The UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa: the Eligibility Requirements
This article is part of the ‘Global Business Mobility’ series, which provides a detailed summary of the UK Service Supplier Visa route.
There are 2 parts, which cover the following topics:
What is the Purpose of the UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa?
When Can You Apply?
3 Requirements to Satisfy
The Validity Requirements
The Suitability Requirements
The Eligibility Requirements
This is part 2. You can jump to part 1 HERE.
The Eligibility Requirements
The UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa application is a points-based system application. There are point-based and also non-point-based requirements.
You’ll need to score all 60 points from the table below:
|Points requirements||Relevant rules||Points|
|Sponsorship||SNR 5.1. to SNR 5.9.||20|
|Job at an appropriate skill level||SNR 6.1. to SNR 6.7.||20|
|Salary at the required level||SNR 7.1. to SNR 9.3.||20|
Sponsorship for a Senior or Specialist Worker (20 Points)
The Sponsorship requirement consists of 4 elements:
- a certificate of sponsorship
- the sponsor
- also, the continuity of your job
A Certificate of Sponsorship
First of all, a certificate of sponsorship can only be used once. Secondly, at the date of application, it needs to be valid, not withdrawn by the Sponsor. Furthermore, it cannot be cancelled by the Home Office and confirm:
- your name
- that you are being sponsored as a Senior or Specialist Worker
- also, the details of your job
- additionally, salary and any allowances your Sponsor is offering you
- also, PAYE details if HM Revenue and Customs requires income tax and national insurance for the Sponsored job to be paid via PAYE
- the start date (cannot be more than 3 months after the date of application)
- unless you are applying as a high earner (£73,900+ a year), that you have worked as or for an overseas service provider outside the UK for a cumulative period of 12 months. There is no minimum time requirement to satisfy if you earn £73,900 a year or more.
- additionally, whether Appendix ATAS applies, and if it does – you’ll need to submit the ATAS certificate to confirm this.
Your Sponsor needs to be A-rated, registered, licensed and authorised by the Home Office to sponsor a Senior or Specialist Worker. Also, the Sponsor should have paid the required Immigration Skills Charge in full.
How Much it Costs
The amount you need to pay is based on:
- the size of your organisation
- also, how long the worker will work for you, using the start and end dates on their sponsorship certificate
|Period||Small or charitable sponsors||Medium or large sponsors|
|First 12 months||£364||£1,000|
|Each additional 6 months||£182||£500|
How to Tell If You’re a Small or Charitable Sponsor
Your Sponsor is a small Sponsor if at least 2 of the following apply:
- the Sponsor’s annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
- the Sponsor’s total assets are worth £5.1 million or less
- the Sponsor has 50 employees or fewer
Your Sponsor is a charitable sponsor if they are:
- a registered charity in England or Wales
- a registered charity in Scotland
- a registered charity in Northern Ireland – if you’re not on the register, you must provide proof of your charitable status for tax purposes from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- an excepted charity
- an exempt charity
- an ecclesiastical corporation established for charitable purposes
The decision maker will be undertaking checks to ensure that the job you are being sponsored to exists, is not a sham position, and has not been created to obtain a visa.
Additionally, you’ll need to meet the 3rd party rules. You’ll need to prove that you are not being sponsors to:
- the hire of your services to a third party to fill a position with that party, whether temporary or permanent; or
- contract work to undertake an ongoing routine role or to provide an ongoing routine service for a third party, regardless of the nature or length of any arrangement between the sponsor and the 3rd
The Continuity of Your Job
Unless you are applying as a high earner, at the date of application, you must have worked for at least 12 cumulative months for the sponsor group and to continue working there.
The continuity of your job will not be interrupted by the following:
- statutory maternity, paternity, parental, or shared parental leave; or statutory adoption leave; or
- sick leave; or
- assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis, with the agreement of the sponsor group; or
- and finally, taking part in legally organised industrial action.
Job at Appropriate Skill Level for a Senior or Specialist Worker (20 Points)
Your job should have a unique code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations and be eligible for the Global Business Mobility route.
This is unless you are applying for permission to stay and have, or last had, permission as a Senior or Specialist Worker for a job in any of the following occupation codes:
(a) 3411 Artists; or
(b) 3412 Authors, writers and translators; or
(c) 3413 Actors, entertainers and presenters; or
(d) 3414 Dancers and choreographers; or
(e) 3422 Product, clothing and related designers.
In these circumstances, you can continue working in the same job for the same employer in that occupation code.
The Most Appropriate Occupation Code
It is of crucial importance that the Sponsor chooses the most appropriate occupation code for the application.
For example, the decision maker will refuse the application if they have ground to believe that:
- the most appropriate occupation code is not eligible under the Global Business Mobility routes; or
- the most appropriate occupation code has a higher going rate than the proposed salary.
