WARD HADAWAY: How new global mobility rules will impact businesses

The UK government recently introduced changes to the immigration rules on global workforce mobility into the UK.

Roisin Patton, a partner in the employment team at Ward Hadaway.
Roisin Patton, a partner in the employment team at Ward Hadaway.

Roisin Patton, employment lawyer at Leeds-based law firm Ward Hadaway, explains.

The new Global Business Mobility route outlines five pathways for international companies to establish a UK footprint or temporarily transfer employees to the UK.

How the changes affect your business

One of the key changes businesses need to be aware of is the ‘secondment’ route that allows overseas workers to come to the UK temporarily to work on high value contracts.

Prior to this, multinational clients struggled to transfer workers to the UK where the skillset was either not available here, or a market shortage. Many high value contracts were underway before Brexit, and UK businesses are now experiencing recruitment difficulties.

This new route helps with this problem, but it can be a complex process. Taking advice is recommended.

The 'expansion worker' route is where an international business wants to set up a branch or subsidiary in the region requiring senior management workers or specialist employees in the UK for a temporary period to undertake work related to the expansion. Previously, only one overseas worker was permitted to come to the UK, now up to five are so this is an improvement.

Global Mobility Matters

With some of the existing routes simply rebranded the changes are not as wide reaching as we had hoped but there are certainly positive changes to help international businesses. Welcome news at a time of significantly increased difficulty in mobilising workers between the UK to other EU countries post-Brexit.

There are now visa requirements to consider when sending UK workers to European counterparts for temporary work, and country specific employment law will come into play which makes the process complicated and confusing.

The right advice, at the right time

All immigration considerations are hugely complex and technical so it’s important to seek the right advice and, critically, at the right time. Global mobility should be approached as a project that takes time to map out with specialist advice from the outset.

This is relatively new territory for many businesses in the UK and across Europe but getting it right can create a commercial advantage and help businesses perform contractual obligations and continue to tender for new opportunities that require the transfer of skills into or outside of the UK.

Ward Hadaway has a specialist team, who can manage business immigration matters for both the employer and employees . We also project manage international global mobility projects (transfer of UK workers overseas) alongside our global network of lawyers (GGI).

Whether it’s liaising with legal firms in other jurisdictions, managing an inter-team relocation or tapping into our recruitment expertise to administer a specialist overseas project for a client, we can help.

What next?

Tune into our Global Mobility Matters webinar at 12noon on the Tuesday 12th July where we will bring this complex area of law to you in an accessible and easy to digest format with real-world examples, followed by a Q and A session.