Immigration Specialists London

Uncover the essentials of the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa UK, a key pathway for long-term staff and graduate trainees aiming to join a UK branch of their global company. This points-based system requires applicants to score sixty points via a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), an appropriate salary, and sufficient maintenance funds, exempting them from the English language requirement. Our guide delves into FAQs, provides a thorough document checklist, explains the cooling-off period, and outlines application fees and processing times. It’s important to note that the Tier 2 ICT Visa has evolved into the Intra-Company Transfer Visa, which is now part of the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker route.

Published On:


Last Updated:

Tier 2 ICT Visa for Intra Company Transfer

1. Types and Eligibility Requirements


The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa allows an existing employee of a multinational company to work or receive training at its UK branch for a specific role that cannot be filled by a settled or EEA worker. This visa route is not available for employees of overseas employers who do not have ownership or control over the UK branch.

Tier 2 ICT Visa Types

As of April 6, 2017, the Tier 2 ICT visa for skill transfer and short-term staff has been discontinued. Currently, there are two sub-categories of the Tier 2 ICT visa: Long-Term Staff and Graduate Trainee.

Long-Term Staff Visa

The Long-Term Staff visa is for employees who have been working for their organization for at least 12 months immediately before the transfer. They are transferred to a skilled job in the UK for which their employer cannot find a settled worker. The maximum duration of this visa is up to 5 years, though there are more flexible rules for high earners.

Graduate Trainee Visa

The Graduate Trainee visa is for recent graduates who are transferred to the UK branch for training. This route is not for filling long-term positions. The maximum duration is 12 months, and it must be part of a structured graduate training program with a clear progression towards a managerial or specialist role within the organization.

Points Requirements for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa UK

To successfully apply for the Tier 2 ICT visa, an applicant needs to score 60 points:

  • 30 points for an assigned Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
  • 20 points for the appropriate salary.
  • 10 points for maintenance funds.

Accordingly, an applicant is likely to get a Tier 2 ICT visa if they:

  • Have a valid CoS for the job.
  • Will be paid an appropriate salary for the job in the UK.
  • Have personal savings to support the cost of living in the UK.
  • Can travel and have a travel history over the last 5 years.
  • Have tuberculosis test results if they are from a listed country.
  • Can provide evidence of working for the sponsoring employer outside the UK.

An applicant needs to apply through the visas and immigration services on Gov.UK and attend an appointment at a visa application centre to submit their application and biometrics. In case of a successful outcome, the UKVI will use the biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) to issue the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). The applicant must collect the BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

2. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)


Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer CoS Requirements

To apply for a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa, applicants need a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed sponsor. The CoS is an electronic document containing personal and job details, which is used as a reference number in the visa application process. Applicants must use the CoS reference number within 3 months of its issuance.

Job Level and Salary Confirmation

The CoS must confirm that the job is at the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 6 for standard occupations or RQF level 4 for creative sector occupations. Additionally, it must verify that the applicant will receive an appropriate salary for the job.

Long-Term Staff CoS Points

Applicants can earn 30 points for a valid CoS if they have been employed outside the UK by the sponsor for at least 12 months. However, the 12-month requirement is waived for salaries over £73,900 annually. The 12 months of employment can be cumulative, including previous work with the sponsoring organization.

Absences and Exceptions

Certain absences, such as those due to maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption leave, or long-term sick leave, can extend the period required to meet the 12-month employment requirement to 24 months.

Sponsor’s Responsibilities

The sponsor must be fully responsible for the job’s duties and outcomes. The CoS cannot be used to supply workers to another organization on a contract basis. The applicant must not be an agency worker or contracted for ongoing routine roles for a third party.

Tier 2 Graduate Trainee CoS Points

Graduate Trainee applicants can earn 30 points if they have been employed in a graduate training program by the sponsoring organization for at least 3 months outside the UK. Time spent in the UK as a Tier 2 ICT Graduate Trainee does not count towards the 12-month experience required for Long-Term Staff.