Factors to Consider
When making such an assessment, the decision maker will consider the following factors:
(a) whether the Sponsor has shown a genuine need for the job as described; and
(b) whether you have the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience needed to do the job as described; and
(c) the Sponsor’s history of compliance with the immigration system including, but not limited to, paying its sponsored workers appropriately; and
(d) any additional information from the Sponsor.
20 Points for Salary for a Senior or Specialist Worker
General Salary Requirement
You’ll need to be paid at least £42,400 a year to qualify. This is unless you are applying for permission to stay and were previously granted permission as a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Migrant under the rules in force before 6 April 2011 or as a Work Permit Holder and since then have continuously had permission as a Senior or Specialist Worker.
Maximum Number of Hours
If your contract states that you intend to work more than 48 hours a week, only the salary for the first 48 hours a week will be considered towards the general salary requirement.
For example, you intend to work 60 hours a week for £15 per hour. Your contract states that your annual salary will be £46,800 (£15 x 60 x 52). However, your application will be refused because the decision maker will adjust your working hours to 48 hours a week. For the purposes of the application, you’ll only be getting £37,440 (£15 x 48 x 52) per year.
Going Rate Requirement: Table 1
The going rate is the minimum salary a person should expect to receive if they are employed. You’ll find the going rates for the occupations in Appendix Skilled Occupations.
In addition to meeting the general salary requirement (£42,400 for not more than a 48-hour-a-week contract), you’ll need to prove that the going rate for the occupation is 100%.
The tricky bit to remember here is that if your occupation code is listed at table 1, the going rates listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations are based on a 39-hour per week. If your work week is shorter or longer, the decision maker will adjust your salary accordingly.
John intends to work as a Financial Manager 48 hours a week at the rate of £43,600 a year. Therefore, he will meet the general salary. Also, he will meet the maximum number of hours requirements. However, John will not meet the going rate requirement. Here is why:
According to Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations, the 100% going rate for Financial Managers (unique code 1131) £43,600. However, as we already know, all going rates in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations are based on a 39-hour work week. In view of the fact that John intends to work 48 hours a week (and not 39 hours), the decision maker will adjust his salary to check if he meets the going rate requirement:
1 x (the going rate for the occupation code stated in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations) x (the number of weekly working hours stated by the sponsor ÷ 39)
In John’s case:
(1 x £43,600 per year x 48 hours) ÷ 39 hours = £53,661.53
Therefore, John’s Sponsor needs to pay him at least £53,661.53 per year to meet the going rate requirement, and therefore, the going rate requirement is not met.
Going Rate Requirement: Table 2
Suppose you are being sponsored for a job in one of the health or education occupation codes listed in Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations. In that case, the going rate requirement is 100% of the pro-rated going rate (and the going rate will be pro-rated according to the number of weekly working hours stated by the Sponsor and the pro-rating set out in Appendix Skilled Occupations).
However, when calculating the going rate requirement for table 2, full weekly hours will be included when checking your salary against the going rate, even if you intend to work more than 48 hours a week.
For example, if you intend to work 60 hours a week in an occupation code with a going rate of £39,000, your salary should be £60,000 (1 x £39,000 x 60 ÷ 39) per year, not £48,000 (1 x £39,000 x 48 ÷ 39).
The UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa: the Eligibility Requirements
Non-Points-Based Requirements for a Senior or Specialist Worker
There are two non-points-based requirements:
- Financial requirement
- Maximum length of assignments requirement
The Financial Requirement for a Senior or Specialist Worker
You will meet the financial requirement automatically and don’t need to provide any proof of your funds if you have been in the UK with a valid visa for 12 months or more or you’re a-rated Sponsor agrees to cover your costs of living during the first month in the UK. If so, they’ll need to include this information in the Certificate of Sponsorship.
In all other cases, you’ll need to prove that at the date of application, you had at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days.
Maximum Length of Assignments Requirement for a Senior or Specialist Worker
The maximum total stay allowed for a Senior and Specialist Worker visa is:
- 5 years in any 6-year period if your employer pays you less than £73,900 a year
- 9 years in any 10-year period if you get £73,900 a year or more
The decision maker will include any time you spent in the UK on one of the following immigration categories:
- Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
- Intra-company Transfer visa
- Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)
- UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
For example, if John worked in the UK on a Senior or Specialist Worker visa for 3 years, but for the last 6 months has been working in Sweden and was paid less than £73,900 a year.
The maximum time John could now stay in the UK on a Global Business Mobility visa is 2 years. At the end of that time, he would need to spend another 6 months outside the UK before he would be eligible for a Global Business Mobility visa.
If you scored 60 points and met all non-point-based requirements, your UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa will be approved.
If the decision is unfavourable, you’ll have no right of appeal. However, you can apply for Administrative Review.
What You Can Do:
- work only for the Sponsor named in our Certificate of Sponsorship
- invite your spouse and children (under 18) to join you in the UK
- travel abroad and return to the UK
What You Cannot Do:
- claim benefits (some exceptions apply)
- work for other employers (unless you update your visa)
- settle (apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK)
You can read part 1 HERE.