The Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa (ICT) enables skilled workers in a foreign country to transfer to a job in the UK branch, as long as they have a minimum of one year work-experience in that company. In order to apply for this visa, candidates require a job offer from the UK branch of their current employer. In addition, that employer must issue a certificate of sponsorship and hold a valid Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer sponsorship licence.
Under this visa route, an applicant needs a confirmed UK job offer from the UK branch of their current employer. The employer must hold a valid Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer sponsorship licence and must issue the applicant with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). There is no English language requirement nor any requirement to complete the resident labour market test. Furthermore, the applicant and their employer are not required to obtain a Restricted CoS, which significantly reduces visa processing times compared to Tier 2 (General) visa applications. No restrictions exist for shareholdings owned by the Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visa applicant, which means that business people with any shareholdings in UK businesses can make applications to the UK under this route.
With the Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visa, applicants are not permitted to apply for indefinite leave to remain at the end of five years in the UK, unlike Tier 2 (General) migrants.
Applicants also cannot switch to a Tier 2 General visa from within the UK and must wait 12 months before they are able to apply for the Tier 2 (General) visa from abroad.
The ICT category is split into two subcategories - 'short-term' and 'long-term', as follows:
- Tier 2 ICT Visa for Long-Term Staff:
This visa is for workers who are filling a position in the UK for a minimum of one year and have previous experience working for the company abroad.
- Tier 2 ICT Visa for Graduate Trainee:
This visa applies to applicants who are graduate trainees under the programme for specialist roles. Under this sub-category, the applicant must be a recent graduate with at least 3 months’ experience with their employer overseas.
Spouses and civil or unmarried partners of the applicant, as well as any dependent children under the age of 18, can apply for visas to the UK at the same time as the main ICT visa applicant as their dependants.
All applications for the Tier 2(ICT) visa category are subject to a number of specific requirements. This includes holding a valid certificate of sponsorship, an appropriate proposed annual salary, sufficient maintenance funds and evidence that the applicant has worked for the employer outside of the UK for a prescribed time period.
Astons Law provide comprehensive advice on meeting all the requirements for extension of Tier 2 (General) applications.
- Work for the sponsor in the job described in the certificate of sponsorship
- Do a second job in the same profession and at the same level as their main job for up to 20 hours per week
- Study, as long as it does not interfere with the job they’re sponsored for
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
- Bring family members to the UK as dependants
Receive public funds
Start working before they get a visa
How long applicants can stay:
Applicants can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa for up to the maximum stay allowed for their visa type, or the time given on their certificate of sponsorship, whichever is shorter.
Applicants can enter the UK up to 14 days before the certificate of sponsorship start date as stated on the certificate of sponsorship.
The maximum stay for each type of Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa is:
- Long-term Staff (if earning more than £120,000 a year): 9 years
- Long-term Staff (if earning less than £120,000 a year): 5 years, 1 month
Graduate Trainee: 12 months
Applicants can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day they’re due to start work in the UK. This date will be listed on the certificate of sponsorship.
- Standard processing time for Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa applications is currently approximately 3 weeks for applications made from outside the UK.
Priority Service may be available at some visa application centres for entry clearance applications which should result in a quicker decision for applications that are not complex.
Tier 2 (ICT) migrants can apply to extend their stay in the UK for the maximum time allowed for their visa type, subject to meeting the eligibility requirements for the particular sub category.
Extension applications must be made in the UK before the current visa expires.
Graduate Trainees can extend their visas by up to 12 months if their initial visas were granted for less than 12 months.
The Home Office estimates that Tier 2 (ICT) extension applications are processed within 8 weeks of the application date if the applicant has used the standard service. The applicant can purchase priority and super priority services, which would accelerate the processing time up to 1 – 5 working days.