Immigration Specialists London

The Intra Company Transfer Visa UK was an integral component of global business mobility, facilitating the transfer of employees from international branches to the UK. This visa was available in two variants: the standard Intra-Company Transfer Visa and the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa. Our guide delves into each type, offering a thorough understanding of their features, eligibility criteria, and application procedures. Designed to assist both employees and HR professionals, this guide is a comprehensive resource for navigating the complexities of this vital aspect of global workforce mobility.

Previously, the Intra Company Transfer Visa UK had replaced the Tier 2 ICT Visa. However, as of April 11, 2022, the Senior or Specialist Worker route replaced the Intra-company Transfer visa. And the Graduate Trainee route has replaced the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa.

Published On:

Last Updated:

Intra-Company Transfer Visa Requirements

1. Introduction

In an increasingly global business landscape, cross-border mobility of employees is a significant aspect of operations for many multinational corporations. In the heart of this global shift, the United Kingdom continues to be a preferred destination, prompting the need for a comprehensive understanding of visa provisions such as the Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK.

The Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK is a distinct immigration category, designed specifically to facilitate the temporary transfer of vital personnel from overseas offices to a UK-based branch of the same organization. This visa type encompasses two subcategories: the Intra-Company Transfer visa and the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa. These visas allow international companies to bring over established employees or graduate trainees respectively, to their UK offices, thereby promoting the exchange of skills, knowledge, and corporate culture.

Who can apply? Any employee working in a company with a UK-based branch who has been offered a role in the UK office can apply for this visa. The catch? The role must meet specific skill and salary thresholds, and the transfer must be sponsored by the employer. Importantly, this visa is not a route to settlement in the UK, but a temporary arrangement ranging from a few months to several years, depending on the specifics of the transfer.

This type of visa is vital to international businesses as it provides an effective way to move key personnel to strategically important locations. It is essential for initiatives such as setting up new offices, leading major projects, and training UK personnel in specific global business methods or techniques. In an ever-evolving corporate environment, the Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK plays a pivotal role in maintaining the UK’s status as a top destination for global businesses.

2. Overview of Intra Company Transfer Visa UK

The Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK is a unique offering that caters to the diverse needs of international businesses. It is subdivided into two categories – Intra-Company Transfer visa and Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa. Each of these is designed to cater to specific requirements of businesses aiming to bolster their UK operations with overseas talent.

  1. Intra-Company Transfer Visa: This visa is tailored for established employees of a multinational corporation who are being transferred to a UK branch. It is specifically designed for individuals in high-level or specialized roles. This category can be further divided into ‘Long-Term Staff’ for those with over 12 months experience in the company, and ‘Short-Term Staff’ for those with less experience. It should be noted that the duration of stay, and the minimum salary required may vary between these subcategories.
  2. Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa: This category is earmarked for the transfer of recent graduate recruits in a multinational company for the purpose of training. Unlike the standard Intra-Company Transfer visa, this category specifically targets recent graduates involved in a structured graduate training programme. This visa allows for a maximum stay of 12 months, and it requires that the trainee position must be additional to the normal staffing requirements of the UK entity.

In both categories, the Certificate of Sponsorship holds paramount importance. A Certificate of Sponsorship is a virtual document, an essential reference number which confirms that the employee can undertake a specific job in the UK for a specific employer. The sponsoring employer must have a valid Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor license and must guarantee that the employee meets all the eligibility requirements and will be able to support themselves without recourse to public funds.

The Certificate of Sponsorship carries details about the job, the employee’s personal details, and the sponsor’s information. This ‘certificate’ is a critical component in the visa application process as it attests to the credibility of the employer and the legitimacy of the job offer. Therefore, securing a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from the UK-based employer is a significant initial step in the Intra-Company Transfer visa application process.

3. Eligibility Criteria

Understanding the eligibility criteria is a crucial aspect of a successful Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee visa application. These requirements are designed to ensure that incoming personnel are genuinely required, have the necessary skills, and can comfortably sustain themselves in the UK.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa Eligibility:

  • Job Offer and Sponsorship: The candidate must have a job offer in a UK-based branch of their current employer and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship. The sponsoring company must hold a valid sponsor licence to issue this certificate.
  • Job Skill Level: The role being undertaken in the UK must meet the skill level of RQF6 or above (equivalent to graduate level). This ensures that the incoming employees possess high-level skills or specialist expertise.
  • Salary Threshold: For Long-Term Staff, the applicant must earn a minimum salary of £41,500 or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the role, whichever is higher. For Short-Term Staff, the minimum salary is £23,000 or the ‘appropriate rate’.

Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa Eligibility:

  • Job Offer and Sponsorship: As with the Intra-Company Transfer visa, the applicant must have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK-based employer who holds a valid sponsor licence.
  • Training Requirement: The candidate must be part of a structured graduate training programme that clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role within the organization.
  • Salary Threshold: The applicant must earn a minimum salary of £23,000 or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the role, whichever is higher.