Understanding these CoS requirements is crucial for successfully applying for a Tier 2 ICT visa, ensuring compliance with UK immigration rules and regulations.

3. Salary Threshold


Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa Salary Thresholds

For the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa, salary thresholds vary based on the visa type:

  • Long-Term Staff: Must earn at least £41,500 or the job’s appropriate rate, whichever is higher, to earn 20 points.
  • Graduate Trainee: Must earn at least £23,000 or the job’s appropriate rate, whichever is higher, to earn 20 points.

Special Conditions

The salary requirements may vary for visa extensions, work periods of less than a year, hourly rates, or specific working hours. The appropriate salary applies only to the period the applicant is working in the UK.

Pro-Rated Earnings

For periods of less than 12 months in the UK, points are based on pro-rated annual earnings. For example, earning £25,000 for 6 months would equate to £50,000 per year for the purpose of points calculation.

Part-Time Work

Points are awarded based on actual earnings rather than equivalent full-time earnings.

Allowances and Earnings

Allowances can be included in gross salary calculations, except for shares exchanged for UK employment rights. Points are capped at a maximum of 48 work hours per week, regardless of whether longer hours are worked. The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) should specify salary details, so no additional evidence is required. For overseas payments, the Oanda exchange rate on the day the CoS is assigned should be used.

CoS Requirements

The CoS must confirm that the salary is at or above the appropriate job rate as specified in Appendix J of the Immigration Rules.

Salary Inclusions and Exclusions

Included in the salary calculations are guaranteed gross basic pay and certain allowances. Excluded from the salary calculations are one-off payments, non-guaranteed bonuses, overtime, business expenses, pension contributions, medical benefits, tuition fees, and shares obtained as an employer-owner.

Accommodation Allowance

For Tier 2 ICT Long-Term Staff visas, the accommodation allowance is capped at 30% of the total gross salary package.

Understanding these salary requirements is crucial for meeting the eligibility criteria for the Tier 2 ICT visa and ensuring compliance with UK immigration regulations.

4. Maintenance Funds


Maintenance Funds Required for Tier 2 ICT Visa

Dependent Family Members

Dependents of the main Tier 2 ICT applicant can join them in the UK. Dependents include the spouse or partner and children under 18. Children over 18 can also qualify if they are already in the UK on a Tier 2 ICT dependent visa.

Financial Requirements

Each dependent must have £630 in a regulated financial institution for 90 days to cover living costs in the UK. For example, a Tier 2 ICT visa applicant bringing a spouse/partner and two children needs £2,835 (£945 for themselves, £630 for their spouse/partner, and £1,260 for their two children).

Sponsorship Waiver

If the Tier 2 ICT applicant has a fully approved A-rated sponsor, they do not need to provide evidence of savings for themselves and their dependents. The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) must state that the sponsor will provide each dependent with at least £630 for the first month to cover initial costs.

Understanding these maintenance fund requirements ensures that applicants and their dependents meet the financial criteria for the Tier 2 ICT visa, facilitating a smooth relocation to the UK.

5. Supporting Documents


Documents Required for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa

When applying for a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa, the applicant usually needs to furnish the following documents at the UK visa application centre:

  1. Visa Application Form: A printout of the completed online Tier 2 ICT visa application form.
  2. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): The CoS reference number provided by the sponsor.
  3. Proof of Financial Support: Documented proof from a bank or building society indicating that the applicant possesses adequate personal savings, unless the financial support is confirmed through the CoS by the sponsor.
  4. Current Passport or Travel Document: A valid passport or travel document with a blank page for the Tier 2 ICT visa vignette.
  5. Previous Passports or Travel Documents: Expired passports or travel documents to provide past immigration and travel history.
  6. Tuberculosis Test Results: Required if the applicant is from a listed country.

