UK Secondment Worker Visa: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: 30 March 2023

The UK Secondment Worker Visa, one of five new sponsored routes included in the Global Business Mobility (GMB) visa program, partially updates earlier routes and introduces new requirements to support trade and economic expansion in the UK.

In this article, we’re going to provide you with guidance on UK Secondment Worker Visa and how you can start your application.

This guide covers:

What Is UK Secondment Worker Visa?

The Secondment Worker Visa in Global Business Mobility is for overseas workers who wish to be posted temporarily in the UK by their overseas employers as part of a high-value contract or investment.

The Secondment Worker Visa does not directly lead to settlement in the UK. However, you can switch to another immigration route that leads to settlement. Applicants may or may not be accompanied by a spouse and dependent children.

Benefits of UK Secondment Worker Visa

Apart from the opportunity to work in the UK, the UK Secondment Worker Visa provides you with the following benefits:

  • You can bring eligible family members to the UK
  • You can take time to study
  • You can engage in voluntary activities with charities
  • You can travel within and outside the UK

Eligibility and Requirements for UK Secondment Worker Visa Application

If you’re a foreign worker who wishes to apply for a UK Secondment Worker Visa, you must meet the following eligibility criteria and requirements:

  • You have an overseas employer that has a high-value contract with a UK sponsor
  • You have been working outside the UK for your overseas employer for 12 months prior to applying for a visa
  • The Home Office must approve the applicant’s sponsor in the UK in order to sponsor foreign workers,
  • You have a Certificate of Sponsorship provided by your UK sponsor
  • Your job in the UK must be on the eligible occupation list
  • You must have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in the UK

Apart from these requirements, your overseas employer is expected to have a contract with your UK sponsor. The worth of the contract must be a minimum of £50 million.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirements for UK Secondment Worker Visa

As an applicant, you need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship that has been issued by a UK-based employer. Also, this employer must be authorized by the Home Office to sponsor a Secondment Worker.

Another requirement is that your sponsor in the UK has a contract with your overseas employer. They’ll also have to make sure that this contract is registered with the Home Office.

Before you make your application, please make sure that your Certificate of Sponsorship is still valid and has been issued within the last three months.

UK Secondment Worker Visa Qualification Requirements

To be eligible for Secondment Worker Visa, the job you are being sponsored to do must be an eligible job with a minimum skill level or higher.

The job you intend to do must be skilled to at least Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 6. You do not have to have a degree, but the role must be equivalent to a graduate-level role.

A list of jobs that are eligible for a Secondment Worker Visa has been published by the Home Office. You can check this list to see the appropriate occupation code, job type, and job titles.

Salary Requirements for Secondment Worker Visa

As a Secondment Worker Visa applicant, you’re not required to meet a general salary requirement or the going rate for the occupation.

Costs for Secondment Worker Visa

When you apply for a UK Secondment Worker Visa, there are a few fees that you’ll be expected to pay.

These are:

  • Application fee of £259
  • A yearly healthcare surcharge of approximately £624

You’ll typically need to have at least £1,270 to support yourself (unless you’re exempt) in addition to these fees.

Language Requirement

Applicants for Secondment Worker Visa aren’t required to meet an English language requirement.

Secondment Worker Visa: Things To Note

One important requirement for Secondment Worker Visa application is that you’re able to prove that your job is a legitimate one.

Your application will be denied if there are plausible grounds to suspect that the position you are being sponsored for either does not exist, is a hoax, or was created primarily so that you can apply for a Secondment Worker Visa.

Secondment Worker Visa Application

If you wish to apply for a UK Secondment Worker Visa, you must submit your application online up to three months before you plan to work in the UK. After completing your online application, you’ll submit your application documents, pay the visa fees, and prove your identity.

To prove your identity, you have to give your biometric information, such as photos and fingerprints. This biometric information can be collected from the Visa Application Center. This information is used to create a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Some applicants may be asked to prove their identity by scanning their identity documents from the “UK Immigration: ID Check” application. How you’ll prove your identity depends on where you’re from and your passport.

Applicants with a UK Secondment Worker visa will need to obtain a Biometric Residence Permit from a designated location within 10 days of their arrival in the UK.

Global Mobility Secondment Worker Visa: Required Documents

As an applicant for a UK Secondment Worker Visa, you’ll be required to submit the following documents to complete your visa application:

  • Passport or other valid travel document showing your identity and nationality
  • The reference number on the Certificate of Sponsorship given by your UK sponsor
  • Occupational code and job title of your job in the UK
  • All documents showing the UK sponsor’s name and sponsor license number
  • Evidence that you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 months, documents such as payroll, or an official employment letter from your employer can help
  • Financial documents that show your financial capacity to support yourself in the UK
  • A valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate if your job involves researching a sensitive topic at the doctoral level or higher
  • Tuberculosis test results, if applied from one of the listed countries
  • If family members are applying with you, such as documents proving family ties, marriage certificate or civil partnership, birth certificate of children, adoption certificates
  • If your biometric information (fingerprint and photo) is requested at the visa application center, you will need a blank page in your passport for the visa

All application documents must be in English or Welsh; otherwise, they must be submitted with certified translations.