Keep in mind that these eligibility requirements are a guideline, and the final decision rests with UK immigration authorities who will assess each application based on its individual merits and in accordance with prevailing immigration rules.

4. Documents Required for Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK

Applying for an Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee visa requires the submission of various important documents. These documents play a vital role in verifying the eligibility and credibility of the applicant. Here is a detailed list of the required documentation, along with an explanation of their importance:

  1. Online Application Form Printout: After filling the visa application online, it’s important to print out and submit a physical copy of the form. This ensures there’s a paper trail of your application.
  2. Current Passport: A valid passport is an essential document that provides proof of your nationality and identity. Ensure it has at least one blank page for the visa vignette to be affixed.
  3. Certified Translation of Documents: If any of your required documents are not in English or Welsh, you must provide a certified translation. This ensures that the immigration authorities can accurately interpret your documentation.
  4. Certificate of Sponsorship Reference Number: This number, provided by your UK employer, is critical evidence that you’ve secured a valid job offer from a licensed sponsor.
  5. Job Details: You need to provide specifics of your job, including your job title, annual salary, occupation code, and your employer’s name and sponsor licence number.
  6. Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) Payment Confirmation: You’re required to pay the IHS as part of your application, which gives you access to the National Health Service in the UK. Proof of this payment is required.

In addition to these documents, depending on your circumstances, you may also need to provide:

  • Evidence of Personal Savings: If you need to show that you can support yourself without public funds, bank statements can prove you have enough money.
  • Proof of Relationship: If applying with dependent family members, you’ll need to show proof of relationship, like marriage or birth certificates.
  • Tuberculosis Test Results: If you’re from a country where TB testing is required, you’ll need a certificate showing you’re free of the disease.
  • ATAS Certificate: If your job involves certain sensitive subjects, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.
  • Proof of Academic Qualifications: If your academic qualifications are from outside the UK, you may need a unique ECCTIS reference number (formerly unique UK NARIC reference number) to confirm their equivalency.

Ensure you have all these documents prepared before starting your visa application process to help ensure a smoother process.

5. Application Process and Processing Time

The application process for an Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa, although straightforward, requires careful attention to detail.

If an applicant is lodging their application from outside the UK, the standard fee for an Intra-Company Transfer Visa will vary based on the duration of the stay. For a visa that permits a stay of up to 3 years, the application fee is set at £625 per person. Conversely, for those intending to stay for more than 3 years, the application fee increases to £1,235 per person.

When an applicant is submitting their application from within the UK, either to extend, switch, or update their Intra-Company Transfer Visa, the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Charges are contingent on the visa duration. If the visa duration is projected to be up to 3 years, then the application fees amount to £719 per person. However, for applicants who plan to stay for more than 3 years, the application fees rise to £1,423 per person.

To ensure a successful application, follow the steps below:

  1. Online Application: You must submit an online application form. Be sure to provide complete and accurate information. False or misleading information can lead to visa refusal or even a ban from entering the UK.
  2. Gather Necessary Documents: Compile all the necessary documents outlined earlier in this guide. Remember, all documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation.
  3. Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): You are also required to pay the IHS as part of your application, which entitles you to use the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) – usually @ £624 per year
  4. Biometric Information: After your online application, you’ll need to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) at a visa application center. This will be used for your biometric residence permit.
  5. Wait for Decision: After you’ve completed the steps above, your application will be processed.

Now, let’s talk about processing times. The standard service aims to decide 90%, 98%, and 100% of the applications within 15, 30, and 60 working days, respectively. Typically, for most applicants, the process takes about 3 weeks or 15 working days.

For those who need a quicker decision, the UK Home Office offers premium services that can fast-track the processing time. By purchasing the £250 priority visa service, you can receive a decision within five working days.

Please note, for extension or renewal applications, the standard processing time is 8 weeks. You can fast-track the process to 5 working days or 24 hours by purchasing the £500 or £800 priority or super-priority service, respectively.

Keep in mind that purchasing fast-tracking services does not guarantee visa approval. It simply expedites the processing time for straightforward applications. Always ensure your application is accurate and complete to increase your chances of approval.

6. Conditions of Stay in the UK

Upon approval of your Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa, it’s crucial to be aware of the conditions of your stay in the UK. Violating these terms can lead to serious repercussions, including revocation of your visa or a ban on future entry into the UK.

