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The upcoming changes to Intra Company Transfer (ICT)

With the new Points Based Immigration System being introduced from 01 January 2021, there will be changes to Intra Company Transfer visa.

If a multi-national organisation wishes to post an overseas worker to their UK branch, the employee can apply for the Intra-Company Transfer route. Workers will need to meet the skills and salary thresholds set out by the Home Office.

From 01 January 2021, workers transferring to the UK will need to:

Be sponsored as an Intra-Company Transfer by a Home Office licensed sponsor

Have 12 months of experience working for a business overseas linked by ownership to the UK business they will work for.

Be undertaking a role at the required skill level of RQF6 or above (graduate-level equivalent)

Be paid at least £41,500 or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher

The permission for workers transferred to the UK on the ICT route is temporary. Workers can be assigned to the UK on multiple occasions, however they cannot stay in the UK for more than five years in any six-year period. Workers that are paid over £73,900 do not need to have worked overseas for 12 months and can stay for up to nine years in any ten-year period. Any workers who are transferred to the UK as part of a structured graduate training programme for up to one year can apply for the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route, the requirements are the same although there are different rules on length of overseas experience and salary.

In February 2020, the Home Office published their Policy Statement on the UK’s Points-Based Immigration System.

Intra-Company Transfers and Intra-Company Graduate Trainees

The main purpose of intra-company transfers and graduate trainees is to accommodate temporary moves by enabling multi-national companies to move their workers between branches. The route will still require applicants to be in roles skilled to RQF6, and subject to a different minimum salary threshold from the main Skilled Worker route. It will not be subject to English language requirements however will be subject to a requirement that the worker has been employed by the sending business for a minimum period prior to the transfer.

The route will not lead to settlement; however, applicants will be permitted to switch into the Skilled Worker route whilst still in the UK if they meet the qualifying requirements for that route.

Home Office has also announced that they will adjust the existing “cooling off” rules as they in order to allow more flexible provision for shorter-term assignments. The Home Office intends to replace the existing rules with a rule that simply requires that an overseas ICT holder must not hold entry clearance or leave to enter or remain as an ICT for more than five years in any six-year period, except where they qualify to be granted up to nine years on the basis of their salary.

Main Highlights for ICT:

There will not be English language requirements

No immigration skills charge

ICT holders must still pay Immigration Health Surcharge

There are requirements for maintenance

ICT holders can switch employers or switch route in-country

ICT does not lead to settlement

ICT Holders can bring dependants with them to the UK

No Access to Public Funds

Employment restricted to role specified on Certificate of Sponsorship

Entry for 12 months for graduate trainee and five years for company transfer (nine years for higher-paid roles)

Free movement for EU nationals ends on 31 December 2020. This means that from 01 January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end and the UK will introduce a new immigration system that will treat all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from. Anyone from an organisation who wants to recruit from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission first.

If you’re not already a licensed sponsor and you think you may sponsor migrants through the skilled worker route from 01 January 2021, you should apply for the sponsor licence now.

If your business requires assistance in applying for a sponsor licence or manage an existing licence, please contact our corporate immigration team on 0330 058 3929.

Disclaimer: No material or information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should always seek appropriate professional advice to resolve their Legal Matters.
About the Author

  Arti Adarsh

Arti is a CIPD qualified HR Consultant specialising in providing professional advice, guidance and assistance to companies on becoming a licensed sponsor and meeting the sponsor duties as well as compliance obligations under PBS Skilled Worker Route.

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