This category allows multinational companies to transfer workers from their overseas operations to a UK branch. There must be common ownership or control of the overseas business and the UK business. This may be an easier and faster route than the Tier 2 General visa to transfer existing staff to the UK. The worker must have a confirmed UK job and a certificate of sponsorship from their employer, who must hold a valid Tier 2 intra-company transfer sponsorship licence.
This guide is split into the following sections:
- Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa overview
- Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa sub-categories
- Maintenance Funds requirements
- Other activities and restrictions
- Tier 2 Visa holder taking up new or additional employment
There is no requirement to advertise and do the resident labour market test under this visa category and no English language requirement. In addition, there is no need to obtain a Restricted CoS which reduces processing times compared to applications made by Tier 2 General visa applicants who are based outside the UK. There is also no restriction on shareholdings owned by the Tier 2 intra-company transfer visa applicant and so businessmen with any shareholding in the UK business can gain entry.
However, unlike the tier 2 general visa category the tier 2 intra-company transfer visa does not lead to indefinite leave to remain at the end of five years in the UK. You also cannot switch to a tier 2 general visa from within the UK and there is usually a twelve month cooling off period before being able to apply for another tier 2 visa. In most cases the minimum UK salary will need to be £41,500 per year. This is higher than the requirements for the Tier 2 General visa category which is £30,000 per year in many cases and can be as low as £20,800 per year in some cases.
Long term staff For workers who are filling a position in the UK for a year or more. Applicants for this category must have been employed by the company overseas for at least a year, unless the UK job pays at least £73,900 a year.
Length of stay: Length of stay for long term staff is salary dependent. Those earning above £120,000 per year can stay for a maximum of 9 years. Those earning less can stay for 5 years and one month.
Minimum salary: £41,500
Graduate trainee For workers with a recent degree level or above qualification who are filling a position in the UK on a graduate trainee program – such as a specialist research or IT role. Applicants for this category must have been employed and/or trained by the company overseas for at least 3 months.
Length of stay: Up to one year.
Minimum salary: £23,000
In many cases the Tier 2 sponsorship licence employer will guarantee maintenance which will meet this requirement. Most employers are "A rated" and are allowed to do this. Alternatively, Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer) visa applicants must show that they have funds of at least £945, and that at no time over the last ninety days has the balance in their bank account gone below this figure.
Workers on this visa can take part in other work and study activity while in the UK. This includes doing voluntary work, and studying outside of their working hours. Unlike the tier 2 general visa category the tier 2 intra-company transfer visa does not lead to indefinite leave to remain at the end of five years.
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Workers on this visa who wish to leave their job and work for a new employer will need a new tier 2 visa. However, there is a cooling off period of twelve months before you can apply for another tier 2 visa. The cooling off period does not apply if the salary is £120,000 or more for a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa applicant or £159,600 or more for a Tier 2 General visa applicant. In most cases you cannot switch from a Tier 2 Intra-company transfer to a Tier 2 General Visa.
In some cases to get around the restrictions on a Tier 2 intra-company transfer visa holder staying longer or changing employer, the tier 2 dependent spouse finds a sponsor and applies for entry clearance as a tier 2 general visa holder. The tier 2 intra-company visa holder then applies as the spouse of a Tier 2 general visa holder.
Tier 2 visa holders are free to work for an additional 20 hours per week in the following circumstances:
- In another job on the shortage occupation list or a job in the same sector and at the same professional level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) was assigned.
- Outside the working hours covered by the CoS for the Tier 2 Visa.