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Secondment Worker Visa

The Secondment Worker visa allows you to come to the UK to carry out certain contract work for your employer.

For more information about the Secondment Worker visa, including how you can apply for it, or more information about Global Business Mobility visas, reach out to our legal experts today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

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    Overview of the Secondment Worker Visa

    The UK Secondment Worker visa is aimed at individuals who are being transferred to the UK by an overseas employer to carry out contract work for a different UK-based organisation.

    The overseas employer must have a high-value contract with the UK organisation for you to be eligible for this visa.

    You will normally be told by your employer if the type of contract makes you eligible for a Secondment Worker visa.

    This visa is a part of the UK government’s Global Business Mobility category of work visas.

    What Is the Eligibility Criteria for the Secondment Worker Visa?

    In order to be eligible for the Secondment Worker visa, you must:

    • Be an existing employee of an overseas organisation that has a high-value contract with your UK sponsor that has been approved by the Home Office
    • Have worked for your overseas employer for at least 12 months outside the UK
    • Have a certificate of sponsorship from your sponsor with information about the work you will do in the UK
    • Do a job in the UK that’s on the list of eligible occupations

    What Can I Do With a Secondment Worker Visa?

    Secondment Worker visa holders will be able to do the following in the UK:

    • Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
    • Study
    • Bring your partner and children with you as your dependants, if they’re eligible
    • Do voluntary work
    • Travel abroad and return to the UK

    Note that you will not be able to:

    • Access most public funds or the State Pension
    • Change jobs unless you update your visa
    • Apply to settle permanently in the UK through indefinite leave to remain
    • Do a second job

    What Supporting Documents Will I Need to Provide?

    Core Documents

    You will need to provide the following documents when applying for a Secondment Worker visa:

    • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number (you will be given this by your employer)
    • A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
    • Your job title and your job’s occupation code
    • The name of your sponsor and their sponsor licence number (this will be on your certificate of sponsorship)
    • Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, such as bank statements (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows that your sponsor can support you)
    • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
    • Your tuberculosis test results (only if you’re from a listed country)

    Additional Documents You May Need

    You may also be asked to provide some additional documents with your visa application. These may include the following:

    • Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK for at least 12 months, such as through:
      • Printed payslips
      • Online payslips supported by a letter from your sponsor signed by a senior staff member
      • Bank or building society statements
      • A building society pass book
    • A valid ATAS certificate if you need one because your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher

    Note that for all of the documents you provide, you’ll need to provide a certified translation for any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

    How Long Can I Stay in the UK For on the secondment Worker visa?

    Secondment Workers will be able to stay in the UK for either 12 months after the start date of the job on their certificate of sponsorship, or the time given on their certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

    You will be able to extend your visa by an extra 12 months if you wish. However, the maximum time you’ll be able to stay in the UK on this visa is 2 years.

    Note that if you’ve spent time in the UK on this or another visa, you may not be able to stay on a Secondment Worker visa for as long as expected. You can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period if you’ve spent time on any of these visas:

    • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
    • Intra-company Transfer visa
    • Graduate Trainee visa
    • Senior or Specialist Worker visa
    • Service Supplier visa
    • Expansion Worker visa

    How Do I Apply for the Secondment Worker visa?

    You must apply for a Secondment Worker visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    When applying for this visa for the first time, you’ll have to fill in the application form and upload the necessary supporting documents needed.

    You’ll also have to prove your identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    If you need to attend a visa application centre, you’ll give your fingerprints and have a photograph taken of you for your biometric residence permit. In addition, the visa application centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.

    You’ll be notified of how you’ll have to prove your identity when you apply.

    There are also separate application processes if you wish to extend your Secondment Worker visa, switch to it from another visa in the UK, or update it if your job changes.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Secondment Worker visa application.

    How Much Does a Secondment Worker Visa Cost?

    The Secondment Worker visa costs £298 to obtain.

    You will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge when applying. This will be £1,035 per year, for every year you’ll be in the UK.

    You must also have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK.

