No priority processing under
new Global Business
Mobility route

On 11 April 2022, applications opened for the UK’s Global Business Mobility (GBM) route. This ‘umbrella category’ is for overseas businesses who need to temporarily send workers to the UK for a specific purpose that cannot be done by a settled worker. The Global Business Mobility route consists of five sub-categories for different assignment types:

Four out of the five routes have replaced pre-existing visa categories, with the exception of the Secondment Worker visa, which is a new route under the points-based system. The sub-category which is likely to be most commonly used by businesses is the Senior or Specialist Worker route, which has replaced the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route. A Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows the holder to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job at their employer’s UK branch.

Since its launch, Smith Stone Walters has assisted several businesses in lodging applications for Senior or Specialist Worker visas for their employees, for both in-country extensions and overseas applications. A question we are often asked by employers is how long it will take to process the visa application.

Many businesses using the predecessor ICT route and now the Senior or Specialist Worker route wish to transfer their employees to the UK urgently, often to start work on an important project or to conduct pressing business activities at the business’s UK branch which are not permitted on a Standard Visitor visa. Unfortunately, employers may need to wait a little longer to obtain a Global Business Mobility visa for their employees as the Home Office is not currently offering priority services under this route.

Home Office standard processing times

A Home Office representative confirmed to Smith Stone Walters this week that there is currently only a standard service available for applications under the Global Business Mobility route in its infancy.

The Home Office has standard processing times in place to advise customers how long they can expect to wait to receive a decision on their visa application. Standard processing times begin once the application has been received. Under standard processing times, applicants can expect to receive a decision on their visa within 3 weeks if applying from outside the UK, or within 8 weeks if applying to extend or switch to this visa from within the UK.

Under the predecessor ICT route, visa applicants and their employers could opt to pay for a faster decision using the Home Office’s Priority and Super Priority services. Those using the Priority service usually receive a decision within five working days, and those using the Super Priority service usually receive a decision by the end of the next working day. However as priority services are not yet available under the Global Business Mobility route, employers looking to transfer staff to the UK should factor in the possibility of increased lead times when planning the movement of their assignees.

How can I get a faster decision?

Despite the lack of priority services, there are steps that applicants can take when applying for a Global Business Mobility visa to avoid unnecessary delays and ensure their application is processed as quickly as possible.

Your application may not be decided within the standard processing times if your case is complex, if your application is incomplete or if the Home Office needs to request further information. If there is a problem with your application, the Home Office will contact you to let you know why it will not be decided within the standard processing times, and what will happen next.

For the best chance of receiving a decision on your application within the standard processing times, you should ensure that:

  • Your application is submitted before your current visa expires
  • Your application is completed accurately
  • You include all necessary documents, photographs and evidence of funds if required on the application form
  • You enrol your biometric information and respond to any requests for further information by the dates indicated.

Support with applying for a Global Business Mobility visa

If your business intends to transfer staff to the UK under the new Global Business Mobility routes, SSW can provide up to date legal advice and practical assistance for both employee and applicant. To speak to a qualified immigration advisor, please contact us today.

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