What is a Secondment Worker visa?

The UK Secondment Worker visa allows foreign employers who have a high-value contract with a UK organization to transfer a worker to do an eligible job in this UK organization.

This way, an overseas worker can become a secondment worker in the UK temporarily. They can stay in the UK:

  • 12 months after the start date of the job detailed in their certificate of sponsorship.
  • the time provided on their certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days.

Secondment Worker visa requirements

Workers who want to meet secondment objectives and benefits can apply for the UK Secondment Worker visa  if:

  • They work for an employer that has a high-value contract with a UK sponsor approved by the Home Office.
  • They have worked for this person or organization for at least one year in their native country (outside the UK).
  • They do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations.
  • They have a certificate of sponsorship explaining that job.

Conditions of the Secondment Worker visa

Successful applicants can’t do certain things while they’re in the UK under a secondment contract and with a Secondment Worker visa.

They can’t:

  • Apply to settle permanently in the UK.
  • Have a second job or do another job that’s not the one they’ve been sponsored for.
  • Access to public funds.

However, they can:

  • Study.
  • Work out a contractual notice period.
  • Do voluntary work.

Secondment Worker visa application

Secondment Worker visa application must be done online. 

As part of their application, applicants must prove their identity. To do this, they can scan their identity documents with the UK Immigration: ID Check app. 

Some applicants may need an appointment at a visa application center to provide biometric data (such as fingerprints and photographs). The visa application center can retain the applicant’s documents while they process his or her Secondment Worker visa application. 

Required documents to apply for the UK Secondment Worker visa

  • Valid passport or other documents that prove the applicant’s identity and nationality.
  • Certificate of sponsorship reference number (provided by the UK sponsor).
  • Certificate of sponsorship with the name of the applicant’s sponsor and the sponsor’s license number.
  • The applicant’s job title and the job’s occupation code.
  • Proof of relationship with the applicant’s partner and children (if they are joining him/her).
  • Proof that the applicants have sufficient personal savings to support themselves in the UK (such as a bank statement).
  • Proof that the applicant has actually worked for their employer outside the UK for 12 months or more (such as printed or online payslips, bank or building society statements, etc).
  • Tuberculosis test results if the applicant comes from one of the following countries:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei, Burma, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Translation of documents to apply for Secondment Worker visa

All required documents must be in English or Welsh. If that’s not the original language of such documents, the applicant should hire a verifiable translation agency or professional translator in order to provide a certified translation to the Home Office.  

Secondment Worker visa holder family

Successful applicants for this UK Secondment Worker visa can bring their partner and children to the UK as “dependants” —provided that they are eligible— but they must submit their own applications.

A partner refers to the applicant’s wife, husband, civil partner, or unmarried partner who has been living with the applicant for a minimum of 2 years. 

Children over 16 years old can’t be married or in a civil partnership or have their own kids. To be eligible for the visa, they must live with the applicant and be financially supported by him or her.

All relationships must be proved with related documents.

How to extend UK Secondment Worker visa

If, at the time of expiration of the visa, the Secondment Worker visa holder is still working for the same UK sponsor that supplied them with the previous certificate of sponsorship, and on the same contract between the UK sponsor and the visa holder’s overseas employer, Secondment Worker visa beneficiaries can apply to extend their visa from inside the UK.

The only exception would be if the Secondment Worker Visa holder has reached the maximum total stay of 5 years in a 6-year period on any of these visas:

  • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa.
  • Intra-company Transfer visa.
  • Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility).
  • Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility).
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility).
  • Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility).
  • UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility).

The Secondment Worker visa can be extended for 12 months if that doesn’t mean that the visa holder will stay in the UK with this visa for more than 2 years.

The visa holder’s partner and children must apply for an extension separately. Neither the visa holder nor the family members can travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man before they receive a decision regarding the extension of their visas.

How to switch to UK Secondment Worker visa

Individuals can switch to the Secondment Worker visa from other types of visas unless they are in the UK under one of the following conditions:

  • on a visit visa.
  • on a short-term student visa.
  • on a Parent of a Child Student visa.
  • on a seasonal worker visa.
  • on a domestic worker in a private household visa.
  • on immigration bail.
  • outside the immigration rules (for example: on compassionate grounds.

If that’s the case, they can try applying for a Secondment Worker visa from abroad. 

Partners and children of an applicant must apply separately to switch to the Secondment Worker visa.

Receiving decision on Secondment Worker visa

The estimated time period for the processing of the Secondment Worker visa application is:

  • 3 weeks (from outside the UK).
  • 8 weeks (from inside the UK).

Processing of visas from outside the UK might be delayed to 4 weeks. Check visa decision waiting times.

Frequently asked questions about UK Secondment Worker visa

  1. Can I cancel my application for the Secondment Worker visa once it’s been submitted?
  • Yes, but the fee will not be refunded if UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has started processing it.
  1. My application has been refused, what can I do?
  • You can ask for an administrative review.
  1. What is a “high-value contract” in this case? 
  • It means that your overseas employer’s contract with your UK sponsor must be worth at least £50 million. 
  1. Do I have to update my Secondment Worker visa if my job changes?
  • Yes. You must apply to update your visa if your job changes to a different occupation code. You must have the same sponsor, though. 
  1. Can my sponsor help me support myself in the UK?
  • Yes, but only during your first month in the UK and up to £1,270. 
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