December 9, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

May 2022 Global Immigration Alert

Please note: while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the below contains information regarding global restrictions and closures as they stand today. Given the constantly changing nature of this situation, we highly recommend reviewing any global mobility inquiries on a case-by-case basis, including any consulate-specific or immigration authority resources, in “real-time” before traveling internationally. Please reach out to our Global Mobility Team in advance of any international travel.

Australia – Legislation Change

As of July 1, 2022 Australia will ease the stay of TSS 482 visa holders. It will allow a third onshore TSS 482 visa application in the Short-term stream, provided the TSS 482 visa holder was in Australia as the holder of a 482 visa in the Short-term stream for periods that total at least 12 months between February 1, 2020 and December 14, 2021. A “sunset “clause applies, and will limit this concession to applications filed before July 1, 2023.

Belgium – Employer Obligations in the Brussels Region

Employers of foreign nationals in the Brussels region should be aware that they face immigration obligations during the validity of the single permit which could be criminally sanctioned, if not followed. It is mandatory that the employer file a standard verification form, pay slips, and the individual account to the Brussels authorities on an annual basis, even though the single permit will be granted for a period of 3 years. These documents must be submitted every year, at the latest one month after the anniversary date of the start of validity of the work authorization. The purpose of this obligation is to allow the Brussels authorities to verify that the salary threshold for highly skilled personnel has been respected (and if not, to revoke the single permit).

China – Lockdown in Shanghai continues

Shanghai is still in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and as a result governmental offices remain closed. Business visitors whose status will expire during the lockdown will be able to file the extension once the lockdown will be lifted; as of this writing this is expected to be some time in May. Visitors are considered to be in good status during the lockdown even if the visitor visa will expire during this time.

Denmark – DISCO Code

As of March 1, 2022, a DISCO code (which is an international professional classification) will be required for work permit extension filings.

The Danish immigration authorities (SIRI) require such a code to assess whether the salary corresponds to the Danish standard. A link to the Disco-codes can be found at the Danmarks Statistik site here . It is unfortunately only presented in the Danish language

Danmark Statistik points to the Statbank Denmark site, which is in English and may be of help for gaining an understanding of applicable codes and the associated salaries.

Italy – New Website

Italian authorities will release a new website and work permit and family clearance applications will not be able to filed between April 22, 2022 to May 10, 2022. We also expect processing delays due to limited operations of immigration offices during this transition period.

United Kingdom – Introduction of new UK Work and Business related Visas

As part of the Government move to modernize and facilitate business operations and overseas worker mobility, new visa pathways are being introduced, including changes to the existing licence sponsored routes. The launch of three new visa routes is scheduled as follows:

Global Business Mobility, opening on 11 April and replacing existing ICT routes:

  • GBM: Senior or Specialist Worker which will replace the Intra-Company Transfer route, and
  • GBM: Graduate Trainee: this will replace the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route .

High Potential Individual, opening on 30 May .

Scale-up, opening on 22 August .

Under the Global Business Mobility category, the following routes are opening:

-UK Expansion Worker visa: this visa allows an overseas business to sponsor an existing employee in a senior or specialist role to establish a company’s branch in the UK. The maximum time allowed on this visa is 2 years, and the employee can then switch to another route, such as Skilled Worker. This visa has replaced previously existed Overseas Sole Representative route, which is now closed for new applicants.

-Senior or Specialist Worker and Graduate Trainee visa: this visa replaces the Intra-Company Transfer visa and allows a company to sponsor an existing overseas employee to work for the business’s UK branch. The minimum salary for Senior or Specialist Worker was raised to £42,400 per annum, and for the Graduate Trainee category it is now set at £23,100 per annum. This visa does not lead to settlement, and the UKVI has rejected a suggestion from the Migration Advisory Committee to allow settlement for these visa holders.

All existing ICT licence registered businesses were automatically switched into a Senior or Specialist Worker and Graduate Trainee licence under the GMB route. The existing CoS allocation was switched to the GBM category, and all valid assigned Certificates of Sponsorship under the ICT route may be used for GBM visa applications, as long as the new minimum salary level is met.

Secondment Worker visa: this visa allows an overseas company to transfer an employee to the UK to carry out a specific job for a different organization as part of execution of a high-value contract in the UK. The transferred employee must have worked for the overseas business for at least 12 months outside the UK. The maximum time allowed on this visa is 2 years and which the worker can switch into a different route.

Other visa types under non-sponsorship route include:

High Potential Individual visa: this type of visa is for overseas graduates who within the last 5 years completed studies with a Top 50 global university as listed on the Home Office website. The visa validity will be 2 years for Bachelor and Master degree graduates or 3 years for PhD graduates.

Scale-up visa – this type of visa is for companies with high level of growth in the past 3 years. To apply for a scale-up license, the company must show at least 20% of annual turnover or increase of staff within the relevant period. Approved companies will be able to sponsor migrants for a degree-level positions on a salary of no less than £33,000 per year. The main benefit of this route is the exemption from the Immigration Skills Surcharge.

Updated UK visa fees from 6 April 2022

Certain UK visa application fees increased on 6 April 2022, and the new fee schedule can be found here. There was an increase of £15 in visa fees for most UK work and visitor visa routes. Citizenship and sponsor licence rates are unchanged, as well as the Immigration Health Surcharge and Immigration Skills Charge.

UK visa processing delays and suspension of Priority services for overseas applications

Priority and super priority services for UK overseas visa applications- – including work, study and family routes – – remain unavailable. Applicants are looking at least 3 weeks’ wait following their biometric appointments for work and study visa applications, and at least 3 months for family visas. Customers with standard applications in study, work, and family routes are also expected to experience some delays in processing. This is because the UKVI is currently prioritising applications made under the Ukraine Family and Home Schemes in response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the invasion of Ukraine.