How to Sponsor Intra-Company Transfer & Graduate Trainee Visa UK?

This guidance relates to Sponsorship Requirements for UK Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visa. Accordingly, covers the details of Valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), Sponsor License, Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), Genuine Vacancy, Working for Third Parties, and Work for the Sponsor Group Outside the UK for scoring 20 mandatory points for Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visa Sponsorship Requirements. Moreover, also covers the CoS Checking System and ISC Payment.

1. Overview 2. Valid CoS 3. Sponsor License 4. Immigration Skills Charge 5. Genuine Vacancy 6. Working for Third Parties 7. Work for the Sponsor Group Outside the UK 8. CoS Checking System 9. ISC Payment

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1. Overview

UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

To get Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa UK an applicant needs to score 20 points for sponsorship. Accordingly, to secure 20 Points for Sponsorship an applicant needs to satisfy the requirements of Appendix Intra-Company Routes paragraph IC5.1 to IC5.9 relating to:

  1. Valid Certificate of Sponsorship
  2. Licensed Sponsor
  3. Immigration Skills Charge
  4. Genuine Vacancy
  5. Working for Third Parties
  6. Work for Sponsor Group Outside the UK

IC 5.10. If the requirements in IC 5.1. to IC 5.9. are met, the applicant will be awarded 20 points for sponsorship.

Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

2. Valid Certificate of Sponsorship

UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

A certificate of sponsorship (CoS) for Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visa is only valid if certain requirements are met. Accordingly, the CoS assigned to the applicant must meet all the requirements set out in Appendix Intra-Company Routes paragraph IC 5.1. The Immigration Officer (Home Office) contacts the sponsor to request any missing details (in particular, the employer PAYE reference number assigned to the applicant).

IC 5.1. The applicant must have a valid certificate of sponsorship for the job they are planning to do, which must:

(a) confirm the applicant’s name, that they are being sponsored as an Intra-Company Transfer or Intra-Company Graduate Trainee, details of the job, salary and any allowances the sponsor is offering them and PAYE details if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) requires income tax and national insurance for the sponsored job to be paid via PAYE; and

(b) include a start date for the job, stated by the sponsor, which is no more than 3 months after the date of application; and

(c) not have been used in a previous application which was either granted or refused (but can have been used in a previous application which was rejected as invalid, made void or withdrawn); and

(d) not have been withdrawn by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office; and

(e) unless the applicant is a high earner, confirm that the applicant has worked for the sponsor group for the period required at IC 5.7. or IC 5.8; and

(f) confirm whether the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirement in Appendix ATAS applies.

Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

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UK Intra Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visa Sponsorship

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    3. Licensed Sponsor

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    For sponsoring a foreign worker, the sponsor needs to have a valid Intra-Company route sponsor licence. Moreover, the sponsor must also be A-rated unless the applicant is applying for an extension to continue working for the same sponsor.

    The Home Office uses Certificate of Sponsorship Checking System to check the sponsor license. If required, the Immigration Officer, may contact the Sponsor Licensing Unit (SLU) to find out more information about the status of a sponsor’s licence.

    If the applicant’s sponsor loses its licence while the application is under consideration, the Home Office will inform the applicant- without explaining the reasons- that their sponsor no longer has a licence. However, if the licence was revoked for reasons linked to application, then the Home Office will explain the reasons – for instance, refusing on genuine vacancy grounds, as well as the fact the sponsor is no longer licensed.

    IC 5.2. The sponsor must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor the job in question under the Intra-Company routes.

    IC 5.3. The sponsor must be listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors

    Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

    4. Immigration Skills Charge (ISC)

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    The sponsor needs to pay the required Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) for Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Training Visa sponsorship. The Home Office checks the ISC payment is correct and if the sponsor has:

    • paid the correct charge or is exempt from making the payment. If so, then will continue to consider the application as normal
    • underpaid and there are other grounds for refusal which could not be remedied by writing out for further information, then the Immigration Officer will refuse the application by including the ISC non-payment refusal wording in the rejection letter
    • underpaid, then will write out for further information, or the ISC is the only reason to refuse the application, then will:
      • give the sponsor an opportunity to pay the charge
      • exclude the Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa application from the service level agreement as a complex case and inform the applicant why a decision cannot be made within the Service Level Agreement
      • defer the case for 10 working days
    • overpaid, then will make a partial refund to the sponsor

    IC 5.4. The sponsor must have paid in full any required Immigration Skills Charge.

    Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

    5. Genuine Vacancy

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    The Immigration Officer (Home Office) will not award points for Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Training Visa Sponsorship if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the job:

    • does not exist
    • is a sham – for instance, the job exists but the applicant will not be doing it
    • has been created mainly so the applicant can apply for UK Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Training Visa

    If the sponsor has exaggerated job to make it meet the Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Training requirements, then it is considered separately for job at the appropriate skill level.

