Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer Visa under the Points Based System of UK Immigration Process

The United Kingdom immigration process is based on laws that have been passed over the years and compiled in what is known as the ‘Immigration Rules’ of the UK. These laws serve to regulate the flow of individuals entering and leaving the country through a certain procedure which is different for every visa category (such as business visa, student visa, business investment visa UK, UK immigration tier 1 etc.). The UK has given the Home Office the authority to handle all immigration related cases which also includes asylum and deportation cases. Excluding cases related to asylum and deportation, regular permission to enter or leave the country is based on a document granted known as a ‘visa’. The government has divided the visa categories into the Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 visa. The category of the visa the person needs to apply on is dependent on the reason the person wishes to come to the UK. For example, a person wishing to come to UK for study purposes will apply on the Tier 4 visa while a person coming for tourism purposes will apply on the Tier 5 visa. The Immigration Rules cover procedures and regulations for all categories of visa and work to regulate the immigration for all visa categories (such as t1 visa requirements, investor visa UK requirements and similarly for others too).

The Tier 2 visa category has been defined for employees coming to UK for work related purposes as employees of a company. The four categories defined in the Tier 2 visa are General visa category covering general rules for foreigners coming to work in the UK, Minister of Religion category covering foreigners coming to work in the UK where the work is of a religious nature, the Sportsperson category and the Intra Company Transfer category. In this blog we will discuss the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa category.

The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer category is defined to assist any international company that has a branch based in UK, and wishes to employ a person who is not a national of UK or a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This visa category allows companies to transfer an employee to its UK branch with the aim of making the employee stay for the job either long term or short term depending on the company’s instructions. The short terms visits can be back and forth into the country and frequent visits are allowed. Note that the members of the European Economic Area (EEA) do not require a visa to come to work in UK (until UK officially leaves the EU) so they will be exempt from requiring a visa.

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer Visa 

The Intra Company Transfer visa is divided further into four sub-categories listed as:

  • Where the staff is needed to be employed long term in UK. In this scenario, an employee needs to be brought into the UK branch of the company, where the reasons of the transfer is such that the role that needs to be filled cannot be done so by any employee from the current workforce. In this scenario, the employee needs to employ for a minimum of 1 year or more than that, depending on the company’s requirement.
  • In this scenario, the employee only needs to be brought in for a short period of time. The requirements of this visa require an employee of the company who is skilled in his/her role and also established within the company. As per the general requirement of this visa, the role should be of such nature that the company cannot fill it from the current workforce in the country.
  • If the person being asked to come to UK is a recent graduate and has been offered to participate in a graduate trainee program in the firm in question. Note that the program must be of a nature where it eventually progresses to a point of a trained specialist or a managerial post.
  • The purpose of inviting a recent graduate inducted into the company is to familiarize him/her with the basic working of the company and to study the skills that are required of him/her to fill the role in the overseas branch. Also, it can be to teach UK workforce of the company, a specific skill or a knowledge-set.

It should be noted that any person wishing to apply under this category of the Tier 2 visa, and wishes to stay long term, will need to be employed on a minimum salary of £40,600 annually. Furthermore, if it is of any other categories that have been listed, the salary must be a minimum of £24,300 annually. However, this salary package can contain a bonus and additional allowances.

All of this is set in accordance with the Home Office which is responsible for handling immigration related cases and which lays out visa requirements for all categories such as investor visa UK requirements, student visa requirements, business visa requirements etc.

What are the mandatory requirements that need to be fulfilled to be eligible for the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa?

The Home Office has certain requirements for all visa types such as t1 visa requirements, t4 visa requirements and t5 requirements. These requirements also exist for the t2 visa type. It is necessary that the applicant submit valid proof to the Home Office of a valid job offer. Furthermore, the employer requesting the employee’s transfer must be a licensed sponsor and provide the applicant with a certificate of sponsorship. The employer must make sure that the criteria set by the Home Office for sponsorship holders is fulfilled and will not be abused in practice. This implies the employer being held to a certain standard and responsibilities that cover cooperating with immigration control.

It should be worth noting that the UK government does not allow an employee being transferred to disrupt the role of any individual currently employed in the company in UK. This implies that the employer must make sure that the vacancy exists and cannot be suited to a worker who is a national of the United Kingdom.

