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Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

The global business mobility – Senior or specialist worker visa allows senior managers and specialist employees of foreign nationalities to undertake temporary work assignments at a UK branch of their overseas employer.

For inquiries and support with senior or specialist worker visa applications, contact Total Law’s excellent team of immigration lawyers today.

We will guide you through the entire process to ensure that it is hitch-free for you.

Call us at 0333 305 9375 or use the online form to get in touch.

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    What is the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

    UK visas and immigration, through the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, allow foreign workers that are senior managers and specialist employees to enter the UK and work in an eligible role. The overseas worker must be assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas.

    This visa category replaced the intra-company transfer visa on April 11, 2022.

    The Global Business Mobility visa is a non-immigrant visa that temporarily allows a highly ranked, highly paid foreign worker to work for their overseas business at the UK branch, Office, or subsidiary.

    Being a non-immigrant visa, you will not be allowed to obtain UK settlement or temporary leave to remain when you enter the UK on this visa.

    However, you may be able to switch to another immigration route that will allow you indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

    Your partner and dependent children may also join you in the UK.

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    Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Requirements

    You must meet specific eligibility requirements to qualify as a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa holder. The exact requirements you will need to meet depend on your unique circumstance but generally include;

    • You must be at least 18 years;
    • You must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your UK sponsor;
    • You must work for an overseas business linked to a UK business that will serve as your UK sponsor. This link may be through common ownership, subsidiary control, etc.
    • You must have worked cumulatively for the overseas linked business for at least 12 months. However, this requirement will be waived if you earn at least £73,900 per annum.
    • The job you plan to do in the UK must be on the list of eligible occupations at least RQF Level 6.
    • Your salary must be at least £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for the job, depending on which is higher ;
    • Your UK sponsor must have paid any required Immigration Skills Charge;
    • You must have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
    • You have provided a valid TB certificate if needed.

    Overseas Work Requirement

    When applying for a Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you must meet some work requirements at your overseas employer.

    If your gross annual salary is less than £73,900, you must have worked for the overseas business linked to your UK sponsor for a cumulative period of at least 12 months.

    The 12 months of work outside the UK may be accumulated where you have worked continuously for the linked business within the UK or overseas for at least 12 months before the date of your application, with only short breaks taken for statutory leaves.

    Where your gross salary is £73,900 per year or more, you must be currently working for a business or organization linked to your UK sponsor, but you do not have to have worked for any specified length of time.

    Certificate of Sponsorship

    To obtain a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you will need to have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do. Your certificate of sponsorship must be issued by a UK employer with a valid sponsor license. Such sponsor must be listed by the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors as an A-rated sponsor.

    Suppose you have been granted permission as a Senior or Specialist Worker and are applying to continue working for the same sponsor for which you got a certificate of sponsorship. In that case, you will not need to obtain a new sponsorship certificate.

    Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued no more than three months before your Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker Visa application date. You must include the reference number from the sponsorship certificate with your specialist worker visa application.

    Your sponsorship certificate must contain certain important information. These include;

    • Details of your name, job specification, and salary;
    • Confirmation that you have been working for the overseas employer for at least 12 months if you earn less than £73,900 per year or details that you earn at least £73,900 per year.
    • Details of the start date for your role. Your start date must be no more than three months after the date of your visa application.
    • Confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application that was either granted or refused and has not been withdrawn by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office.

    Genuine Job Requirement and Eligible occupations for a Senior or specialist worker visa

    Senior or specialist worker visa holders must prove to the Home Office that they are entering the UK to work in a genuine job. Working in a genuine job means that the job you are being sponsored to work in exists and has not been created solely for you to be able to apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.

    Suppose the Home Office finds out that your job role was created as an arrangement between you and a UK-based organization to obtain the senior or specialist worker visa or that you have an agreement that will enable you to fill a temporary role with a third party that is not your sponsor. In that case, your application will be refused.

    The Home Office has published a list of eligible jobs for the Global Business Mobility routes. When applying for this visa, you must know the occupation code of the eligible job you are applying for and ensure that you meet the required skill level for the position.

    Most occupations that qualify for the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa are still eligible for the Specialist Worker route; however, some roles do not qualify. Do well to contact an expert immigration lawyer to ascertain that your occupation code qualifies for the specialist worker visa.

    Some of the eligible occupations as listed on the Home Office
    Global Business Mobility: eligible occupations and codes include;

    • Chief executives and senior officials (1115)
    • Production managers and directors in manufacturing (1121)
    • Financial managers and directors (1131)
    • Physical scientists (2113)
    • IT specialist managers (2133); etc.

