- What is a Service Supplier visa?
- Eligibility requirements
- Getting sponsorship
- Documents required
- How to apply
- Cost of applying
- Decision time
- Changing jobs or employers
- Length of stay
- Switch to a Service Supplier visa
- What you can and cannot do in the UK
- Dependent partner and children
- How can we help?
What is the UK Service Supplier visa?
Part of the Global Business Mobility visa scheme, the Service Supplier visa is a new visa route introduced in 2022 that allows an overseas service provider with a contract to provide services to a UK company based on the following two scenarios:
- You are an employee of an overseas company
- You are a self-employed professional based overseas
The Service Supplier route allows an overseas service provider to come to the UK on temporary work assignments provided that the work is under a contract to supply services that are covered fully by a UK international trade agreement.
The Service Supplier visa replaces the previous provisions for contractual service suppliers and independent professionals on the former International Agreement route.
For more information on how Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help you, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530 for a chat about the services we offer.
UK Service Supplier visa eligibility
To be eligible for the Service Supplier route, the applicant must:
- Be an employee of an overseas business, or, a self-employed professional based overseas
- Provide services to a UK business under a contract that is covered by a valid international trade agreement
- Meet the required nationality requirements in line with the trade agreement
- Provide services to a UK business that is a Home Office-approved sponsor
- Obtain a certificate of sponsorship from a Home Office-approved UK sponsor- the CoS will need to detail the job the applicant will work in the UK
- Work in an eligible job that is listed in the Global Business Mobility list of eligible occupations and codes
- Have worked for the current overseas service provider for a minimum of 12 months in total
- If a self-employed service provider has been self-employed for at least 12 months prior to applying for a Service Supplier visa
Getting Sponsorship for a UK Service Supplier visa
Applicants are not eligible for a Service Supplier visa unless they have sponsorship from a valid UK sponsor with a Home Office-approved sponsor licence. The UK business must have a valid international trade agreement and sponsor licence before any plans can be made to employ an international employee. The sponsor in question must be authorised to sponsor the relevant category of worker. If the employer is not authorised to do so, they must apply to the Home Office to seek permission to sponsor workers under the Service Supplier route.
The UK sponsor can use their sponsor licence to issue the nominated overseas service provider employee with a certificate of sponsorship via their SMS account. The certificate is a digital document as a pose to a physical one.
A certificate of sponsorship is required as part of the Service Supplier visa application, where the applicant will need to provide their sponsor licence reference number as part of the application process. The UK sponsor will issue the applicant with the correct sponsorship reference number required.
To successfully apply for a Service Supplier visa, the following documents must be presented:
- A certificate of sponsorship reference number- this will be given to the applicant by their UK employer
- A valid passport or alternative document which proves identity and nationality
- The job title and job’s occupation code
- Name of the UK sponsor and their sponsor licence number
- Evidence of sufficient funds or savings to support themselves when they arrive in the UK- bank or building society statements will suffice
- Proof of relationship to any dependant partner and children- if they will be accompanying the main applicant to the UK
- Tuberculosis test results- if the applicant is coming to the UK from a listed country
Documents will need to be translated into English or Welsh, if they aren’t already, before being submitted with an application form. Failure to submit the correct documents can result in a Service Supplier visa application being severely delayed or even rejected.
How to apply for a UK Service Supplier visa
You can apply for a Service Supplier visa from outside the UK online. The application process will involve the applicant having to present a series of supporting documents and proving their identity to the Home Office.
To prove their identity, the applicant may be asked to attend an in-person appointment at a designated visa application centre to give biometric information- this will consist of fingerprints and photographs. Applicants will be informed of how they need to prove their identity when they submit their application form online.
The application process can seem intricate if you have not completed one before, so, hiring a trained immigration lawyer to guide you through the process could be beneficial. It is important to ensure that the Service Supplier visa application is submitted correctly in the first instance to avoid any delays or rejection.
Dependants of an applicant applying under the Service Supplier route must apply separately.
Cost of applying for a UK Service Supplier visa
Applying for a Service Supplier visa can be a costly matter, but each fee is necessary to ensure a lawful stay in the UK.
