Intra-Company Transfer Visa Update: Are you looking to transfer staff to the UK for temporary work assignments?

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Published: 19th October 2021
Area: Business Immigration

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Multi-national companies have been transferring skilled staff for work around the world for many years but how does this work when coming to work in the UK under the points based immigration system?

Multi-national companies have been transferring skilled staff for work around the world for many years but how does this work when coming to work in the UK under the points based immigration system?  

The UK has the short term Intra Company Transfer visa route to allow established employees of an overseas entity to be transferred to the UK to carry out their work in a skilled job on a temporary basis. 

Last month the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the UK’s current route to ensure it complies with the UK’s commitments under free trade agreements and to advise on eligibility criteria for workers and sending organisations. MAC recently published their detailed review of the Intra Company Transfer route 2021 on 13 October. 

What are the proposed changes employers can expect? 
  • General salary thresholds are expected to increase from £41,500 to £42,400 for the main route and decrease for graduate transfers from the current £23,000 to £20,840 
  • Intra-Company Transfer does not lead to settlement today. However this could be an option in the future with any time spent in the UK counting towards settlement where staff switch from this category into another route.  
  • A new 12 month secondment visa is being considered with the possibility of a single renewal where there is a contract between an employer’s overseas and UK entity in excess of £50 million, and the business has been operating for at least 12 months 
  • A new short term route could be introduced to amend current visitor rules to cover specialist technical work which only requires a few days or weeks to complete 
  • The Immigration Skills Charge will remain, however this will not apply to EU nationals under this route from 1 January 2023 further to the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement 
What can employers expect to remain? 
  • The skills threshold that is currently RQF level 6 is expected to remain the same, so employers can only sponsor staff in jobs that are at degree level and above 
  • Employers can only transfer staff that have been employed in their overseas organisation for at least 12 months (unless paid a minimum of £73,900 a year) or three months for graduate transfers 
  • Sponsored staff will still not be required to meet an English language requirement in comparison to the Skilled worker visa route 

Employers should be mindful that MAC’s report details recommendations made to the Home Office at this stage so it remains to be seen exactly what approach will be taken towards this UK work. If MAC’s report is however reflected, it could result in some significant changes for the Intra Company Transfer route over the next year.   

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Tijen is widely recognized as an expert in UK business immigration. She represents high net worth entrepreneurs with inward investment and helps them navigate through the complexities of the rules and practicalities of relocation.

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