Additional Information

If the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requests additional information during the assessment process, the applicant may need to provide evidence of working for the sponsor, such as:

  • Printed Pay Slips
  • Online Pay Slips: Supported by a letter from the sponsor signed by a senior staff member.
  • Bank or Building Society Statements
  • Building Society Passbook

Ensuring that all necessary documents are prepared and submitted can significantly enhance the likelihood of a successful Tier 2 ICT visa application.

6. Guidance Notes


Guidance Notes for Tier 2 ICT Visa for Intra-Company Transfers and Graduate Trainees

Application Fees

The UK visa fees for the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa vary based on the length of the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). For Long-Term Staff, the fee is £610 for a period of three years or less and £1,220 for more than three years. The application fee for the Tier 2 Graduate Trainee visa is £482. Citizens of Turkey or Macedonia are eligible for a £55 discount. These fees do not include the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS), which is refundable in case of a refusal.

Processing Time

Applicants can apply for a Tier 2 ICT visa up to 3 months before the start date of work in the UK, as mentioned in the CoS. For example, if the CoS indicates a start date of February 2, 2020, the application can be submitted as early as November 3, 2019. The standard processing time for most applications is within 15 working days, although some may take up to 30 working days. The UKVI also offers a priority service at certain UK visa application centres (UKVACs) to process applications within one week.

Genuineness Test

When applying for Tier 2 ICT entry clearance or leave to remain, applicants must demonstrate that they are being sponsored for a genuine role and possess the appropriate qualifications for the position indicated on the CoS. The decision-maker may request additional information and evidence from both the applicant and the sponsor. Failure to provide the requested information within 10 business days can result in a refusal.

Interview

UKVI may conduct an interview with the applicant, especially if there are concerns related to adverse immigration history, past criminal convictions, or document verification.

Permitted Activities

A migrant on a Tier 2 ICT visa in the UK can:

  • Work for the sponsor in the job described in the CoS.
  • Do a second job in the same profession and at the same level as the main job for up to 20 hours per week.
  • Do voluntary work.
  • Study, provided it does not interfere with the sponsored job.
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK.
  • Bring family members to the UK.

However, migrants on a Tier 2 ICT visa are not eligible for public funds and cannot start working in the UK before receiving the visa.

Maximum Duration of Stay

The maximum duration for the Tier 2 ICT visa for long-term staff is typically up to 5 years plus 1 month. For migrants earning more than £120,000 a year, the stay can extend up to 9 years. The maximum duration for Tier 2 Graduate Trainees is 12 months.

Start Date for Working in the UK

Migrants on a Tier 2 ICT visa can begin working in the UK 14 days before the start date specified in their CoS. For instance, if the job starts on January 15, 2020, the migrant can start working from January 1, 2020.

These guidance notes provide a comprehensive overview of the requirements and conditions for the Tier 2 ICT visa, helping applicants understand the necessary steps and compliance needed for a successful application.

7. Extension and Switching


Tier 2 ICT Visa: Extension, Switching, and Processing Time

Extension Eligibility

Migrants can extend their Tier 2 ICT visa if they hold a similar job as before, work for the same sponsor, and earn an appropriate salary. The application for an extension must be made before the current visa expires. Dependents on the current visa, including children who turned 18 during the stay, can be included in the extension application.

Duration of Extension

For long-term staff, the extension duration is either for the period stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) plus 14 days or up to 5 years (9 years for those earning over £120,000 annually), whichever is shorter. Graduate Trainees can extend their visa for the remainder of a 12-month period. For example, if the original grant was for 4 months, an 8-month extension can be granted.

Fees

The online application fees for Tier 2 ICT visa extensions are £704 for a CoS of 3 years or less and £1,408 for more than 3 years. For the Tier 2 Graduate Migrant visa, the fee is £482. Turkish or Macedonian citizens receive a £55 discount. These fees do not include the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS), which is refundable if the application is refused. Additionally, a biometric fee of £19.20 is required.