Secondment Worker Visa: Family Inclusion

Applicants for a Secondment Worker Visa can bring eligible family members to the UK with them. Eligible family members include the following:

  • Your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner
  • Unmarried children under the age of 18 (including children born in the UK during your stay)
  • Unmarried children who have reached the age of 18 but are dependent on their parents

Your family members can stay in the UK for the same period as you if they can prove their relationship. Before proceeding with your application, it’ll be useful to consult an experienced immigration professional for additional required documents.

Family members accompanying you must also save additional money in their savings to come to the UK. Additional amounts of money for family members are as follows:

  • £315 for a dependent child
  • £200 for each other dependent child
  • £285 for spouse or partner

Validity of Secondment Worker Visa

With a Secondment Worker Visa, you can stay in the UK for either,

  • For 12 months after the start date of the job specified in your sponsorship certificate, or
  • For the period specified on your sponsorship certificate plus 14 days

UK Secondment Worker visa holders can apply to extend their stay in the UK. If your application is approved, you will be allowed to stay in the UK for an additional 12 months. The maximum period a foreign national can stay in the UK on a Secondment Worker visa is two years.

Settlement in the UK Through Secondment Worker Route

A Secondment Worker visa doesn’t directly lead to UK settlement.

On the other hand, in the UK, Secondment Worker Visa holders can switch to another immigration visa that leads to settlement, such as a Start-up visa or Skilled Worker visa, when combined with an Innovator visa. When switching to another visa that leads to settlement, you’ll be required to meet all the requirements of the immigration route.

Application for a Global Business Mobility Sponsor License

In this section, we’ll explain how an overseas company can apply for a Global Business Mobility sponsor license.

Businesses of all sizes can use the Global Business Mobility routes as long as they have a trading presence outside of the UK and a connection to a UK company.

In order to hold a Global Business Mobility sponsor license, the UK company that will employ the worker is required to have:

  • An existing presence in the UK
  • Connections links to a company operating abroad from which it will receive the employees
  • Staff who are qualified and responsible for managing the license
  • Systems to meet the sponsor license duties

UK Secondment Worker Visa Route: Conclusion

The UK Secondment Worker route is a visa issued for foreigners working in overseas companies doing business in the UK. Under this visa, overseas companies can expand their business in the UK, create a commercial asset, or transfer personnel.

Like other visas under global business mobility, the UK Secondment Workers’ visa aims to strengthen the UK’s economy and trade.

Although the Secondment Worker Visa application process may appear complicated, it can be completed easily with the assistance of advisors.

Frequently Asked Questions About the UK Secondment Worker Visa

What is UK Secondment Worker Route?

The secondment worker route is for overseas companies and employees who can be seconded to the UK to work for the UK company, also referred to as the sponsor.

This is a visa scheme listed under the Global Business Mobility which aims to strengthen the UK’s business environment.

Can any company working overseas apply for a UK Secondment Worker Visa?

To be able to send workers to the UK under a Secondment Worker visa, overseas employers must meet the following requirements:

  • The foreign employer has a suitable contract with a UK organization to become a UK sponsor
  • There must be a contract of at least £50 million between the UK sponsor and the overseas company
  • The sponsorin the UK must hold a valid Temporary Worker Sponsor license

Is the UK Secondment Worker visa suitable for every employee?

Foreign workers wishing to apply for a Secondment Worker visa must meet the following requirements:

  • The applicant must have been working for their employer for 12 months before applying for a Secondment Worker visa,
  • The applicant, as a current employee of the overseas company, must enter into a high-value contract with his sponsor in the UK,
  • The applicant must have a Certificate of Sponsorship,
  • The applicants must do one of the jobs on the Eligible Occupations List during their stay in the UK,
  • The applicants must have sufficient resources to make a living during their stay in the UK.

How long does it take to get a UK Secondment Worker visa?

Visa applications take an average of three weeks to complete after the applicant submits the online application, submits all required documents, and pays the visa fee.

Applying for a Secondment Worker visa from within the UK can take up to eight weeks for the visa application to be processed.

Can applicants for a Secondment Worker visa take their family to the UK?

Foreign workers applying for a Secondment Worker visa can bring their eligible family members to the UK.

Eligible family members who prove their relationship with the applicant may remain in the UK as long as the applicant.

The criteria required for eligible family members are:

  • A spouse, civil partner, or unmarried de facto partner,
  • Unmarried children under the age of 18,
  • Unmarried children over 18 years of age who are dependent on their parents.

What is the difference between a secondment worker visa and an expansion visa?

A high-value contract between the foreign employer and the UK sponsor is a requirement for the Secondment Worker visa. Before the overseas employer can second workers to the UK, the contract between the overseas employer and the UK sponsor must be worth at least £50 million. With the UK Expansion Worker Visa, there is no such requirement though.

Is there a salary requirement for the mobility Secondment Worker route?

No, there is no salary requirement for this type of visa application.

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