior management or specialist position. This replaces the Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Visa.
Will a Global Business Mobility visa need the UK employer to have a sponsor licence?
Yes, for all pathways under the Global Business Mobility visa, applicants must have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), therefore, the UK business must hold a sponsor licence.
How 3CS can help
For further information on work visas, sponsor licences or any other immigration matter please contact a member of our team.