The Intra Company Transfer Visa

The Intra Company Transfer Visa

The intra company transfer visa is often the forgotten UK work visa. It shouldn’t be forgotten by either immigration solicitors or international businesses with bases in the UK as it can be a very useful way for a skilled migrant worker to gain entry clearance to work in the UK. In this article business immigration lawyer, Hans Sok Appadu , takes a look at the intra company transfer visa.

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For specialist advice on the intra company transfer visa and business immigration law call the immigration law team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments are available by phone or video call.

What is the intra company transfer visa?

The intra company transfer visa gives entry clearance to the existing overseas employee of an international company to work in the UK. This can be through either the:

  • Intra company transfer visa or 
  • Intra company graduate trainee visa.

Brexit and the intra company transfer visa 

With the end of free movement for EU citizens on the 31 December 2020 and the introduction of Immigration controls for both non-EEA and EU migrant workers, many international companies are having to take a good look at their UK recruitment needs and assess whether job vacancies can realistically be filled within the UK through Employment of UK citizens or those with settled status, including those with settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

In addition, despite COVID-19, many international companies are looking to set up company bases or subsidiaries in the UK so that they don’t face the same supply and custom issues that arise when shipping goods to and from the UK in the world of post Brexit rules and regulations.

Whether you are an international company with an existing base in the UK or looking to set up a branch or subsidiary of your main parent company, the intra company transfer visa may be the best option to ensure that your UK based business has the skilled industry experienced workers it needs. That’s because whilst the sole representative visa may help with the initial UK set up the likelihood is that you will need additional overseas workers to be transferred to the UK.  

Even if your company can't transfer all of its skilled EU workers from its EU base to the UK or can't move its centre of operations from a non-EEA country to the UK, with its geographical proximity to the EU markets, the intra company transfer visa enables you to:

  • Transfer workers with key skills. 
  • Transfer workers who have the knowledge and experience of working for the international company and know the company procedures.
  • Transfer employees with the skill set to train new UK employees in how the international company operates.  

Can any international company transfer workers to the UK on intra company transfer visas?

The application process for an intra company transfer visa is a two-stage process involving a company Sponsor Licence application and an individual visa application.

 

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1

Company applies for a sponsor licence from the Home Office to sponsor employees on intra company transfer visas. 

The company can also apply for a Sponsor Licence to sponsor skilled migrant workers on skilled worker visas. The skilled worker visaapplicant doesn’t need to be an existing employee of the company. 

2

Home Office approves the Sponsor Licence application and allocates certificates of sponsorship. 

The company has to comply with sponsor licence reporting dutiesto maintain its Sponsor Licence.

3

The company assigns the certificates of sponsorship to existing overseas based employees who are eligible to apply for an intra company transfer visa.   

 

4

The individual employees apply for their intra company transfer visa.  

The employee can apply for dependant visas to enable eligible family members to accompany the visa holder or to join the visa holder. 

 

UK online and London based Immigration solicitors

For specialist advice on applying for a sponsor licence to sponsor intra company transfer visa applicants call the business immigration law team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Which employees can be transferred to the UK on intra company transfer visas?

To apply for a intra company transfer visa, an employee must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Employment - the applicant must have been employed by the company outside the UK.
  • Length of Employment - the applicant must meet the minimum length of Employment outside the UK criteria. Applicants for an intra company transfer visa with a salary of less than £73,900 per year must have been employed by the company for one year or more. If the employee’s salary is £73,900 or more then there is no minimum length of Employment. Graduate applicants must have been employed by the company for at least three months immediately before applying for the graduate intra company transfer visa.
  • Eligible job - the applicant must have an eligible job and standard occupation code for their role. The government produces a list of jobs that meet the eligibility criteria for an intra company transfer visa.
  •  Salary requirement- applicants for the intra company transfer visa must be paid the higher of £41,500 gross per year or the going rate for the occupation. The going rate for the job isn’t set by the employer but by the government . The graduate scheme has a  salary threshold of £23,700. The graduate intra company transfer visa is aimed at allowing those on graduate training programmes to experience work in the UK as part of a graduate training scheme with a clearly defined progression towards managerial or specialist roles within the company. 
  • Financial requirement - The intra company transfer visa applicant must meet the financial requirement of being able to show they have at least £1,270 to cover their initial UK expenses. An employer can meet the financial requirement by providing a letter confirming they will guarantee to support the visa applicant in maintenance and accommodation in the first month of Employment.

How long does the intra company transfer visa last for?

Most international companies want to know that if they go to the expense of transferring overseas employees to the UK, and recruiting replacements to fill their jobs, that the transferred employee will be able to spend sufficient time in the UK to make the job transfer cost effective for the company.

An intra company transfer visa can last up to five years. However, the visa can be extended to a maximum of nine years in any ten-year period, depending on the salary paid to the visa holder.

What can a visa holder do on an intra company transfer visa? 

The most obvious thing that the holder of an intra company transfer visa can do is work for their employer. However, the intra company transfer visa holder has to work for their sponsoring employer who must hold a sponsor licence authorising them to employ EU or non-EEA workers on intra company transfer visas. That means the intra company transfer visa holder can't decide to change their Employment without first applying for a new visa.    

In addition to being able to work for their sponsoring employer, the holder of an intra company transfer visa can:

  • Take up a second form of Employment working up to twenty hours per week in the second job but the second job must also be in the same profession as the main sponsored Employment or be a job on the shortage occupation list.
  • Carry out unpaid voluntary Employment.
  • Study.
  • Be accompanied by family members provided that the family member qualifies for a dependant visa.

Does the intra company transfer visa lead to UK settlement?

The holder of an intra company transfer visa can't apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. This is to be contrasted with the skilled worker visa that does lead to UK settlement once the visa holder meets the residence requirement and other eligibility criteria for indefinite leave to remain.

UK online and London based Immigration solicitors

For specialist advice on the intra company transfer visa and business immigration call the immigration law team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments are available by phone or video call.

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