The new Global Business Mobility (GBM) routes are launching on Monday, 11 April 2022, replacing the existing Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) routes, with the GBM: Senior/Specialist Worker route replacing the ICT route and the GBM: Graduate Trainee route replacing the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route.
Sponsors who hold a valid ICT sponsor licence as of 10 April 2022 will automatically have the GBM: Senior/Specialist Worker route added to their licence.
Graduate Trainee Route
The GBM: Graduate Trainee route will only be added to a sponsor licence if the sponsor has requested an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee CoS allocation at any time since 1December 2020 or if at any time in the past, the sponsor has assigned an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee CoS to a graduate trainee. The Home Office will match the number of allocated GBM Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS’) to the total allocation of Intra-Company CoS’ on a licence as of 10 April 2022.
An Intra-Company CoS assigned to a sponsored worker before 9am on 11 April 2022 can be used with a GBM visa application if an ICT visa application was not submitted before that date and time, provided the Intra-Company CoS has not expired. ICT visa applications submitted prior to 9am on 11April 2022 will be processed as normal by the Home Office even if a decision is made after this date.
Migrant workers who submitted ICT visa applications before 9am on 11 April 2022, and who hold ICT visas after this date are permitted to extend into the GBM Senior/Specialist Worker route when their ICT visa is expiring, subject to the rules on maximum length of stay in the UK and eligibility criteria. The GBM routes, as with the existing ICT routes, do not lead to settlement, however GBM visa holders may switch to a settlement route when in the UK, such as the Skilled Worker route, if eligible.
Minimum salary threshold
The minimum salary threshold for GBM Senior/Specialist Worker will be the higher of £42,400 or the going rate for the role, which is slightly higher than the £41,500 threshold under the ICT route. The existing 12-month employment period at the overseas entity remains, unless the GBM: Senior/Specialist Worker candidate will be paid £73,900 or more in the UK. There continues to be no English language requirement and the minimum skill level remains at Degree-level RQF Level 6.
Workers who have been assigned an ICT CoS (before 9am on 11April 2022) with an annual salary below £42,400 or an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee CoS with an annual salary below £23,100 will not be eligible for a GBM visa unless their sponsors increase their salaries to the required minimum amount and add sponsor notes to their CoS’ (via the Sponsorship Management System) informing the Home Office of the increase.
Despite the scrapping of the Intra-Company routes, sponsors will retain their ICT licences for the sole purpose of reporting on workers with existing ICT visas, however there will be no active Intra-Company CoS allocation on the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).
Sponsors with pending ICT CoS allocation or renewal requests submitted before 11April 2022 will be allocated with GBM: Senior/Specialist Worker CoS’ if their requests are approved. However, for sponsors with pending Intra-Company Graduate Trainee CoS allocation or renewal requests submitted before 11April 2022, they will have to re-submit these requests on or after this date.
Licence expiry dates
To implement the GBM routes into the UK’s sponsorship system, the SMS and the online sponsor licence application portal will both be unavailable to sponsors from 7pm on Friday 8April 2022 to approximately 9am on 11April 2022. During this time, all saved draft sponsor licence applications will be deleted.
Those sponsors with a licence expiry date between 8April 2022 and 11April 2022 will automatically have their licence end date extended by four calendar days. During this four day extension period, sponsors must submit their licence renewal applications to retain their licence and safeguard the employment of any sponsored workers.
As with any change to the UK immigration system, inevitably there a few glitches. Only time will tell whether the move from the Intra-Company routes to the Global Business Mobility routes will be smooth sailing.