Tier 2 (“ICT”) – What may be changing from 1 January 2021?
The UK Home Office updated its policy proposals on the immigration rules in July 2020 that will be applied after the Brexit transition period is terminated. The latest up to date rule shows that the information described in the previous suggested Policy Statement published in February 2020.
This blog update will summarise the changes particularly relating to the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer only.
Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer – What is it?
Migrants under the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) visa type are skilled migrant workers relocating from an international branch of a company to a UK branch. There are presently two subclasses under the Tier 2 ICT visa path which are as follows:
- Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee; and
- Tier 2 (ICT) Long Term Staff.
Tier 2 (ICT) Under the Planned Policies
The Tier 2 (ICT) visa path under the latest system suggests the same policies that are presently applied. This Tier 2 (ICT) visa category will still need migrant workers to possess highly skilled roles at RQF Level 6 or above. Moreover, this This Tier 2 (ICT) visa category will not lead to settlement in the UK.
Changes under the new Visa route after 1 January 2021
Policies on transferring to a “Skilled Worker” visa from 1 January 2021:
Presently, if a Tier 2 (ICT) migrant worker wants to switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa, the migrant worker is obligated to submit an application from outside the UK and in most cases will be required to fulfil the cooling-off period (see further details in the link mentioned below). Under the new policies, this will loosen up as migrant workers may be allowed to change from within the UK, given that all the applicable necessities are fulfilled. We are still waiting for further explanation on this policy and whether this is to be implemented on existing Tier 2 (ICT) holders presently in the UK.
Rules and regulations on the cooling-off period:
Presently, if a migrant worker is in the UK under the Tier 2 visa route and they depart from the UK by the expiry date of their Tier 2 visa, they are obligated to hold on 12 months before they are able to re-apply for entry clearance under any Tier 2 visa route, unless an exclusion applies.
On the other hand, from 1 January 2021, the cooling-off period will only be relevant if the Tier 2 (ICT) migrant worker has previously possessed leave for more than 5 years in any six-year period. We are still waiting for more explanation from the UK Home Office on cooling – off period details and how this will influence those migrant workers who currently hold leave as a Tier 2 migrant under the currently immigration rules and regulations.