    Compliance Visit to the Sponsor

    Indeed, genuine vacancy concerns may lead the Home Office to a compliance visit to the sponsor. If it is not possible to decide such applications, then the Home Office keep them on hold pending the outcome of a compliance visit. Accordingly, will inform the applicant that their application is on hold due to further checks with their sponsor. However, will not disclose any as-yet-unproven concerns about the sponsor. If the result is the sponsor’s licence is revoked, then the Home Office will explain the genuine vacancy concerns in the decision letter, and not rely solely on the fact the sponsor does not have a licence.

    Applicant’s Interview

    If the Home Office has concerns that the applicant is complicit in being sponsored for a vacancy which is not genuine, then may consider inviting them to attend an interview. Accordingly, will express the concerns to the applicant in plain language and give them the chance to respond (either in an interview or in writing) before deciding. If the Home Office finds applicant complicit, then will include wording relating to false representation in the refusal decision.

    IC 5.5. The decision maker must not have reasonable grounds to believe the job the applicant is being sponsored to do:
    (a) does not exist; or
    (b) is a sham; or
    (c) has been created mainly so the applicant can apply for entry clearance or permission to stay.

    Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

    6. Working for Third Parties

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    If an Intra-Company worker is being supplied to one organisation by another organisation, their sponsor must be whoever has full responsibility for the duties, functions and outcomes, or outputs of the job

    Example

    Company A has a contract with a client (viz. Company Z) to deliver an IT solution within agreed timescales. An applicant, who is sponsored by company A to work on that project, may be sent to work for the length of the contract at company Z’s premises, but they remain employed by company A throughout the period of the contract. As company A is responsible for their duties, functions, outputs or outcomes, company A must be the applicant’s sponsor.

    Full Responsibility

    A sponsor can only assign a CoS if they have full responsibility for deciding the duties, functions and outcomes or outputs of the job. Where the applicant is carrying out work for a third party on their sponsor’s behalf, they must be contracted by their sponsor to provide a time-bound, non-routine service or project on their sponsor’s behalf. This means a service or project which has a specific end date, after which it will have ended, or the service provided will no longer be operated by their sponsor or anyone else. It also means an applicant must not be either:

    • hired to a third party who is not the sponsor to fill a position with that party, whether temporary or permanent (for example, an agency worker filling a vacancy with a third-party)
    • engaging in contract work to undertake an ongoing routine role or to provide an ongoing routine service for a third party who is not their sponsor, regardless of the nature or length of any arrangement between the sponsor and the third party

    IC 5.6. The decision maker must not have reasonable grounds to believe the job the applicant is being sponsored to do amounts to:
    (a) the hire of the applicant to a third party who is not the sponsor to fill a position with that party, whether temporary or permanent; or
    (b) contract work to undertake an ongoing routine role or to provide an ongoing routine service for a third party who is not the sponsor, regardless of the nature or length of any arrangement between the sponsor and the third party.

    Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

    7. Work for the Sponsor Group Outside the UK

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    All Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee visa applicants must be currently working for the sponsor, or a business linked to the sponsor by ownership (collectively referred to as the sponsor group).

    Minimum 12-Months Work Experience with the Sponsor Group

    An Intra-Company Transfer visa applicant must have a cumulative period of at least 12- months’ experience working outside the UK for the sponsor group (unless they are a high earner). The 12-months outside the UK do not need to be immediately prior to their application, and they don’t need to be consecutive, provided that the applicant was continuously working for the sponsor group from the start of the 12-months to the date of their application.

    For example, if an applicant has worked for a sponsor group for 2 years and during that time moved regularly between offices in the UK and overseas, they would qualify provided at least 12 months was spent working outside the UK and they are still working for the sponsor group at the time of their Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee visa application.

    IC 5.7. An applicant on the Intra-Company Transfer route must:

    (a) be currently working for the sponsor group; and
    (b) unless they are applying as a high earner must have worked outside the UK for the sponsor group for a cumulative period of at least 12 months.

    Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

    Permitted Absences

    If the applicant was absent from work for any of the reasons listed in paragraph IC 5.8.(b) during their period of work for the sponsor group, you must not treat these absences as a break in the applicant’s period of continuous work. Therefore, the Home Office may consider work outside the UK from both before and after any such absence.

    For example, suppose an applicant worked for their sponsor group outside the UK for 6 months before taking parental leave for 1 year, and then returned to work for a further 6 months before applying to transfer to the UK in this route. The Home Office may consider the evidence of work from before and after the absence. Since the applicant worked for the sponsor group for 12-months in total and all work was outside the UK, they meet the requirement.

    IC 5.8. In IC 5.7.(b) the 12 months’ work outside the UK can have been accumulated over any period provided that:

    (a) the applicant was continuously working for the sponsor group, whether in or out of the UK, from the start of the 12 months to the date of application; and
    (b) the only breaks in the continuous work in IC 5.8.(a) were for the following reasons:
    (i) statutory maternity, paternity, parental, or shared
    (ii) parental leave; or
    (iii) adoption leave; or
    (iv) sick leave; or
    (v) assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis, with the agreement of the sponsor group; or
    (vi) taking part in legally organised industrial action.

    Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

    Evidence of Work

    The sponsor must confirm on the certificate of sponsorship that the applicant has the required overseas work experience, but the applicant is not required to supply any additional evidence with their application. If the Immigration Officer have doubt, then may request further evidence.

