Global Business Mobility visa

The Global Business Mobility visa is set to commence in spring 2022 to provide new solutions for overseas firms transferring staff to the UK.

So how much of this route will be genuinely new and useful rather than consolidating existing options in a rebranding exercise?

Who will be able to use the Global Business Mobility route?

The Global Business Mobility visa will have five pathways for overseas firms to establish a UK footprint or transfer staff to the UK. 

  1. Senior or specialist worker to meet specific business needs
  2. Graduate trainee as part of a training programme
  3. Secondment worker to UK firms in high value contracts or investments 
  4. Service supplier to the UK in line with UK trade agreements
  5. UK expansion worker to establish a UK presence

The first three are options for firms with a UK presence, the last three for firms with no UK presence. (Secondments would be an option for both.) The Home Office has suggested that the worker will require sponsorship in all cases.

In practice the new route appears to consolidate the existing Intra-Company Transfer and Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visas along with other business mobility routes, such as Representative of an Overseas Business and Temporary Work – International Agreement. Of the five pathways, only UK expansion workers and secondments are expected to see significant changes.

What seems new rather than a rebrand?


One welcome change is to the current Representative of an Overseas Business rule which only allows an overseas company to send one person to the UK. The proposed UK expansion worker pathway will allow companies to send in more than one person (five, if the MAC’s recommendations are followed – one senior executive and a team of up to four team members).

On the other hand, Representative of an Overseas Business is an unsponsored route, whereas all Global Business Mobility pathways are expected to require sponsorship — including the UK expansion version. It is not yet clear how a company with no presence in the UK will go about becoming a sponsor, or what footprint a company would already be expected to have. Although the MAC recommended that sponsorship be required for the team members, it was silent on the idea of sponsorship for the senior executive.


There is little detail yet about the secondment pathway. Currently, employees working for overseas clients of UK export companies can be seconded to the UK business under the visitor rules. It is suggested that the new pathway will expand on this to allow secondment for specific purposes related to a high value import or export. 

However, the MAC has suggested applying a £50 million threshold to count as “high value”, which will significantly limit its accessibility and usefulness. The MAC itself noted “we would expect no more than a handful of applications each year”.

How would sponsorship work?

The principle will be that the UK business that receives the workers will be the sponsor licence holder. Applicants would need to demonstrate they have a receiving business, a sending business and that there is a business relationship between them.

For example, an overseas parent company could be sending staff to a UK subsidiary; or an overseas service supplier may have a contract with a UK client; or an overseas company could be sending staff on secondment to a UK supplier of goods or setting up a UK branch pre-trading. 

In the case of UK expansion, it will be interesting to see whether the new UK branch applies for a licence once incorporated, or if an overseas business would be able to apply for the licence from abroad.

What details still need ironed out?

There are some questions remaining about the longer-term aspects of the Global Business Mobility routes.

At present, each of the existing routes being brought under the GBM umbrella has different limits on how long the person can stay in the UK. It varies from six months under the business visitor rules to potential settlement under Representative of an Overseas Business.

The MAC report identified that the Intra Company Transfer category has lost many of the advantages it used to have compared to the Skilled Worker category. It recommended that Intra Company Transfer visa holders should be allowed to settle in the UK, which would help address this. But the MAC went in the opposite direction with regard to Representatives of an Overseas Business, suggesting that they should only get a two-year term under the new system (although allowed to switch onto another route to extend their stay). 

A uniform approach could be to treat the Global Business Mobility category as a whole as “temporary” and require people to switch to the Skilled Worker category if they wish to settle. If so, it would be in the spirit of the MAC’s suggestions to allow them to count time under the Global Business Mobility route towards settlement — rather than having to start their five years all over again after switching.

Like this article? Share on


Related articles

Information about our own complaints process, raising concerns to the Legal Ombudsman and to us

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure here. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. 

You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving our final response to your complaint; and,
  • Within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned; or
  • Within one year of you realising that there was a concern.


If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, you can contact them at the following details:

 Contact details

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them.