In today's globalised world, attracting talent is crucial for the success of any business. If you are an employer based in the UK and looking to bring in senior managers or specialist employees from overseas, the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa under the Global Business Mobility scheme could be the perfect fit for your needs.
This visa category is designed to facilitate the smooth transfer of key personnel to your UK branch, offering a streamlined process that replaces the older Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa.
Why Choose the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa?
Before diving into the specifics, it is important to understand why this visa category might be the right choice for your organisation. Unlike the Skilled Worker Visa, which is aimed at a broader range of skilled roles, the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is tailored for high-ranking or specialised roles within your company. This makes it ideal for transferring senior executives, department heads, or employees with specialised skills that are crucial to your business operations.
As an employer, you must meet several criteria to be eligible to sponsor an employee under this visa category:
- Valid UK Sponsor Licence: You must hold a valid sponsor licence issued by the UK government. If you do not have one, you will need to apply for it before proceeding with the visa application.
- Role and Salary Requirements: The role you are offering must meet or exceed the general salary requirement, which is usually £42,000 per year or 100% of the pro-rated going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher.
The employee you wish to sponsor must also meet certain criteria:
- Employment History: The employee must have been employed at your overseas branch for a minimum period, usually specified in the visa guidelines.
- Skill Level: The role must require a certain level of skill and expertise, often determined by the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code.
The application process can be broken down into several key steps:
Issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
The first step in the application process is to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the employee. This is an electronic record, not a physical document, but it is crucial for the visa application. The CoS should include details about the role, salary, and other employment conditions.
Ensure that the employee has all the necessary documents ready for the application. This typically includes:
- Passport or other valid travel documents
- Proof of employment history
- Any relevant qualifications or certifications
Application Submission and Fees
Once the CoS is issued and the documents are ready, the employee can proceed to fill out the online application form. Application fees will vary depending on the duration of the visa and other factors. Make sure these fees are paid to avoid delays.
Biometric Information and Additional Checks
After the application is submitted, the employee may be required to attend a biometric appointment. Additional checks, such as criminal record checks, may also be necessary depending on the role and industry.
The time it takes to process a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa can vary. However, it is advisable to start the application process well in advance of the employee's planned start date in the UK. Keep an eye on the government's official website for the most current processing times.
Financial Obligations and Costs
As an employer, you may be responsible for additional costs beyond the application fee. This can include the Immigration Skills Charge, which is levied on employers sponsoring overseas workers. The exact amount will depend on the size of your organisation and the duration of the visa.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the key differences between the Skilled Worker Visa and the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa?
The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is designed for high-ranking or specialised roles within a company. The salary requirements are higher, and the roles are more defined compared to the Skilled Worker Visa.
How long does the visa application process take?
The processing time can vary significantly depending on a range of factors, including the time of year, the volume of applications, and any additional checks that may be required.
What financial obligations are there for employers?
Employers are responsible for the Immigration Skills Charge and may also need to cover the cost of healthcare surcharges and other associated fees.
Is the application process complicated?
The application process involves multiple steps and requires careful diligence. However, with proper planning and organisation, it is a straightforward process.
Conclusion and Next Steps
Navigating the UK's immigration system can be a complex task, but with the right information and preparation, it is entirely manageable. The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa offers a valuable pathway for bringing in high-level talent to your UK operations, providing benefits that can significantly impact your organisation's success.
For a more tailored understanding of how this visa category can meet your specific needs, it is advisable to consult with our legal experts. Contact us today or fill out the form below.