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How to Apply for a Specialist Worker Visa in the UK

In today’s interconnected world opportunities for working have become more accessible than ever. Companies often need to relocate employees to locations and the UK is no different. If you’re thinking about pursuing work in the UK as a Senior or Specialist Worker this detailed guide will equip you with all the information to smoothly navigate through the application process.

Understanding the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

Previously known as the Intra Company Transfer visa the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker visa plays a role in the UK’s immigration framework. It enables corporations to send their staff members to work for a related business in the UK, particularly in roles that involve graduate-level work or training.

Qualification Requirements

Before delving into applying for this visa category it’s essential to grasp the eligibility criteria associated with it. Meeting these standards is your step towards obtaining your work visa, for the UK.


A notable advantage of the Senior or Specialist Worker visa is that it does not mandate proof of English language proficiency unlike what’s required in the Skilled Worker pathway. However, there are conditions you need to keep in mind;

  • Work Experience Requirement; Unless you are earning a salary of £73,900 or more annually you must have work experience, with a related overseas company to demonstrate your dedication and expertise within the organization.
  • Overseas Work Experience; You should currently be employed by the sponsoring group and must have worked outside the UK for a total of 12 months for the sponsoring group.

Job Matching Skill Level

The position you are transitioning to in the UK must meet criteria. It is crucial that the job aligns with the skill level and falls under the roles for this visa category as outlined in Appendix Skilled Occupations. This is an aspect of determining your eligibility so verifying alignment with UK regulations is essential.

Minimum Salary Requirement

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa also comes with salary guidelines;

  • Your salary should. Exceed the standard threshold of £45,800 per year.
  • Additionally, your salary should correspond to the industry rate for that position as stated in Appendix Skilled Occupations.

Meeting these salary benchmarks ensures that you meet the qualifications, for this visa category.

Sponsorship Requirements

To apply for a Specialist Worker visa successfully the company sponsoring you must meet the criteria;

Licensing Requirement;

Your UK sponsor should possess a Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker sponsor license. The employer must acquire and maintain this license. Detailed instructions, on obtaining a sponsor license can be found on the Home Office website.

Same Sponsor Group;

Your UK sponsor and the overseas entity must be part of the sponsor group.” As per the Global Business Mobility sponsor guidance, a sponsor group refers to any business or organization connected to you through ownership, control, or a joint venture where you are sponsored to work. Understanding and establishing this connection is key during the application process.

Reporting Connection;

To streamline the process you are required to submit a report on the Sponsor Management System for “adding a linked entity.” Instructions for this task can be found in SMS manual 2 of 12 guide 4. This report will generate a submission sheet detailing evidence, like a report or an affidavit. Maintaining records of reported linked entities is crucial to prevent complications in your application journey.

Application Process and Costs

After confirming that you meet the requirements and your sponsor meets the qualifications you can start the application process. Here’s a quick overview;

  • Sponsorship Certificate; Your sponsor must provide a Sponsorship Certificate containing details, about your job, role summary, Standard Occupational Code, and salary.
  • Application Fee; You’ll need to pay a fee for a visa that’s valid for up to three years. The fee amount may vary, so it is recommended to check the Home Office website for information.
  • Healthcare Surcharge; An annual fee for healthcare coverage in the UK is required. The specific amount may change, so it’s important to verify the rate.
  • Skills Charge; Employers, and companies might have to pay an annual Skills Charge related to immigration. This charge is lower for businesses.

The application process and fees are subject to changes making it essential to stay updated through the Home Office website.

Post Successful Application Expectations

After an application;

  • Approval Letter; You will receive a letter of approval confirming your eligibility, for either the Senior or Specialist Worker visa.
  • Visa Sticker; A visa sticker will be issued, usually valid, for 90 days. You need to enter the UK within this time frame.
  • Biometric Residence Permit; If your stay exceeds six months you’ll get a Biometric Residence Permit. For those using the UK Immigration app digital immigration status will be given.
  • Right-to-Work Check; Your UK sponsor must carry out a right-to-work check before your day of work as stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

Duration of Stay

Senior or Specialist Workers can stay in the UK for up to five years at once. Extensions are possible if necessary. On the side, Graduate Trainees can stay for up to 12 months. 

Must meet certain overseas work criteria.

There are also limits on how you can remain in the UK under these schemes;

  • If you apply as a high earner you cannot be granted more than 9 years within any 10 years.
  • If you apply as a high earner you cannot be granted more than 5 years within any 6 years.

It’s crucial to monitor your visa duration to ensure compliance, with these restrictions. 

Getting a Specialist Worker visa, in the UK involves understanding requirements and factors. It’s essential to know the eligibility criteria, sponsorship needs, and the application process to ensure an outcome. By fulfilling these conditions and following UK immigration rules you can have work experience, in the United Kingdom.

In essence, the Senior or Specialist Worker visa offers professionals a chance to expand their skills and contribute to the UK’s diverse workforce.

For information and current guidance, it’s best to check out the official Home Office website.

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