The application fee is £259 and is payable at the point of submitting the online application form.
In addition, Service Supplier visa holders a subjected to the immigration health surcharge which is an annual fee of £624 payable by each migrant staying in the UK. The immigration health surcharge covers the cost of use of public healthcare services such as car from the NHS.
Finally, applicants must have enough money or personal savings to ensure that they can support themselves when they arrive in the UK- the minimum amount required is £1,270.
Decision time for a UK Service Supplier visa
Once you have submitted an online application for a Service Supplier visa, the decision time will depend on where you applied from.
If you applied from outside of the UK, you can expect a decision on the application to be made within three weeks.
If you are applying for a Service Supplier visa from inside the UK, a decision is typically made within eight weeks of the application being submitted.
For those who require a faster decision to be made, you can opt for priority services as an extra cost, which will accommodate a much faster outcome.
Can you change jobs or employers on a UK Service Supplier visa?
Service Supplier visa holders can change employers but they do so officially by applying to make changes to their visa and getting approval from the Home Office. This is mostly necessary if you are planning to change jobs but work for a similar firm in the UK.
In the instance that you are transferring jobs with the same employer and occupation code, there are minimal changes that need to be made to the individual’s Service Supplier visa.
Applications for new employment must be made promptly with thorough details of the new job role and an up-to-date certificate of sponsorship- the new employer must have a valid sponsor licence. The applicant can continue to work in the UK normally for their current employer whilst the new application is being processed on their behalf by the Home Office.
How long can you stay in the UK with a Service Supplier visa?
If you are granted stay in the UK with a Service Supplier visa, you can typically remain working and living in the UK for between 6 and 12 months, however, this will depend on the trade agreement that is in place.
Once a UK Service Supplier visa expires you can either apply for a different type of visa to stay in the UK, or you can apply for a Service Supplier visa in another country.
You must apply for a new UK visa before your current Service Supplier visa is due to expire.
How can you switch to a UK Service Supplier visa?
If you currently hold another type of UK visa you may be able to switch to a Service Supplier visa should it be necessary to do so. In order to do so, you must meet the Service Supplier visa eligibility requirements set out above.
Any children or dependant adults who live with you in the UK must also apply to switch their visa types- this must be done separately to the main applicant.
You cannot apply to switch to a Service Supplier visa if you:
- Are on a short-term visa
- Are on a short-term student visa
- Are on a Parent of a Child Student visa
- Are on a seasonal worker visa
- Are on a domestic worker in a private household visa
- Are on immigration bail
- Were given permission to stay in the UK on compassionate grounds
If you still wish to apply under one of the above categories, you must leave the UK in order to apply.
What you can and cannot do in the UK
A Service Supplier visa allows a holder to do the following:
- Worker for your sponsor in the designated job described on your Certificate of Sponsorship
- Bring your partner and children with you to the UK, if they are eligible
- Study in the UK
- Take up voluntary work
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
You cannot do the following:
- Apply for public funds (benefits) or a state pension
- Change jobs unless you update your visa accordingly
- Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and settle permanently in the UK- living free of immigration rules
- Work a second job
Bringing your partner and children to the UK
Service Supplier visa holders can bring their partner and children to the UK as long as they qualify as dependants. A dependant is any of the following:
- A husband, wife, civil or unmarried partner
- A child under 18- including if they were born in the UK during your stay
- A child over 18 if they are currently in the UK as your dependant
You must be able to prove your relationship with your partner, either with a marriage certificate recognised in the UK, or if you are unmarried, you must prove you have been living together for at least two years prior to applying.
Each family member is required to complete a separate application form and pay the specified visa fee to the Home Office separate from the main Service Supplier visa application.
For each family member joining the main applicant in the UK, they will be required to have enough money to support each individual. The costs are as follows:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
How can we help?
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers are specialists in all immigration and visa matters. We are here to offer you expert advice and guidance to give you the best possible chance of success when applying for your visa.
We go above and beyond to ensure we support you in every aspect of your visa matter, from applying to liaising with the Home Office and even supporting you to extend or reapply for another visa.
For more information on how we can help you, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530 for immediate help and assistance.
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