  1. Employment: As a holder of an Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa, your primary employment should be with the sponsoring employer, as detailed on your Certificate of Sponsorship. However, there are some exceptions. You can engage in supplementary employment if it’s a job in the shortage occupation list or a job in the same occupation code as your main job. This supplementary work can’t exceed 20 hours a week and must be outside the working hours of your main job. Additionally, you can also work voluntarily, provided you’re not being paid or compensated beyond reasonable expenses.
  2. Access to Public Funds: As an Intra-Company Visa holder, you’re not eligible to access public funds. This includes benefits like unemployment allowances, housing support, and other social welfare provisions.
  3. Police Registration: Depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay, you might need to register with the UK police. This requirement will be stated on your visa vignette or biometric residence permit if it applies to you.
  4. Studying: You are allowed to pursue studies while in the UK, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’ve been sponsored to do. However, for certain courses and research at a postgraduate level, you need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. If your course or research is delayed for more than three months or if there are changes in the course content, you need to apply for a new ATAS certificate within 28 calendar days and provide a copy to your education provider.

Remember, adhering to these conditions is essential to maintaining your legal status in the UK. Always ensure that your activities in the UK align with these regulations.

7. Study and Supplementary Employment

While the main objective of the Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visas is to allow professionals to work in the UK, the visa does provide certain allowances for studying and supplementary employment. However, these permissions come with their own set of rules and requirements.

  1. Study: As a holder of an Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa, you are allowed to pursue academic studies during your stay in the UK. However, this should not interfere with the responsibilities of your primary job. For certain fields of study, specifically those that lead to a master’s degree, PhD, or another postgraduate qualification, an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate is required. This certificate must be obtained prior to the commencement of your study. If your research or course completion date is postponed or there are changes in the course content, you must apply for a new ATAS certificate within 28 calendar days.
  2. Supplementary Employment: While your main source of income will be from the job that brought you to the UK, supplementary employment is permitted under specific conditions. The supplementary job must either be on the shortage occupation list or be in the same occupation code as your main job. Additionally, this work cannot exceed 20 hours per week and must be outside of the working hours covered by your Certificate of Sponsorship.

These allowances for study and supplementary employment provide opportunities for personal and professional growth while you’re in the UK. However, it’s essential to follow the guidelines provided to ensure that you remain compliant with your visa conditions. Always consult with your employer or legal counsel if you’re uncertain about the rules surrounding these permissions.

8. Success Rate of Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK

Understanding the success rate of the Intra-Company Transfer Visa can provide a clearer picture of the application process and can give potential applicants an idea of their chances for approval.

According to the latest immigration statistics available, the success rate for Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visas has remained high. In the period from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021, 9,345 applications were reviewed and 9,331 visas were granted. That’s an astonishing success rate of 98.85%.

Let’s break that down a little further:

  • 2020 Q4: The success rate was 100%. All applicants during this quarter were successful in securing an Intra-Company Transfer Visa.
  • 2021 Q1: The success rate was 99.80%. A nearly flawless success rate continued into the new year.
  • 2021 Q2: The success rate dropped slightly to 98.87%.

These high success rates indicate a promising outlook for prospective applicants of the UK Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visas. However, it’s important to note that every application is unique and is assessed on its own merits. Meeting all eligibility requirements and providing a complete and accurate application package will significantly improve your chances of success.

Remember, the quality of your application can directly impact the outcome. Ensuring you follow all guidelines and provide all necessary documentation in a timely and organized manner will help increase your chances of joining the thousands of successful Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visa holders in the UK.

9. FAQs: Intra Company Transfer Visa UK

  1. What is an Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK?

    An Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK is a type of work visa that allows international businesses to transfer their employees from overseas branches to their operations in the UK.

  2. Who is eligible to apply for the Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK?

    Eligibility for this visa type is generally restricted to non-UK residents who are currently working for a multinational organization that intends to transfer them to a UK branch. Specific eligibility criteria include having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from the UK-based employer, meeting the appropriate salary threshold, and others detailed in the post.

  3. What is the difference between Intra-Company Transfer Visa and Graduate Trainee Visa?

    While both visas are for employees of multinational companies, the Graduate Trainee Visa is specifically designed for recent graduates who are being transferred to the UK as part of a structured graduate training program.

  4. What is a Certificate of Sponsorship and why is it important?

    A Certificate of Sponsorship is a document issued by a UK-based employer, indicating that they are willing to sponsor the applicant’s stay in the UK. It is a key requirement for both Intra-Company Transfer and Graduate Trainee Visas.

  5. What is the processing time for these visas?

    The typical processing time for these visas is around 3 weeks, but it can vary. There are options to fast-track the process by purchasing priority or super-priority services.

  6. Can I study while I’m in the UK on an Intra-Company Transfer or Graduate Trainee Visa?

    Yes, you can study while in the UK on these visas, but certain restrictions apply. You might need to acquire an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for your course or research.

  7. What is the success rate for the Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK applications?

    According to the latest data, the success rate for these visa applications is approximately 98.85%. However, this rate can vary over time.

  8. Can I bring my family to the UK on an Intra-Company Transfer Visa?

    Yes, you can bring dependents (your spouse or partner and your children under 18) with you to the UK while on an Intra-Company Transfer Visa. They will have to apply for their visas separately.

For further details, please refer to Immigration Rules Appendix Intra-Company Routes.