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UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa (part of the Global Business Mobility scheme) allows employees of overseas businesses to transfer specialist and senior staff to a branch or subsidiary in the UK. This visa replaced the intra-company transfer (ICT) visa on 11th April 2022.

Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa application.

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What is the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa?

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows employees of overseas businesses to transfer specialist and senior staff to a branch or subsidiary in the UK. The Senior or Specialist Worker visa replaced the old intra-company transfer (ICT) visa and opened to applications on 11th April 2022.

This is just one of five categories under the new Global Business Mobility visa scheme, which is intended to make it easier for overseas businesses who wish to establish a presence in the UK and meet their senior staffing requirements in branches or subsidiaries here.

Some key points to bear in mind about the UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa include:

  • If you currently hold a valid (non-expired) ICT visa, you can still apply to extend your leave (subject to some minor limitations) or apply to switch to the Skilled Worker visa.
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa applicants must be sponsored by the UK-based branch or subsidiary of the overseas company. As such, the UK company requires a sponsor licence allowing them to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to the overseas worker.
  • The UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa does not provide a direct route to settlement / ILR in the UK, but it is possible to switch to a different visa when you are here, which will allow you to do so.
  • It is possible to bring your dependant family members, including your spouse and children, with you to the UK.
  • UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa holders can stay in the UK for up to 5 or 9 years, depending on their salary level.
  • Those on a graduate trainee program with their overseas employer who wishes to transfer to the UK should apply for the Graduate Trainee Visa instead.
  • Applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria as outlined below.

Find out if the UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa is suitable for you by contacting our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa requirements

According to the Intra Company Transfer visa UK new rules, UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa applicants must:

  • have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from their employer (i.e., from the UK-based branch or subsidiary)
  • have worked for their employer outside the UK for at least 12 months (this time requirement does not apply if you receive a salary of £73,900 or more)
  • perform a role on the list of eligible occupations
  • meet the minimum salary requirements: £42,400 per year
  • have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK

Sponsorship requirements

Before applying for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer. In order to sponsor you, the UK-based branch or subsidiary of your overseas employer must have an A-rated sponsorship licence that allows them to sponsor under the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa scheme. The CoS must also have been granted within 3 months of your visa application.

List of eligible occupations

To check if your job is on the list of eligible occupations, it is advisable to ask your employer for the 4-digit standard occupation code for your role. This can then be checked against the Home Office’s list of eligible occupations1 for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa.

Minimum salary requirements

Senior or Specialist Worker minimum salary is £42,400 per year for a full time role or the “going rate” for their role (whichever is higher). An applicant’s salary includes their basic pay plus any guaranteed allowances. The going rate is the average annual salary in the UK for your role. You will need your occupation code to check the going rate for your job type on the Home Office website2 .

Support funds

The Home Office will want to see evidence that you have at least £1,270 in your bank to support yourself when you arrive in the UK. This must have been held for at least 28 days before you apply. If you have already been in the UK for 1 year or more, you may not need to meet the support funds requirement.

UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa required documents

When applying for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you will be asked to provide a number of items of documentation to prove your eligibility. These required documents may include:

  • your unique Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number from your employer
  • your current passport
  • details of your job title and annual pay
  • the standard occupational code for your job
  • details of your employer, including their name and sponsor licence number
  • bank statements to show you have sufficient evidence that you have personal savings of at least £1,270 to support yourself in the UK when you first arrive. Alternatively, you can ask your employer to certify that they will support you.
  • Evidence of your relationship with your dependant partner and/or children (if they are part of your application). This may include a marriage or civil partnership certificate and birth certificate.
  • tuberculosis test results (this only applies if you are from a listed TB country)

Depending on your circumstances, there might be more documents required.

How to apply for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

There are several steps you will need to complete when applying for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, as follows:

  1. Ensure that you have your Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer before you apply.
  2. Complete the online UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa application form3.
  3. Pay the required application fees (see below).
  4. Prove your identity – either by making and attending a biometric appointment at your nearest visa application centre or by using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ mobile phone app. You will be advised which options you can use when you apply.
  5. Upload any documents requested by the Home Office to support your application.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be invited to an interview to review your eligibility before a decision is made by the Home Office.

UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Fees

Duration

Applying outside the UK

Applying inside the UK or extending

Up to 3 years

£625 per person

£719 per person

More than 3 years

£1,235 per person

£1,423 per person

Other fees:

Biometric fee: £19.20

Immigration healthcare surcharge (allowing access to the UK’s National Health Service): £624.

Change employers on a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

You can change employers as a UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa holder, but you will need to submit a change of employment application. This also applies if you wish to change to a different occupation code with your current employer. You will not need to apply to change your visa if you are moving to a new job with your employer with the same occupation code.

To apply to change employers on a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you will need to complete the online application form4. The process is broadly the same as that you would have followed when you first applied. This means you will need to prove your identity, pay any required fees, and provide details of your new employer and CoS.

You will be able to stay in the UK while your application is being considered and work for your current employer while your visa remains valid.

Discuss your change of employer on a UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa with one of our immigration lawyers on 020 3744 2797 or by emailing at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

UK Senior or Specialist Worker dependent visa

Senior or Specialist Worker visa holders can bring their dependant family members with them to the UK. As such, dependants can stay in the UK as long as the main visa holder remains here. Dependent family members include the applicants:

  • husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner (if unmarried, you must have been in a relationship with your partner for at least 2 years)
  • children under the age of 18
  • children over the age of 18 if they are dependant on you and not living a fully independent life.

If applying outside of the UK, your family members will need to submit their own application as your partner5 or child6. These applications should include the unique reference number of the main applicant to ensure they are all considered together. Applicants will need to prove their identity, pay the required fees, and submit any documents requested by the Home Office.

How long can you stay in the UK with a Specialist Worker visa?

Senior or Specialist Worker visa holders can stay in the UK for up to:

  • 5 years in any 6-year period if they receive an annual salary of less than £73,900
  • 9 years in any 10-year period if they receive an annual salary of £73,900 or more.

When working out how much time you have already spent in the UK, it is important to bear in mind that the Home Office will include any time you have been here on any of the following:

UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa extension

You can extend your Senior or Specialist Worker visa as long as you are still in the same position you held when you last applied for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa (i.e., the same occupation code and employer). In addition, to make a successful Senior or Specialist Worker Visa extension application, you must not have reached or exceeded the maximum total stay as outlined above.

UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa to ILR

The UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa does not lead to indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Those wishing to move from ICT to ILR will need to consider applying for a different visa type. Visas that provide a direct route to ILR include the following:

If you are considering applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, in most cases, you will be able to do so after living in the UK for 5 years on a qualifying visa. With some visas, such as the Global Talent visa, it is possible to gain ILR after just 3 years. With ILR, you can then apply for British citizenship 1 year later.

To check which visas will provide you and your family members with a route to permanent settlement in the UK, speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

References

1 GOV.UK: Eligible occupations and codes for global mobility

2 GOV.UK: Going rates for global mobility

3 GOV.UK: Online application form for global mobility

4 GOV.UK: Application form to change employers

5 GOV.UK: Dependant partner application form

6 GOV.UK: Dependant child application form

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