Navigating the UK Service Supplier Visa

30 November 2022

Corporate Clients, Startup Visa

Since Brexit, EU citizens have faced significant changes around the rules and regulations for residing and working in the UK. In general, if an EU citizen has not lived in the UK prior to 31 December 2020, they must apply for a visa in order to reside and work in the country. The UK Home Office established several new immigration routes for both EU and third-country nationals, as part of the Global Business Mobility scheme introduced in April 2022. Among these sponsored routes is the Service Supplier visa (‘SSV’), which enables a UK company to receive services from overseas workers on a temporary basis and also allows self-employed people (established outside the UK) to pursue temporary work in the UK provided they provide services to the UK company. 

Our team has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.

What is the Service Supplier Visa?

The Service Supplier Visa is for temporary workers assigned to the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade agreements.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligibility criteria for the worker 

To be eligible for this type of visa, the worker must fulfil the following criteria: 

  • They must be either an employee of an overseas business or a self-employed service provider based overseas.
  • They must provide a service to a UK company under a contract covered by a valid international trade agreement.
  • Their occupation can be found on the list of eligible positions, including jobs such as electrical engineers, veterinarians, pharmacists, etc. 
  • They must be issued a certificate of sponsorship containing information related to their responsibilities as a worker in the UK by the UK sponsoring company. 
  • The worker must have worked for their overseas employer for at least one calendar year outside the UK. If the worker is a self-employed provider, they should have at least 12 months of professional experience.

Eligibility criteria for the UK company

The UK company must obtain a temporary worker licence, as issued by the Home Office. The company has various duties, including appointing key personnel to manage the sponsor licence and ensuring that the appropriate management systems are in place to maintain reporting and record-keeping.

Where should I start as a UK company without a licence?

A UK company wishing to sponsor a worker on the Service Supplier Visa must first obtain a licence. Depending on the circumstances, different requirements will need to be satisfied. For instance, a start-up has different obligations to fulfil in obtaining this licence compared to a more well-established company.

Once you become a sponsor in the UK, you can issue certificates of sponsorship. At this point in the process, the temporary worker should apply for the Service Supplier visa.

How long can the SSV employee work at my UK company?

The temporary worker can provide services for whichever is the shorter of:

  • six months or twelve months – depending on the trade agreement, the worker is providing services under;
  • the time as specified on their certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days.

How can NBLO help?

In obtaining a sponsorship licence or Service Supplier visa, it is important to speak to an experienced immigration professional about the process. At NBLO, our team guides clients step-by-step to ease the process and ensure that all legal obligations are fulfilled and no crucial details are overlooked.

For advice on UK visa routes, you can contact us through our contract form, on +44 (0) 20 7183 0262 or [email protected].

© New Balkans Law Office 2024

The Bulgarian and dual-qualified lawyers of New Balkans Law Office are regulated by the respective Bar of their registration. New Balkans Law Office is a brand name of Legal Services EOOD, a company registered under Bulgarian law. Reg’d No. 202331677. Further details are available here.

© New Balkans Law Office 2024