What Is the Difference Between Skilled Worker Visa and Global Business Mobility Visa?

What Is a Tier 1 Investor Visa?

One of the categories under this new system is the Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker visa (GBM – Senior or Specialist Worker visa). This visa allows foreign nationals in certain occupations and roles (e.g., senior managers and specialist workers) to come to the UK and work at a UK branch of their overseas employer.

This new visa replaces the old Intra Company Transfer Visa. The good news is that not much has changed other than giving the visa a new name and removing the slightly anomalous exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge.

But do these changes help employers? Do they make the UK more open for business, and what’s the difference between the GBM and Skilled Worker Visa? Here at Synergy Immigration Solutions, we’re experts in immigration, and we’re here to answer your visa-related questions.

Global Business Mobility Visa vs Intra Company Transfer Visa

Before we begin, you need to understand the difference between the GBM and the ICT visa. The Global Business Mobility Visa has replaced the old Tier 2 ICT Visa, so you may still see the ICT mentioned, as we do in this post, but it’s important to understand that they’re, in theory, the same thing and that GBM visas have taken over.

What is ICT Visa? This was the visa before Global Business Mobility that allowed workers who’s company have UK branches an opportunity to work in the company’s UK branch. This visa is no longer available. Now, let’s dive into the Global Business Mobility visa and how it differs from the Skilled Worker Visa.

The differences in requirements for the GBM visa and Skilled Worker visa

So, this begs the question: why not use a Skilled Worker Visa instead of a GBM – Senior or Specialist worker visa? A skilled worked Visa allows foreign workers to come to the UK for work from a pre-approved employer with a sponsorship licence, so why not use this route?

Well, the main advantage that the GBM – Senior or Specialist Worker visa now offers over a Skilled Worker visa is that it has no English language skill requirement. To be approved for a skilled worker visa, you must prove your proficiency in English; for the GBM, this isn’t a requirement.

For GBM, this route is suitable for a higher level of employment than the Skilled Worker Visa, as the minimum salary for GBM Visa is far higher than that for the Skilled Worker Visa. You’re also required to have worked for the organisation for 12 months before applying unless you’re being paid a UK package of £73,900+, whereas, for a Skilled Worker Visa, this isn’t necessary.

Salary differences

To be successful in obtaining a Skilled Worker Visa, one of the requirements is that your proposed position must pay a minimum of £25,600, whereas, for a Global Business Mobility Visa, the proposed position must pay a minimum of £42,400.

Which do employers prefer, Skilled Worker visas or Global Business Mobility visas?

Which do employers prefer, Skilled Worker visas or Global Business Mobility visas?

Employees will usually prefer to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa because it leads to settlement in the UK, whereas the Senior or Specialist Worker visa is a temporary visa, and they have to leave the UK at the end of it.

However, Tier 2 ICT, now the Global Business Mobility visa and Senior or Specialist Worker visa holders are able to switch to a Skilled Worker visa which also means that they will subsequently be able to apply for ILR after holding the Skilled Worker visa for 5 years.

For the employer, the Senior or Specialist Worker visa is usually a little quicker and easier to obtain. The applicant also doesn’t have to meet the English language eligibility criteria. However, the minimum salary for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa is often higher than for the Skilled Worker visa.

How long is GBM valid vs Skilled Worker visa?

So, how long is GBM valid? With a global mobility visa, you can stay in the UK for 12 months after the start date on your job certificate, and this is something you need to keep in mind when you’re trying to prepare for your visa. You can also extend your visa by 12 months, meaning that the maximum stay you can enjoy on a global mobility visa is 2 years.

The maximum time you can stay in the UK on a Global Business Mobility visa is two years, but this will differ depending on the replacement ICT visa you apply for. These visas are only intended for temporary work, so if your role is replaced by a permanent one of your type of contract changes, you should let your immigration specialist know.

A Skilled Worker Visa can last for up to 5 years, and after that, you can apply for Settlement in the UK. If this is something you’re looking to achieve, once you have obtained your GBM, you can look into other visa routes that have a direct path to settlement, such as the Skilled Worker Visa.

Path to indefinite leave to remain in the UK

Path to indefinite leave to remain in the UK

One of the most common questions we get asked is how Global Mobility visas affect obtaining indefinite leave to remain, otherwise known as ILR, within the UK. With any Tier 2 visa, you may be eligible to apply for ILR as long as you have worked in the UK for more than five years, meet the salary requirements and if your official sponsor needs you to remain in the UK. 

As a standard Global Business Mobility visa lasts for around two years, you will need to have an extension granted promptly to be eligible. This is something that our team at Synergy Immigration can advise you on. Contact us for help, support and advice.

There are lots of senior and well-paid roles that could fit into either a Skilled Worker visa or a GBM – Senior or Specialist Workers visa. In almost every case, a Skilled Worker visa is the better option because it provides a path to settlement in 5 years (and nationality/passport a year later), while routes under the Global Business Mobility visa do not.

Now that the government is not trying to cut net migration and has abolished quotas on Skilled Worker visas, it is difficult to see why a senior executive posted to the UK (possibly with their family) should be forced to leave after 5 years. Fortunately, the issue is largely theoretical. Employers/individuals can opt for a Skilled Worker visa and have that path to settlement in 5 years.

Synergy Immigration Solutions

Synergy Immigration Solutions are here to help. We offer UK visa immigration services for corporate and individual clients. We help small to medium-sized businesses obtain sponsorship licences to enable them to recruit overseas talent, and we help individuals gain visas to work in the UK, including Skilled Worker Visas and Global Business Mobility.

We understand the importance of seeking reliable help and professional services regarding immigration, and our trained professionals will take the time to understand your needs to provide you with the best possible outcome.

Meet the team of immigration law specialists. We make it our mission to act as your main point of contact throughout a complex visa application. You can feel confident that you’re in good hands and getting expert advice tailored to your situation.

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