An amendment to the Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 is due to come into force at the beginning of 2023. This amendment will introduce a new exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge for sponsors applying under the Global Business Mobility (“GBM”) – Senior or Specialist Worker category (previously the Intra-Company Transfer route).
The GBM – Senior or Specialist Worker route facilitates overseas workers who are senior managers or specialist employees to come to the UK to undertake temporary work projects with a UK business that is linked to their employer overseas.
The minimum salary to qualify under this route (where an employee has been working for a group company or other body linked by ownership of control outside the UK for at least twelve months prior to the application) is the higher of £42,400 or the going rate for the role. It is possible to stay in the UK on the basis of the visa for 5 years in any 6-year period or 9 years in any 10 year period if applying as a high earner (a gross salary of at least £73,900 per year). This visa route does not lead to settlement, however workers may switch to the Skilled Worker route or another category leading to indefinite leave to remain.
It is worth noting that applicants are not required to evidence their English language ability (unlike the Skilled Worker route) making it an extremely useful route for temporary assignments.
Currently, when assigning the Certificate of Sponsorship for employees transferring to the UK under the GBM route, employers are required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (£1000 a year or £364 for small or charitable sponsors). It is envisaged that from the 1January 2023, employers will no longer be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge for EU nationals who are being assigned to the UK from an EU business for under 3 years under the GBM – Senior or Specialist Worker visa route.
The GBM visa route is already an attractive option for sponsors, particularly with the major skills shortages in the UK and the post-Brexit implications. However, with the exemption of the Immigration Skills Charge being introduced next year resulting in a potential cost saving of up to £3000 per employee, we are expecting to see even more international employers seeking to bring EU national employees to the UK under the GBM – Senior or Specialist route over other visa routes.