    You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of your date of application.

    You’ll normally need to show proof of this when you apply, unless either:

    • You’ve already been in the UK with a valid visa for 12 months or more
    • Your sponsor can cover your costs during your first month in the UK (which can be up to £1,270)

    If your sponsor can support you instead, this must be confirmed on your certificate of sponsorship under the ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’ section.

    Note that your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in the UK.

    What Are the Processing Times?

    If you’re applying for a Secondment Worker visa from outside of the UK, you’ll normally receive a decision within 3 weeks.

    If you’re applying from inside the UK, you’ll normally receive a decision within 8 weeks.

    Note that you will only be able to apply for this visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date will be listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

    You should also allow for extra time if you’re required to attend an appointment at a visa application centre.

    Your application may also take longer if, for example, your supporting documents need to be reviewed, you’re asked to attend an interview, or because of your personal circumstances.

    You may also be able to pay extra for a priority service or super priority service to get your application processed within 5 days or by the next working day, respectively.

    Note that this service may not be available in all countries.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Secondment Worker visa application.

    How Can I Extend My Visa?

    You must apply to extend your Secondment Worker visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    You will only be able to extend your visa if all of the following apply:

    • You’re still working for the UK sponsor who gave you your current certificate of sponsorship
    • You’re still working on the same contract that your employer has with your sponsor
    • You’ve not reached the maximum total stay of 2 years

    Note that you must be inside the UK to apply to extend your visa. If you travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man while your application is being processed, your application will be withdrawn.

    Secondment Worker visa extension applications normally take up to 8 weeks to process.

    How Can I Switch to This Visa?

    You may be able to switch to a Secondment Worker visa if you’re already in the UK on another type of visa and you meet the eligibility requirements.

    Note that you will not be able to switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK:

    • On a visit visa
    • On a short-term student visa
    • On a Parent of a Child Student visa
    • On a seasonal worker visa
    • On a domestic worker in a private household visa
    • On immigration bail
    • Because you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds

    If any of the above apply to you, you must first leave the UK and apply for the visa from abroad.

    Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:

    • You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
    • The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
    • You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months

    You should normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Secondment Worker visa application.

    How Can I Update My Visa If My Job Changes?

    If your job changes to a different occupation code, you must apply to update your Secondment Worker visa.

    You must still have the same sponsor in order to update your visa.

    Your new job must still meet the eligibility requirements for the Secondment Worker visa. In addition, you’ll need a new certificate of sponsorship.

    You’ll also need to provide additional supplementary documents if you’ve been in the UK for less than one year.

    You will be able to apply to update your visa up to 3 months before the start date of your new job.

    You may continue working in your current job while your new application is being considered, just as long as you apply before your current visa expires.

    You should not start your new job until you’ve got confirmation of your new permission.

    You should normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.

    What Are the Requirements for Dependents?

    Overview of Dependents

    You will be able to bring your partner and children with you to the UK as dependents on a Secondment Worker visa. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

    You will be able to bring the following family members with you:

    • Your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
    • Your child under 18 (including if they were born in the UK during your stay)
    • Your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant

    You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.

    Requirements for Partners

    If bringing your partner to the UK, you must be able to prove that either:

    • You’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
    • You’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply

    Requirements for Children 16 or Over

    If bringing children who are 16 or over to the UK, they must:

    • Live with you (unless they’re in full-time education at boarding school, college or university)
    • Not be married, in a civil partnership or have any children
    • Be financially supported by you

    In addition, if your child lives with you, you’ll need to provide evidence of their address using documents such as the following:

    • A bank statement
    • Credit card bills
    • Driving licence
    • NHS registration document
    • An official letter from their university or college

    What Are the Financial Requirements for Dependents?

    Your dependents must also have enough money to support themselves while they’re in the UK with you.

    The requirements are as follows:

    • £285 for your partner
    • £315 for one child
    • £200 for each additional child

    Your dependents will have had to have the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of your date of application.

    You’ll usually need to show proof of this when they apply, unless you have all been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.

