Substantial changes to the Immigration Rules have been laid before Parliament. The changes amend and simplify existing routes of entry to the UK and introduce a new, modernised Business Mobility suite of work schemes. The changes will be introduced from 6 April 2022, with the new Global Business Mobility routes due to come into force on 11 April 2022.
Global Business Mobility Visa Routes (“GBM”)
The GBM route contains 5 immigration subcategories for individuals to come to the UK for the purpose of business activity:
- Senior/Specialist Worker – this is an evolution of the Intra-Company Transfer Route which will discontinue
- Graduate Trainee – This route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee visa category; it will be for individuals enrolled on graduate trainee programmes for their multi-national employer
- UK Expansion Worker – This route will replace the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa route; this category will facilitate moves to the UK to undertake work related to business expansion into the UK, including establishing subsidiary entities and branch offices. The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business route will discontinue, and the new scheme will enable more than one worker per business to enter the UK
- Service Supplier – A route for overseas employed and self-employed persons coming to the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade commitments
- Secondment Worker – A new route for workers seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract of investment by their overseas employer
High Potential Individual (“HPI”) and Scale-Up Visa Routes
Coming into force on 30 May 2022, the HPI visa is a new route set up to attract ‘the brightest and the best’ to the UK. A graduate from a non-UK top 50 globally ranked University can use this route to apply for a 2 or 3-year entry to the UK.
Alongside a new scale-up route for qualifying, authorised UK scale-up companies, the HPI will allow for full-time work or study, with dependant routes also available in both categories.
Family and Private Life Visa Routes
For individuals in the UK or due to enter the UK under the family visa routes, the Home Office will be making Private Life and Family Route categories compatible for the purposes of Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”). As such, movement between these categories can still lead to ILR based on residence in the UK after 5 years.
For children resident in the UK for 7 years and young adults under the age of 25 years of age, a route to settlement after 5 years will be incorporated into the Rules following a concession last year.
What do these changes mean for you?
For individuals, the changes in the Family and Private Life rules will make routes to settlement swifter for many, giving flexibility to those whose circumstances evolve during their residence in the UK. Concessions for children and young adults are also incorporated into the Rules, however there remains scope for refusing applications based on suitability grounds.
For businesses, much of the shift should be seen as a re-branding and evolution of existing routes. The loss of various routes, such as the Intra-Company Transfer and Sole Representative visa routes, should have a minimal impact on those already in the UK and will be replaced in the coming weeks with the new GBM suite of visas. The introduction of the Scale-up and HPI visas aims to fill the gap that has been left by the closure of Tier 1 categories (including Entrepreneur and Investor) by targeting high-value applicants and businesses.
Should you have questions about how these changes affect you or your business, please contact your usual Magrath Sheldrick advisor for further information.