Switching

Migrants on a Representative of an Overseas Business visa can switch to a Tier 2 ICT long-term staff visa. However, switching to a Graduate Trainee Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa is not permitted. The maximum duration after switching is up to 5 years plus 1 month, or 9 years for those earning over £120,000 annually.

Processing Time

The standard processing time for a Tier 2 ICT visa extension is within 8 weeks after biometrics submission. There are also priority and super-priority services available for faster processing:

  • Priority Service: Costs an extra £500 and processes the application within 5 working days.
  • Super-Priority Service: Costs an extra £1,000 and offers a decision by the next working day after biometrics or within 2 days for weekday appointments.

Priority services are for straightforward applications only and do not guarantee a decision within the stated timeframes.

Understanding these requirements and options can help ensure a smooth process for extending, switching, and obtaining decisions on Tier 2 ICT visa applications.

8. Cooling-Off Period Rules


Tier 2 ICT Visa: Cooling-Off Period and Rules

General Cooling-Off Period

After a Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) visa expires, migrants must leave the UK and observe a 12-month cooling-off period before reapplying for another Tier 2 ICT visa.

Graduate Trainees

Graduate Trainees must leave the UK after their 12-month visa period. They cannot reapply for a long-term staff visa under Tier 2 ICT until 12 months have passed since their last Tier 2 ICT leave expired or since they left the UK, whichever is earlier.

Long-Term Staff

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Long-Term Staff visas are granted for up to 5 years, or 9 years for those earning £120,000 or more annually. Extensions beyond these periods are not permitted.

Exceptions

Graduate Trainees earning £120,000 or more annually can apply for a long-term staff visa without waiting for the cooling-off period. The cooling-off period does not apply to initial Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) issued for 3 months or less, providing flexibility for short-term transfers.

Start of Cooling-Off Period

The cooling-off period can start before the visa expiry if the applicant leaves the UK earlier and provides evidence such as boarding card stubs, travel tickets (with an SMS employment conclusion report), passport stamps, or a letter from the overseas employer confirming the employment start date abroad. The Home Office calculates the cooling-off period from the earliest evidence of leaving the UK. The cooling-off period applies even if the actual stay is less than 3 months, provided the CoS was for more than 3 months. For example, a 6-month CoS holder who leaves the UK after 2 months is still subject to the cooling-off period.

Understanding these rules ensures compliance with the cooling-off period requirements and helps in planning future applications for Tier 2 ICT visas.

9. FAQs: Tier 2 ICT Visa


  1. What is the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa?

    The Tier 2 ICT visa allows employees of multinational companies to transfer to a UK branch to fill a specific role that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This visa is available for both long-term staff and graduate trainees.

  2. What are the eligibility requirements for the Tier 2 ICT Visa?

    To be eligible for the Tier 2 ICT visa, applicants must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed sponsor, meet the appropriate salary requirements, have sufficient personal savings, and pass the genuineness test. For long-term staff, they must have worked for their organization for at least 12 months unless they earn more than £73,900 annually.

  3. How long can I stay in the UK on a Tier 2 ICT Visa?

    The duration of stay for a Tier 2 ICT Long-Term Staff visa is up to 5 years, or up to 9 years for those earning more than £120,000 annually. For Graduate Trainees, the visa is valid for up to 12 months.

  4. Can I bring my family members with me on a Tier 2 ICT Visa?

    Yes, you can bring your spouse or partner and children under 18 as dependents. Each dependent must have £630 in savings to support themselves, unless you have an A-rated sponsor who can certify maintenance.

  5. What is the cooling-off period for the Tier 2 ICT Visa?

    After a Tier 2 ICT visa expires, there is a mandatory 12-month cooling-off period before you can reapply for another Tier 2 ICT visa. This period can start earlier if you leave the UK before the visa expires and provide appropriate evidence to the Home Office. Exceptions to the cooling-off period include initial CoS issued for 3 months or less and graduate trainees earning £120,000 or more annually.