Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) is a UK immigration route that allows multi-national companies to transfer employees to a job at a UK branch of the organisation.
Tier 2 (ICT) carries four sub-categories – Long Term Staff; Short Term Staff; Graduate Trainee; and Skills Transfer.
Note that from Autumn 2016, Tier 2 (ICT) is being simplified – simplifications in red below:
- Long Term Staff – caters for skilled employees with a minimum of 12 months service to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for more than 12 months to fill a post that cannot be filled by a settled worker. Migrants filling a post under the long term staff sub-category must be paid a minimum of £41,500 per annum. The maximum duration of a Tier 2 (ICT) Long Term visa is five years, unless they are paid in excess of £155,300 per annum, in which case stay can be extended to up to nine years.
From April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for intra-company transferees working in the UK for between five and nine years will be lowered from £155,300 to £120,000. The requirement for applicants to have 12 months experience where they are being paid over £73,900 will be removed.
- Short Term Staff – this temporary visa route caters for skilled employees to be transferred for up to 12 months, to perform a skilled role that cannot be filled by settled workers. The employee must have been working for the overseas organisation for at least 12 months directly prior to transfer. Migrants filling a post under the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term sub-category must be paid a minimum of £24,800 per annum.
From Autumn 2016, the minimum salary threshold for the Tier 2 ICT Short Term category will be increased to £30,000. From April 2017, the Tier 2 ICT Short Term category will be closed to new applications.
- Graduate Trainee – for recent graduates with at least three months experience with the overseas employer. The maximum duration of stay on a Graduate Trainee visa is 12 months. Migrants filling a post under the long term staff sub-category must be paid a minimum of £24,800 per annum.
From April 2017, the salary threshold will be reduced from £24,800 to £23,000, The number of trainees that an employer may bring to the UK will increase from 5 to 20.
- Skills Transfer – this route allows new and graduate employees to be transferred to the UK base of an overseas company in order to gain skills and knowledge or to train others in the UK. There is no minimum amount of time for which the visa holder must have been with their employer. The maximum duration of stay is six months.
This route will close to new applicants from Autumn 2016.
For all Tier 2 (ICT) sub-categories, the UK employer must have a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and the employee must have been issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The position to be filled must meet NQF level 6 or above.
All Tier 2 (ICT) sub-categories carry a ‘cooling off period’, that is, if the migrant worker wishes to return to work in the UK, they must wait at least twelve months after leaving before they are permitted to make an application to come back and work in the UK.
From April 2017, all Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferees will be required to qualify under a single visa category with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500.
There will be a transitional period until April 2017 to allow those affected to plan for the changes.
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This overview is not exhaustive and does not substitute for actual advice based on specific circumstances. Different employer and individual circumstances will require bespoke advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are fluid and can change at a moment’s notice without any warning.
For detailed information, please get in touch with Dearson Winyard.