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Secondment Workers

Secondment Worker visa

The Global Business Mobility- Secondment Worker route enables the employees of overseas businesses to be seconded to the UK on a temporary basis to undertake an eligible role under a high value contract or investment which has been entered into with a UK business.

Our business immigration team at Freeths can support the UK business to secure the required licence under this route and can help the overseas business to ensure all the requirements are met to secure visa clearance to enable their employees to transfer to the UK on secondment. Specialist support can smooth out the licence and visa applications processes, ensuring that the secondees can transfer to the UK to deliver the contract within the required time frame, thereby avoiding delay and associated loss of revenue.

To secure clearance as a Secondment Worker, the following requirements need to be met:

  • The overseas business must have entered into a high value contract or investment which carries a value of at least £50 million, with a UK business.
  • The UK business must be licensed by UK Visas and Immigration, part of the UK Home Office, to sponsor overseas nationals as Secondment Workers, and they must have registered the relevant contract with the Home Office.
  • The proposed secondee(s) must have worked outside the UK for the overseas business for a cumulative period of at least 12 months, unless they are applying for an extension to work for the same sponsor.
  • The UK business must assign a certificate of sponsorship to the proposed Secondment Worker.
  • The job must be at the required skill level, which is at least RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent), although the proposed Secondment Worker does not necessarily need a degree to meet this requirement.
  • The proposed Secondment Worker must have sufficient funds to maintain themselves, although most UK sponsors certify maintenance for their sponsored workers.
  • They must have a TB certificate, if required.

The exact requirements will depend on the business’ circumstances and the proposed Secondment Worker(s)’ circumstances. Freeths immigration team can provide expert and tailored advice to guide both businesses and the proposed Secondment Workers through the process.

Benefits of the Secondment Worker route

Secondment Workers do not need to meet an English language requirement. The UK entity is not required to meet a minimum salary threshold for the role, save that any UK based workers must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. The Secondment Worker route is exempt from the Immigration Skills Charge which would ordinarily be charged at a rate of £1000 per year of the visa for any company which is not classed as a small company or a charity.

Secondment Worker route – visa length and conditions

The Secondment Worker visa is granted for 12 months. It can be extended for a further 12-month period. The maximum period the visa holder can remain in the UK in this category is 2 years. It may be possible to switch to a different visa category in the UK, if the eligibility requirements of the new visa route are met.

A Secondment Worker’s dependants (partner and children) are eligible to apply for visas to accompany and remain with the main applicant in the UK.

Visa holders can work for the licensed UK business, as described in their certificate of sponsorship. They cannot undertake a second job in the UK. They are permitted to study and/or to undertake voluntary work in the UK while on secondment. Secondment Workers and their dependants can access NHS services in the UK. They are not however permitted to access public funds.

This route does not lead to settlement but can be added to other visas as a route to settlement. The maximum cumulative period allowed, in combination with other Global Business Mobility routes, is 5 years in any 6-year period.

How can Freeths help?

Our team of immigration solicitors can deal with all aspects of the Secondment Worker licence and visa process for the UK business, the overseas business and the proposed secondees. This will include assessing the viability of the proposal, including assessing whether the contract or investment is a qualifying high value contract or investment, whether the UK business will be eligible to secure a licence, whether the role will qualify and whether the proposed secondee(s) will be eligible to secure visa clearance.

At Freeths, we provide a responsive, full-service approach to ensure every visa matter is dealt with successfully and with a short lead time. With Freeths expert immigration support, you can be confident of securing the required immigration permission to transfer your secondees to the UK.

Contact our business immigration team:


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