It is also not allowed that the applicant coming to UK be a shareholder of a limited company, where the amount of share in the company is greater than 10% (unless the applicant is applying for the Intra-Company Transfer category.)

How many points are required to be eligible for the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa under the Points Based System? 

This category of the Tier 2 visa requires a total of 50 points to be eligible. These 50 points are broken down based on several requirements that need to be fulfilled and a specific number of points are given depending on which requirement is fulfilled. Furthermore, an authorized certificate of sponsorship and a sponsor is still required.

  • When the applicant submits the letter of sponsorship, he/she earns a total of 30 points.
  • When valid proof of the applicant’s salary is submitted including any allowances that the employer will be given, a total of 20 points are awarded.
  • In the scenario of the applicant wishing to extend his/her period of stay in the UK, gaining a certificate of sponsorship will help the applicant earn a total of 50 points. Furthermore, if the extension being asked by the person is greater than 3 years, an additional test where the applicant’s English language skills are tested is required. A total of 10 points are gained for fulfilling this requirement. However, the English language test is not mandatory for extensions of a short period or for applicants applying from outside of the UK.
  • A total of 10 points is earned by the applicant when he/she provides significant proof that he/she is financially stable enough to make this trip.

Any person who wishes to apply under this category should realize that even if they score a total of 70 points for this category, the Home Office still holds the right to dismiss the person’s visa application based on its pre set criteria that exists to outline grounds for refusal. For example, any individual with a travel history that does not suffice with the Home Office can be refused a Tier 2 visa even if 70 points are gained.

Is it possible to switch to the Long-term staff - Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa from another visa category while present in UK?

Yes, if the person is currently staying in the United Kingdom on one of the following visas, he/she can switch to this category. These visa categories are:

  • The Tier 2 visa that’s of Established Staff in a Intra Company Transfer Tier 2 visa.
  • The Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa based on the rules that were put in place before the 6th of April, 2010.
  • Any person who holds a work permit of the Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa, excluding permits that allow multiple entry work.
  • Any person acting as a representative of an overseas company. This includes all persons who are acting as representatives of a media company that is based overseas.

Furthermore, if the person does not qualify for any of the above mentioned categories, he/she will be required to leave the country and make his/her application from a foreign country.

Can a person who is in the UK on the Tier 2 Visa apply for permanent settlement? 

Yes, any person who has been living for a continuous period of 5 years in the UK is eligible to apply for settlement under the Tier 2 visa. The same rule similarly applies for other Tier 1, 4 and 5 visa types as well such as business investment visa UK etc. However, applicants should note that if during this 5 year stay, they leave the country for a total of 6 months or more than that within a 1 year period (whether together or separately making up 180 days), they will not be eligible for settlement. Also, the applicant leaving the UK must lay down a valid and serious reason for having to make the trip such as an illness that is of a serious nature.

Note that this 5 year period can include the applicant staying in the country on different visa categories such as switching to the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa category from the following:

  • As a foreigner working in an airline that is owned by a foreign company. It can also be as a foreigner working as an operational ground staff member.
  • As a foreigner serving as a minister of religion in UK or on any missionary/religious activity.
  • Any person who held a valid work permit.
  • Any employee of an overseas business acting as the sole representative of that company.
  • Any person representing a foreign media company in UK such as an overseas newspaper or news agency.
  • A Tier 1 visa holder excluding a Tier 1 (Post Study Work) visa.
  • Any migrant involved in work that the UK classifies as highly skilled work.
  • Any person the UK categorizes as an innovator.

Note that any person who wishes to apply for permanent settlement must have his/her employer be willing to sponsor along with providing a valid certificate of sponsorship. This means that the employer must put in writing that the employee, at the time of the applicant applying for permanent settlement, is still required for the job. The employee must also confirm to the Home Office that the salary being paid to him/her is appropriate in accordance with the market and as laid out in the Code of Practice of the Tier 2 sponsor guideline.

Furthermore, the applicant’s application being submitted for settlement must also include a recent pay slip which is at least 1 month old from the date of the application being submitted. The applicant must also provide a recent bank statement from his/her personal account which is at least a month old at the date of the settlement application being submitted. The applicant must be paid a minimum of £35,000 annually before taxes are paid as a recent change implemented by the government. Also, the pay rate for the applicant’s job must be in accordance with that laid out in the codes of practice guideline.