    Note that if your partner or child is applying at a different time to you, they’ll only need to prove they have enough money to support themselves if they have been in the UK for less than one year.

    How Can Dependents Apply From Outside the UK?

    Each one of your dependents will have to submit a separate application for a visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    They will each also need to pay a separate visa application fee.

    When applying online, your dependents will require your application number, which you will receive when you apply. This number is known as a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN).

    Your dependents will also have to prove their identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    Once your dependents have submitted their application, uploaded their documents and proved their identity, they will also receive a decision on their application within 3 weeks.

    How Can Dependents Apply From Inside the UK?

    Each one of your dependents must submit a separate application on the Gov.uk website if they wish to extend or switch their visa to yours.

    They may do so either:

    • At the same time as you apply to extend or switch your own visa
    • At any time before their current visa expires

    This includes any children who have turned 18 during your stay.

    Note that your partner or children will not be able to switch to your visa as your dependents if they’re currently in the UK:

    • On a visit visa
    • On a short-term student visa
    • On a Parent of a Child Student visa
    • On a seasonal worker visa
    • On a domestic worker in a private household visa
    • On immigration bail
    • Because they were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds

    When applying online, your dependents will require your application number, which you will receive when you apply. This number is known as a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN).

    Your dependents will also have to prove their identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    Once your dependents have submitted their application, uploaded their documents and proved their identity, they will also receive a decision on their application within 8 weeks.

    How Can IAS Help?

    The UK Secondment Worker route is one of the UK government’s new Global Business Mobility immigration routes and aims to attract new business opportunities to the UK.

    If you’re a worker who’s employed by an overseas business, or a business looking to undertake contract work in the UK through the Secondment Worker visa route, IAS can help.

    We offer complete and comprehensive legal advice for individuals and businesses inside and outside of the UK. We can assist you with any immigration or business immigration issue you might have, and our experienced lawyers are on hand to deliver the best service possible for your situation.

    Whether you need assistance with a Secondment Worker visa application or a Secondment Worker visa certificate, need support on the process of sponsoring overseas workers, or want more advice on all of the UK’s Global Business Mobility routes, we can help.

    For more information about the services we provide and how we can help you, reach out to a member of our team today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    In order to be eligible for a Secondment Worker visa, your employer must have a high-profile contract with a UK business who will sponsor you.

    The contract must be worth at least £50 million.

    If your employer’s contract is less than £50 million, you may instead be eligible for another type of visa instead.

    A certificate of sponsorship is a digital record showing that an employer is able to sponsor a foreign worker that attests to an employer’s eligibility and authorisation to sponsor a foreign worker.

    The employer should secure an A-rated sponsor license, which allows them to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the worker to be employed in the UK, and they must also register the relevant overseas service contract with the Home Office using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

    The worker will then use the certificate to apply for a UK visa, which will allow them to enter the UK and work. The type of visa sought may vary depending on the specific circumstances, such as the job role and the individual’s status. For instance, if the worker is being seconded to the UK by their current employer, they might apply for a Secondment Worker visa.

    Note that you must apply for a visa such as a Secondment Worker visa within 3 months of receiving your certificate of sponsorship.

    the UK Secondment Worker Visa usually has a financial rule. To qualify, the employer must show they have a significant contract with an overseas service provider. This contract should meet specific financial thresholds:

    • It must be worth at least £10 million annually and total at least £50 million.
    • If the contract is less than 5 years, it still needs to be valued at £50 million.
    • If the contract spans 5 years or more, it should be valued at a minimum of £10 million per year.
    • For indefinite contracts, it must be worth £50 million over the initial 5 years, meeting the ‘eligible contract requirement.’

    This financial aspect ensures a substantial business connection between the UK sponsor and the overseas provider, justifying the need for foreign workers. Note that these financial requirements can vary, so always check the latest UK Home Office guidelines for updates.

    With a Secondment Worker Visa in the UK, you can typically stay for a maximum duration of 24 months (2 years).

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