Since the UK left the European Union (EU) on the 31st of January 2020, there have been a number of changes. Most notably, the rights and routes for international workers seeking to live and work in the UK.
After a period of uncertainty for overseas workers, the introduction of the Global Business Mobility Visa in Spring 2022 is set to offer opportunities to a number of professionals, including website designers. This is also great news for businesses in the UK looking for diverse workers with a range of talent coming from abroad.
Let’s look at more detail…
How Brexit Affected Foreign Workers in the UK
As Brexit negotiations dragged on, a lot of overseas workers, particularly those from EU countries, faced great uncertainty. When it came to their permission to live and work in the UK, everything was thrown into the air.
As a result, many skilled and valuable workers chose to leave the UK, even before the Brexit agreement was signed in January 2020. A lot of these workers subsequently chose to settle in other countries and have since showed reluctance to return to the UK.
The Global Business Mobility Visa is designed to solve a number of problems, including making it easier for foreign nationals to return to the UK. This is needed in order to help fill job gaps as well as boosting commerce in the country.
Skilled and experienced website designers will find that they are extremely well placed to take advantage of these new schemes as the minimum salary requirements for the visas will fall well within what they can expect to earn in a website design role in the UK. So, what does this new scheme entail?
What is the Global Business Mobility Visa?
The Global Business Mobility Visa, which opened to applicants on the 11th of April 2022, is designed to provide sponsored routes for overseas businesses to operate within the United Kingdom.
The scheme also offers the opportunity for staff to be transferred to the UK for the purposes of establishing a business.
Under this one scheme, there are five visa types that allow you to do business in the UK and, these are:
1. Senior / Specialist Worker Visa
This temporary visa, which closed to new applicants on the 11th of April, allows specialist workers and senior managers to gain permission to complete a professional assignment in the UK.
Under this visa, workers are required to have a valid sponsorship certificate and, will need to have secured work which pays a minimum of £42,000 per annum. While sponsorship and salary are obligatory terms, there is no English language requirement with this kind of visa.
2. Graduate Trainee Visa
This kind of visa is open to graduates who are currently working for a company overseas which has links to the United Kingdom and is a work placement scheme. Hopeful applicants will need to have sponsorship with a UK business and will need to have secured employment which pays a salary of £23,100 per annum or above.
As with the Specialist Worker Visa, applicants will not need to prove that they have English language skills in order to be successful.
3. UK Expansion Worker Visa
The UK Expansion Worker Visa is created to allow senior and specialist employees to temporarily live and work in the United Kingdom in order to expand an existing overseas business (see, it’s not just a clever name!).
The criteria for this type of visa involves having current employment with an overseas company which has links to the UK, a certificate of sponsorship and a salary of at least £42,000 per year.
This visa, which grants a stay of up to two years, does not require applicants to fulfil an English language requirement.
4. Secondment Worker Visa
Overseas employees who wish to be seconded to the UK on a temporary basis will be granted this visa on presentation of a certificate of sponsorship as well as being able to demonstrate a minimum level of skill.
Applicants are not, however, subject to any English language requirement.
5. Service Supplier Visa
This final type of visa is one which offers temporary access to the UK in order to provide contractual services. It can also include self-employed professionals.
This visa may be granted on the basis that the individual works for an overseas company which does, or will, provide services to a UK company or sponsor.
Applicants must have a contract with an overseas service provider and a valid sponsorship certificate. Although candidates will need to satisfy a requirement of nationality, no such limits apply on earnings or English language.
How Do This New Scheme Apply to Web Designers?
Website designers are highly skilled individuals who are tasked with building websites for businesses or individuals. There are different aspects of this that include graphic design, user interface design, coding, user experience and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
When the pandemic sent everybody home in 2020, the UK experienced a surge in demand for the services of website developers and designers and the industry struggled to cope due to a lack of skilled professionals.
The Global Business Mobility Visa will present an opportunity for overseas website designers to move to the UK to fill this gap.
Overseas website designers may take advantage of the new scheme in a couple of ways including:
Post Study Work Opportunities in the UK
This route would allow an overseas website designer to work in the UK for a limited time as long as they:
- Are a university graduate
- Are currently working for a company overseas which has links to the UK
- Has secure UK employment with a salary of £23,100 or above.
This allows the designer to gain experience of working in the UK for up to five years (though the intra-company route). Web design professionals who choose this route may, if successful, would be able at the end of the five years, to apply for an extension or even permanent residency.
Eligibility for the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
In some instances, foreign web designers may be eligible for a senior or specialist worker visa. However, this will only be possible if they are able to secure a certificate of sponsorship, along with work which pays at least £42,000 per year (the average salary for a website design in the UK is £33,647).
Anybody looking to enter the UK on a senior or specialist worker visa needs to be aware that they will not be allowed to work in jobs which are lower skilled or carry out supplementary work, as they would have been able to do under the new regime.
Time to Establish a Business in the UK
While the Global Business Mobility Visa scheme is one which imposes a timeframe (usually up to five years), it opens up opportunities for businesses and individuals.
Due to the nature of the work, web design work can be performed remotely from anywhere in the world. A short amount of time to complete an expansion or to establish a business in the UK can benefit the company and help create a UK presence without having to stay permanently.
Availability to Additional New Scale-Up Visa
An additional scheme available to overseas web designers may be that of the New Scale-Up Visa. This option is available to fast growing startup businesses and allows the UK access to top overseas talent.
UK businesses which have 10 or more employees, and which has seen a growth in employment rate of at least 20% over the last three years as well as being registered with HMRC.
Visa applicants are subject to a number of conditions including skills and experience, English language skills and a job offer which pays at least £33,000 per annum. This could prove to be a great solution for overseas website designers looking to spend time in the UK.
Global Business Mobility Visa set to welcome new possibilities…
While it’s important to note that the visa schemes mentioned in this article will not guarantee settlement or permanent residence in the UK, it does open up a number of possibilities.
For example, an individual who is living and working in the UK under the Graduate Trainee Visa may, at the end of his or her term, apply to switch to a difference visa scheme such as the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.
This may allow them to stay in the UK for a further one to five years depending on their eligibility.
Now that applications for these visa schemes have closed, the Home Office is working hard to process them. If the scheme is successful, the hope is that new applications will be opened for 2023
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained immigration professional. Be sure to consult an immigration professional or solicitor if you’re seeking advice about moving abroad. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.