The UK government has announced wide-ranging changes to its Immigration Rules, including the launch of the new Global Business Mobility, High Potential Individual, and Scale-up routes.

With these changes being implemented between 11 April and 22 August 2022, Pat Saini, head of immigration, outlines the new criteria for these visa routes.

High Potential Individual visa

This route opened on 30 May 2022.

The High Potential Individual visa (HPI) is aimed at attracting international talent to the UK, by allowing international graduates who have graduated from a top 50 global university, as published in the global universities list by the Home Office, to come and live and work in the UK. Under this category:

  • Those eligible can come to the UK unsponsored for up to two years, or three years if they hold a UK PhD equivalent.
  • Dependants are eligible to apply to join/accompany the main applicant.

The HPI route is an unsponsored route, and holders of the visa do not need a job offer to apply for the visa. HPI visa holders can be employed or self employed once in the UK.

Scale-up visa

The route is due to open to new applications on 22 August 2022.

Hailed as ‘the biggest visa improvement in a generation’, the new Scale-up visa is at the centre of the government’s UK Innovation Strategy. The Scale-up visa is intended to assist UK scale-ups in recruiting talented individuals, who have the skills to enable scale-up businesses to continue growing. Under this route:

  • Those with the relevant skillset will be able to obtain sponsorship from a UK company, which meets the definition of a scale-up.
  • The visa has both a sponsored and unsponsored stage. For the first six months, the applicant can only work for the company which has sponsored the visa. After this immigration status is not tied to the employer who sponsored the initial visa.
  • The initial visa will be granted for two years, after which an extension for three years can be applied for. An application for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) can be applied for after five years.
  • Dependants are eligible to apply to join/accompany the main applicant.

Global Business Mobility visa

The Global Business Mobility routes are designed to help both UK businesses who are looking to expand their workforce, and overseas businesses looking to set up operations or send workers to the UK.

The visa routes do not lead to settlement, and permission in these routes will not count towards the qualifying period of stay required to settle. Dependants are eligible to apply to join/accompany the main applicant.

There are five categories under this route; these include:

  • The Senior or Specialist Worker route – for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where the worker is a senior manager or specialist employee and is being assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas.
  • The Graduate Trainee route – this route is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where the worker is on a graduate training course leading to a senior management or specialist position, and is required to do a work placement in the UK.
  • The UK Expansion Worker route – this route is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where the worker is a senior manager or specialist employee, and is being assigned to the UK to undertake work related to a business’s expansion to the UK.
  • The Service Supplier route – this route is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where the worker is either a contractual service supplier employed by an overseas service provider or a self-employed independent professional based overseas, and they need to undertake an assignment in the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade agreements.
  • The Secondment Worker route – this route is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK, where the worker is being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas.

Existing visa routes which may benefit tech companies and tech entrepreneurs, which include the Global Talent visa, Skilled Worker visa and Start-up and Innovator visa routes, may also be an option. Prior advice should be taken to check which route is most suitable.

By AKDSEO