We’ve heard a lot in the UK about how Brexit has impacted the job market but that almost always focuses on a lack of experienced workers in low-paid roles such as in the hospitality industry or social care. Little focus has been given to senior professionals in international organisations who have traditionally always benefited from moving to different locations around the world within multi-national organisations.
When senior professionals relocate to another country, but remain within the same organisation, it helps them understand different aspects of their organisation better and it’s people. It helps them gain experience in different countries, become better known across the whole organisation and, therefore, boost their own career prospects.
What ambitious senior professional wouldn’t want to see more of the world whilst widening their career opportunities? And the UK remains a highly desirable place to live and work.
Add to that the financial incentives on offer to expats such as paid accommodation in their temporary country of residence, perhaps even free use of a car and paid school fees, if they have a family. These are enormous benefits on top of a salary and also offer the chance to experience a different way of life.
How easy is it to secure a temporary work assignment in the UK?
In order to be able to undertake a temporary assignment in the UK it is essential to understand that any senior professional must already be employed by a company that has a UK location in addition to a location in their home country. Plus, that senior employee must have worked for the organisation for at least a year. In effect, the assignment must be a transfer within an organisation from one location to another.
There are also strict rules defined by the UK government on what constitutes a “Senior Worker” or “Specialist Worker”. These are governed by the specific type of visa required – i.e. the Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.
These rules include the requirement to:
- Be currently working for the same organisation as the one in the UK location
- Have worked outside the UK for the same organisation for at least a year (although there are exceptions for those on a very high salary – currently in 2023 over £73,900 per year)
- The job is a skilled or specialist role at least at graduate level
- The salary is at least a defined minimum (currently in 2023 £42,400 per year)
There are several other specific requirements depending on individual circumstances and current country of residence, which can be found on the UK government website here.
Below are some examples of the types of jobs that are classified as senior or specialist for the purposes of the Global Business Mobility visa and there is a full list of jobs published by the UK Home Office.
Examples of Senior/Specialist Job Titles
- Chief executive office
- Aerospace engineer
- Investment banker
- IT consultant
- Sales & Marketing director
- Human resources manager
- IT Director
- Bank manager
- Industrial chemist
- University lecturer
- Forensic scientist
- Secondary school teacher
- Chartered accountant
- Airline pilot
Time Limits on Global Business Mobility Visas
Global Business Mobility Visas enable senior professionals who relocate to the UK to remain in the country for a maximum period of:
- 5 years for those on salaries less than £73,900 per year (as of 2023)
- 9 years for those on salaries of £73,900 or more per year (as of 2023)
Practicalities of moving to the United Kingdom
Visa approval is perhaps the most complex aspect of relocating to the UK but there are other factors to consider, such as the cost of living, where to live and educational facilities for those with children. To truly understand all aspects of living in the UK, thorough research is required and ideally a trip prior to your relocation to develop a better understanding of what is on offer in terms of homes, schools, shopping and leisure amenities.
It may seem like London is the best place to live because of all the wonderful amenities available but when considering moving to London be prepared for the fact that it is the most expensive city in the whole of the UK. Not just for renting a property, but also for the overall cost of food and drink, transport, leisure and entertainment.
Unless you really do need to live in London for career or educational reasons, look at commutable towns and cities. Also talk to colleagues who have previously relocated to the UK.
Living outside London
There are many areas surrounding London with good rail links to the metropolis and lovely properties and amenities for considerably less than in London. Consider some of the towns in the Home Counties around London. Places like Cobham and Egham in Surrey, for instance, have good international schools that might be an important factor. Towns on the new Elizabeth Line (aka Crossrail) like Maidenhead will whisk you directly to the city centre. Other commutable towns give easy access to the sea (east or south of London) or easy access to areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Chilterns to the west. However, bear in mind that smaller towns or rural locations are unlikely to have a good transport network in their local area (even if they have a fast train connection to London).