    If the applicant is applying for an extension in the same job, or to do a different job for the same sponsor group, then the Home Office usually do not request additional information.

    High Earners

    Applicants who are sponsored in jobs with a salary of at least £73,900 (based on a maximum 48-hour week) must be currently working for the sponsor group but do not need to have worked outside the UK for any specific period.

    Graduate Trainees

    An applicant on the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route must have worked outside the UK for the sponsor group for a continuous period of at least 3 months. This 3-month period of work must be immediately before the date of application, and it must be continuous with no breaks and cannot include time spent working in the UK.

    The sponsor must confirm on the CoS that the applicant meets this requirement, and the Home Office may request additional evidence if needed.

    IC 5.9. An applicant on the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route must have worked outside the UK for the sponsor group for a continuous period of at least 3 months immediately before the date of application.

    Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes

    8. CoS Checking System

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    The Immigration Officer (Home Office) can search the CoS Checking System using the CoS reference number, Applicant’s details, or Sponsor’s details.

    Searching using the applicant’s details

    One can search the CoS Checking System for Applicant’s Details by:

    • passport or travel document number of the applicant
    • family name
    • given name
    • nationality
    • date of birth
    • gender

    Searching using the sponsor’s details

    One can search CoS Checking System for Sponsor details by:

    • sponsor licence number
    • sponsor name
    • postcode
    • sponsor address

    CoS Checking System – Status of the Certificate of Sponsorship

    CoS StatusPossible Action
    AssignedThe Home Office will continue to assess the application
    SuspendedThe Home Office will not decide the case, keep it on hold, and contact the Sponsor Licensing Unit (SLU) to find out if they will be re-instating the sponsor or if it will be suspended indefinitely, and share information with the applicant. If the Sponsor does not get a new CoS, then Home Office will refuse the UK Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa Application
    WithdrawnThe Home Office will refuse the application if the sponsor does not assign another CoS because it is no longer valid
    UsedThe Home Office will check if the sponsor has assigned a new CoS. If not, then Home Office will refuse the application because there is no valid certificate of sponsorship for UK Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa Application

    9. Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) Payment

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    The ISC payment is linked to the assignment of the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and not to the UK Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee visa application for entry clearance or permission to stay. Please note, the payment of ISC is the responsibility of the Sponsor and not that of the UK Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee visa applicant.

    Exemptions

    An application is exempt from the ISC if any of the following apply:

    • the applicant is seeking entry clearance for less than 6 months
    • the job is a PhD-level occupation under SOC codes 2111, 2112, 2113, 2114, 2119, 2150 or 2311 (note this is different from the list of occupations which are eligible for PhD points)
    • the job is in SOC codes 2444 (Clergy), 3441 (Sports Players) or 3442 (Sports coaches, instructors, and officials) – these occupations are not eligible for Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee and must apply under the relevant route (either T2 Sportsperson or T2 Minister of Religion)
    • applicant currently has permission for the purpose of study (is switching from the Tier 4 (General) route or the Student route)
    • the applicant was previously exempt having switched from the Tier 4 (General) route or the Student route and is now applying to extend their permission in the same role with the same sponsor
    • the sponsor is the same as on the applicant’s previous application and the period covered by the new certificate of sponsorship overlaps the period covered by the previous certificate of sponsorship (the exemption only covers the overlap; the sponsor must pay the ISC to cover any extra time beyond the overlap)
    • applicant initially entered Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) with a certificate of sponsorship assigned before 6 April 2017 and has held continuous permission ever since under:
      • Tier 2 (General)
      • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)
      • Skilled Worker
      • Intra-Company Transfer

    Charges

    Applications which do not fall under an exemption attract a fee based on the type of sponsor and the length of the CoS. Accordingly, to establish whether the sponsor has paid the correct charge, the Immigration Officer (Home Office) checks the ISC payment amount (by using the CoS checker) and uses the work start and end dates on the CoS to determine the length of employment.

    ISC for Small or Charitable Sponsor

    A sponsor is eligible to pay the small or charitable sponsor ISC if it has charitable status, or it is subject to the small companies’ regime as set out in chapter 1, paragraphs 381-384 of the Companies Act 2006, or it has no more than 50 employees. This is consistent with the differential rate that sponsors currently pay for a Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee sponsor licence. If the sponsor does not pay the charge or does not pay the right amount, the CoS is not valid.

    UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa Sponsorship Immigration Skills Charge

    Work Start and End DatesSmall or Charitable SponsorMedium or Large Sponsor
    12 months or less£364£1,000
    More than 12 months, but no more than 18 months£546£1,500
    More than 18 months, but no more than 24 months£728£2,000
    More than 24 months, but no more than 30 months£910£2,500
    More than 30 months, but no more than 36 months£1,092£3,000
    More than 36 months, but no more than 42 months£1,274£3,500
    More than 42 months, but no more than 48 months£1,456£4,000
    More than 48 months, but no more than 54 months£1,638£4,500
    More than 54 months, but no more than 60 months£1,820£5,000