    Financial and Salary Requirements for the Senior or Specialty Worker Visa

    You must meet certain financial requirements when applying for a senior worker visa. These include;

    • You must meet the salary requirements, requiring that you are paid at least £42,400 or the going rate for the role you are working in.
    • You must prove through bank statements that you have cash funds of at least £1,270 to support yourself in the UK financially. You must have held the money for at least 28 consecutive days. The last day of the 28 days must be no more than 31 days before your specialist worker visa application date. You will be exempted from this financial requirement if;
    • Through the sponsorship certificate, your employer shows that they agree to support your first month of stay in the Uk with at least £1,270.
    • You have been resident in the UK for at least 12 months on another visa route.

    Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Application Process

    You must complete your specialist worker application within three months of obtaining your certificate of sponsorship and no more than three months before your start date. You can apply for this visa from within or outside the UK.

    The application is online through the Home Office website ( As part f your application, you will be required to prove your identity. Depending on where you’re from and the type of passport you have, you will either;

    • have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application center to get a biometric residence permit, or
    • use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    The Home Office will direct you on what to do when you make your application. Afterward, you must pay the application fee and annual immigration health surcharge and submit supporting documentation to the visa application center.

    Switching into the Senior or Specialist Worker Route

    If you currently have to leave to remain based on a different immigration category, you may be able to extend your stay in the UK by Switching to the Senior or Specialist Worker route.

    The process is the same as applying from outside the country, but you may not have to meet the financial requirements.

    If you were granted permission to remain as a visitor, Short-term student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, or Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside the Immigration Rules, you would not be able to switch to the specialist worker route.

    Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:

    • You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
    • The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
    • You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months


    Supporting Documents for the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Application

    When applying for a senior or specialist worker visa, you must submit certain documents to support your application. The documents you will submit include;

    • A valid passport with at least one blank page or other identity documents that show your identity and nationality.
    • Documents showing details of your job title and salary
    • Certificate of a sponsorship reference number
    • Your job’s occupation code, your employer’s name, and their sponsor license number
    • Evidence that you meet the financial requirements to support your stay in the UK; unless your employer has
    • Evidence that you work for your employer overseas.
    • If you are applying for the Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa, you must provide details of the training program.
    • Your tuberculosis test results if you are from a TB endemic country
    • You may be asked for a valid ATAS certificate if your job involves researching a sensitive subject at a Ph.D. level or higher.

    Visa Application Fees

    You must pay the application fees as part of your application for a senior or specialist worker visa. The standard application fees depend on where you are applying from and how long you intend to stay in the UK.

    If you apply from outside the UK and intend to stay for more than three years, you will pay £625, but if you intend to stay for more than three years, you will pay £1,235. If you are applying to switch to a senior or specialist worker visa from inside the UK, you will pay £719 if you intend to stay in the UK for less than three years. However, if you intend to stay for more than three years, you will pay £1,423

    In addition to the visa application fee, you will also be required to pay the annual immigration health surcharge, usually £624 per year.

    Visa Processing Time and Duration of Stay

    Once you have applied online, paid the required fees, and submitted your supporting documentation, the Home Office will start processing your application. Typically, you will get a decision within three weeks. However, factors like failing to submit complete supporting documents, the presence of a previous criminal conviction, etc., may cause your processing time to be longer.

    However, some visa application centers allow senior or specialist worker visa applicants to pay for faster processing.

    You will be granted entry clearance into the UK if your visa application is approved. You will be able to stay in the UK for five years or the period stipulated on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

    You can apply to extend your Senior or Specialist Worker Visa for a maximum period of 5 years in any six years if you are paid less than £73,900 per year, or nine years in any ten years if you are paid £73,900 or more per year.

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      Switching to a Different Immigration Route

      Because the Global business mobility visa does not allow indefinite leave to remain, you may be able to switch to a different visa category that grants you indefinite leave to remain.

      Such immigration routes include; the Skilled Worker route or the Start-up route when combined with the Innovator route.

      You will need to satisfy the requirements of the immigration route that you wish to extend into.

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        How can Total Law help?

        Total Law is authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our team of immigration lawyers is experienced in all areas of British immigration. With countless successful applications aided through the years, we can help you through the entire process to ensure that you put forward the most robust possible application to guarantee success.
        Our immigration lawyers will help you determine that you meet the eligibility criteria for a senior or specialist worker visa and will advise you detailedly on which supporting documentation you should have. In addition, years of experience with this process have made us aware of the common mistakes that applicant make that causes application refusal. Therefore, we will help you avoid these errors to ensure that your application is consistent and readily accepted.

        If you’ve had a previous refusal, Total Law can help you file an appeal or walk you through the re-application process to ensure you get accepted.
        So contact us today at 0333 305 9375 to start your journey towards a successful UK visa application.


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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  While in the UK on a specialist worker visa, you are permitted to work for your UK sponsor, undertake a course of study, or even voluntary work. However, senior or specialist workers are not permitted to take supplementary employment in addition to their primary job while in the UK. You are also not permitted to access public funds.

                  Yes. The senior or specialist worker visa permits you to bring your partner and dependent children under 18 with you to the UK. However, they must make separate applications, pay individual application fees and provide proof of their relationship with you. You must also prove that you have sufficient funds to care for your dependents.