GBM Sponsorship License

GBM Sponsorship Licence

The Global Business Mobility (‘GBM’) routes are sponsored immigration routes that allow eligible businesses to sponsor overseas workers in a linked business to come to the UK to undertake temporary assignments. There are five Global Business Mobility routes: 

  • Senior or Specialist Worker
  • UK Expansion Worker
  • Graduate Trainee
  • Service Supplier
  • Secondment Worker

What is a ‘linked business’?

Global Business Mobility allows your business to bring employees from a linked business. This could be an international branch, subsidiary, joint venture, service supplier or subcontractor business.

Once the GBM Sponsor Licence is obtained, the applicants working for the sponsor or a linked business will receive a Certificate of Sponsorship under the Global Business Mobility scheme’s relevant route.

Different sub-categories of GBM visas will require different types of business ties to be in place. Examples for this would be such.

  • For the UK Expansion Worker Visa, the link would be common ownership and control, such as a branch or subsidiary tie.
  • For the Service Supplier Visa, you can bring a worker from an eligible contractor, service supplier or sub-contracting firm.

Global Business Mobility Sponsorship Requirements

The Home Office will need to confirm your organisation’s need for bringing employees from a business’ overseas presence and activities.

The caseworkers will check your business’ credibility and ability to legally operate in the UK before approving your request for a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence. If you are trustworthy, dependable, and have not acted in a way that is detrimental to the general welfare, they will take that into account. They’ll also want to know that you can fulfil your sponsorship responsibilities.

The Home Office will review the supporting documentation you submit with your application to determine your eligibility. They will examine your human resource and recruitment systems to ensure they match the eligibility requirements. The Home Office could make the required checks by paying a planned or unexpected visit after your application for the licence. They may also look for proof of past non-compliance as well as any evidence that your key people have any pending criminal convictions for relevant offences.

The following requirements must be satisfied if you are applying for a sponsor licence under the Global Business Mobility pathways, according to Home Office policy guidance: ‘In addition to the general requirements set out in Part 1: Apply for a licence, to be eligible for a sponsor licence on any of the GBM routes, you must be able to satisfy us that you can offer employment which:

  • meets the skill-level requirement for the relevant route 
  • where relevant, meets the salary requirements of the route 
  • is genuine 
  • where relevant, meets the rules on third-party working 
  • have a qualifying overseas business link 
  • if applying on the UK Expansion Worker route, meet the additional requirements for that route

For an Expansion Worker sponsor licence, additional requirements are: 

  • You have a UK footprint
  • Not yet begun trading
  • Your expansion plan is credible, and you will establish a UK presence within two years

Key Personnel and Sponsor Duties

To obtain a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence, the business must nominate persons to undertake the key personnel roles of the Authorising Officer, Key Contact and Level 1 User. We have discussed each of these roles in our article, Key Personnel in Sponsor Licence Applications. 

For a UK Expansion Worker licence, the Authorising Officer role may be undertaken by either a worker who is already based in the UK and will be overseeing the expansion to the UK or a senior employee of the overseas business who is coming to the UK to oversee the expansion, if no suitable person is available in the UK. The UK Expansion Worker can continue to hold these duties or transfer them to another employee who fulfils the criteria.

What are the Sponsorship Responsibilities?

Sponsor licence holders have a number of duties and responsibilities when their sponsor licence is granted. Failure to understand and comply can put your sponsor licence at risk of being suspended, downgraded or revoked. As a Global Business Mobility licenced sponsor, your duties will include: 

  • Reporting duties – reporting certain information within time limits
  • Record-keeping duties – certain documents must be kept for each worker you sponsor
  • Complying with immigration laws – this can include not assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship where the role is not a genuine vacancy
  • Complying with wider UK law – this can be UK employment law
  • Not engaging in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good – all sponsors have a responsibility to behave in a manner that is consistent with fundamental values and not detrimental to the wider public good

Let’s look at the highlights

GBM Sponsor Application

You must submit an online application form and pay a fee to request a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence. Depending on the route you take, you'll have to pay a certain amount. Within five working days of submitting the Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence Application Form, you have to submit all the required documentation to the Home Office.

Validity of GBM Sponsor Licence

A sponsor licence for Global Business Mobility is valid for four years. The sponsor licence will not be eligible for renewal for the Expansion Worker route after 4 years.


The cost of sponsorship can vary depending on the nature of the sponsor licence needed and the size or charitable status of the business. Only Senior or Specialist Worker visa among the GBM routes attract immigration skills charges. There is also a fee for assigning a sponsorship certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions

A global business mobility visa is one of five visas introduced by the Home Office designed to help overseas businesses to establish a UK presence or to help linked UK businesses to transfer staff to the UK.

Under the global business mobility umbrella, the senior or specialist worker visa, which replaced the intra-company transferee (ICT) visa, is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK.

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