Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is for senior managers and specialist employees who are being deployed to work at the UK branch of their current employer.
Awards and Accreditations
The Senior or Specialist Worker visa category is used by multinational organisations to transfer skilled employees from an overseas office to fill a position in their UK office which cannot be filled by a settled worker.
You will need to have an offer of employment in the UK from a licensed sponsor before applying for a visa and the overseas employer must be linked by common ownership or control to the UK branch.
The Senior or Specialist Worker visa category can be very complicated as the rules, salary thresholds and criteria are often changed by UKVI. Our expert legal team can ensure your organization remains up to date with the frequent changes in immigration law and that there is no disruption to your current staffing level and future recruitment needs.
This visa has replaced the Intra-company Transfer visa, previously the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term Staff visa.
Requirements for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
To qualify for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You are aged 18 or over,
- You are currently working for a business or organisation that is linked to your UK sponsor by common ownership or control on which you are sponsored to work,
- You have worked outside the UK for the linked business for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless you are a high earner earning £73,900 per year or more,
- You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your UK sponsor for the job you are planning to do,
- The job you are planning to do is genuine and hasn’t been created to facilitate your entry to the United Kingdom,
- The job you are planning to do is skilled to at least RQF Level 6,
- Your salary will be equal to or exceed both £45,800 per year and the prevailing wage for the job,
- Your UK sponsor has paid the required Immigration Skills Charge (if applicable),
- You have enough money to maintain and accommodate yourself without recourse to public funds, and
- You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.
The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances. You should seek advice from an experienced UK immigration lawyer.
Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Overseas Work Requirement
If you are applying for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you must have worked for the linked business or organisation for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless you are a high earner earning £73,900 per year or more,
The 12 months’ work outside the UK can be accumulated over a historical period if you have worked continuously for the linked business or organisation, in the UK or abroad, for at least 12 months prior to the date of application, and any breaks have only been for statutory maternity, paternity, parental or shared parental leave, statutory adoption leave, sick leave, or assisting in a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis with the agreement of the linked business or organisation.
If you earn £73,900 or more per year, you must be employed by a business or organisation that is linked to your UK sponsor by common ownership or control. However, you do not need to have been employed outside the UK for a specific length of time.
Genuine Employment Requirement
To be granted a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you must prove to the Home Office that the position you are being sponsored for is genuine. Your application for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa will be denied if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the job for which you are being sponsored does not exist, is fraudulent, or has been created primarily to allow you to apply for the visa.
The Home Office will also want to be satisfied that you have not entered into an arrangement whereby you will fill a temporary or permanent position with a third party who is not your sponsor or engage in contract work that entails performing an ongoing role or providing a service to a third party who is not your sponsor.
Certificate of Sponsorship
To secure a UK 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 will need to have been issued by an employer that is authorised by the Home Office to sponsor a Senior or Specialist Worker.
Your sponsor must be an A-rated licenced sponsor on the Home Office’s register of licenced sponsors unless you were previously granted permission as a Senior or Specialist Worker and are applying to continue working for the same sponsor as in your previous permission.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued no more than three months prior to the date of your application for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa. Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include the following required information:
- Your full name,
- Details of the job and salary offered by your sponsoring organization,
- Confirmation that you have worked for your employer outside the United Kingdom for at least 12 months, unless you earn £73,900 or more per year,
- A commencement date that is no more than three months after the application date for your UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa,
- Confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application that was granted or denied, and that it has not been revoked by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office.
Practical Considerations for Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Applications
Sponsors under this route are subject to the Immigration Skills Charge. The Certificate of Sponsorship must state whether the Charge is payable, and if so that it has been paid.
Certain requirements vary depending on the level of the applicant’s salary. Applicants earning a salary of at least £73,900 (based on a maximum 48-hour working week) are classed as “high earners” and benefit from certain criteria being relaxed.
- High earners do not need to have been working outside the UK for the sponsoring organization prior to application. They are only required to be currently working for the sponsoring organization.
- The maximum length of assignments for high earners is nine years in any ten.
Switching into the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Route
You may switch your status into the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa route from other routes unless your current leave to remain is as a, Visitor, Short-term Student, Parent of a Short-term Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or as a person with leave outside the Immigration Rules.
How We Can Help You
Our experienced immigration lawyers have a proven track record of success in helping businesses across a wide variety of industries and their employees with their visa applications. Our team regularly works with organizations in Canada and the United States, assisting them with moving staff to the UK to assist with large projects.
If your UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa has been refused you may submit a fresh application or file an Administrative Review application if there are sufficient legal merits and the decision-maker has made a clear error.
For further information, please schedule a consultation.
Related Content: UK Skilled Worker Visa
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UK Immigration Frequently Asked Questions
Our team of UK immigration lawyers will handle your case promptly and diligently until you achieve the desired outcome. Your dedicated UK immigration attorney will provide you with an estimated processing period for your case and keep you informed through each stage of the UK visa process. To expedite the processing of your application, we will ensure that your forms are meticulously completed and that you provide sufficient supporting documentation.
However, please note that the UKVI processing time depends on several factors including the volume of cases the UKVI is receiving and whether there are any priority programs where UKVI gives precedence to applicants from war torn countries or countries affected by natural disasters.
We can offer a fast-track service if your application is time sensitive. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about this package and all the services provided by our immigration lawyers.
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Time and Stress Management: Navigating the UK visa application process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the requirements. By hiring one of our immigration lawyers, you can offload the paperwork, legal aspects, and administrative tasks to them, allowing you to focus on other important matters.
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