What Is an ICT Visa?
The Intra-Company Transfer (ICT visa) officially closed for application as of April 11th, 2022. This was replaced by the Global Mobility Visa routes, which offer a range of permissions that can be applied for bringing non-permanent staff to the UK for work purposes.
If you need to travel to the UK for work, the thought of having to navigate the five new forms of Global Mobility Visas may seem like a daunting task! In fact, it makes things a lot simpler as the alignment with the UK Points-Based System means you know from the outset where you stand with your application.
Keep on reading if you want to find out exactly what the “Tier 2 General” visa options currently are to stop you from wasting time on incorrect applications.
What Does the ICT Visa Consist of in 2022?
The Intra-Company Transfer has now been replaced with five Tier 2 visas, which all facilitate bringing employees to the UK for temporary work. Designed to help the government make more informed decisions on which visas are approved and to allow a fairer application process, these different visas are the following:
Senior or Specialist Worker
A Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows you to work in the UK at any of your current employers’ branches or UK-based franchises. Whilst the application requirements have largely stayed the same, there are a few differences.
Firstly, employees must earn at least £42,400 per year, which is higher than the ICT visa requirement of £41,500. There is also the added stipulation that if the salary sits at £73,900 per annum or lower, you will also need proof you have worked for the company outside of the UK for over twelve months. The new visa also does not allow any other form of working other than the sponsored post and has discounted several creative roles from the eligibility.
This visa, which allows applicants to work for their employer as a graduate trainee in a UK brand, has mainly stayed the same. The only differences are that the graduate trainee visa now requires a letter of approved sponsorship from a licence holder and is subject to the points-based system requirements.
UK Expansion Worker
The UK Expansion visa is eligible for individuals who have worked for a company for more than a year and are required to support the opening of a UK subsidiary of the same business. Our UK expansion visa blog post shares more insights about this portion of the Global Mobility visas.
You will need to apply for the Service Supplier visa if you are a contractor who has a requirement to provide services for a UK-based company. Eligible for both employed and self-employed professionals, this is intended for longer-term contractor-based work and requires the same sponsorship process as company-employed personnel.
You can apply for the Secondment Worker visa if your overseas employer requires you to work in the UK in either your current or a different company. For the latter, this will cover any form of outsourced contractor work that should directly correlate to the parent companies’ products or services.
How Can I Apply for Any of the Global Mobility Visas That Replace ICT Visas?
Whilst the five different visas are all suitable for different forms of applications; the Global Mobility system means that application needs are standard across the board. The government have been able to create a uniform application process which makes it fairer for applicants and easy to receive feedback if they are not successful. To do this, the Global Mobility routes all take into account validity, suitability, and eligibility requirements.
The validity section ensures that the content being submitted is all legally sufficient from companies and individuals who are seen as relevant sources. This also accounts for the competition of an application as new electric forms have been created for all visa applications. Ensuring there are no spaces for error, the new digital upload section of the process makes it easier to highlight where information may be wrong or not suitable.
Assessing suitability has long been the main purpose of a visa application, but this has been given more structure in 2022 updates. By introducing aspects such as the Points-Based system and the UK Shortage Occupation List, it is clear from the outset for applicants where they stand. This means that prospective visa holders do not waste their time and money, and governments are given a bit of support when they are under lots of pressure.
Closely linked to suitability are the eligibility rules that underpin the main criteria. The new system makes it simple to understand who will be considered and what guidelines they must meet. We see it as our job at Synergy Immigration Solutions to assess your validity, suitability, and eligibility before officially starting your application process.
To apply for any of the forms of visa, the standard information that you will need to apply is the following:
- A valid sponsorship certificate and unique identifier number.
- A genuine form of ID.
- Details of your job including job title, salary, contract and your job occupation code.
- You may also need to provide confirmation of your study and any results if you are applying for a graduate visa.
- You will need to provide evidence that you have enough money to support yourself during your time in the UK. This is made up of both your existing funds and salary earnings.
Each of the visas will, of course, have its own needs and rules when it comes to unique information and visa applications for families. That is a huge benefit of bringing on board an immigration specialist, as we can help you manage multiple applications at once!
How Long Can I Stay?
The maximum time you can stay in the UK on a Global Business Mobility visa is two years, but this will differ depending on the replacement ICT visa you apply for. These visas are only intended for temporary work so if your role is replaced by a permanent one or your type of contract changes; you should let your immigration specialist know.
One of the most common questions we get asked is how Global Mobility visas affect obtaining indefinite leave to remain (ILR) within the UK. With any form of Tier 2 (General) visa, you may well be eligible to apply for ILR as long as you have worked in the UK for more than five years, meet the salary requirements and if your official sponsor needs you to remain in the UK. As standard Global Mobility visas last for around two years, you will need to have had an extension granted promptly to be eligible. This is something that our team can advise you on.
You can also travel around the UK plus enter and exit when you would like during your visa, but you cannot use it to undertake any other permitted activities, such as carrying out other forms of work or setting up your own business.
What Happens if You Lose Your Job on the Tier 2 Visa?
Whilst we hope this never happens, no one is safe from the dreaded risk of losing your job. No matter how stable a company is at the start of a visa process, we understand that the ever-changing landscape of the world and the fluctuations in financials can result in an undesirable situation.
The government does try to avoid this to a certain extent by only granting sponsor licence status to a company that currently has strong operations. However, should your situation change whilst you are working on any of the tier 2 visas which replaced the ICT visa, then your status will change to an invalid visa. As the terms for being in the UK are bound by the ones set out in your sponsorship contract, you would need to return to your overseas locations by the time outlined by the Home Office. It is your company’s responsibility to make the government aware, but you should also take action at this time if you think you are eligible for a different form of visa which would let you stay.
Why Should I Choose Synergy Immigration Solutions to Support My Application for Any of the Global Mobility Visas?
Balancing life, work, and your family can be tricky at the best of times, especially when you are trying to move to a new country. As a team of immigration law specialists, we make it our mission to act as your main point of contact throughout a complex visa application.
When applying for any of the replacement forms of the ICT visa, we can help you by:
- Offering the latest in professional advice from an OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) registered company.
- Not charging you through the roof as we know that upping sticks and moving elsewhere is expensive.
- Providing ongoing support for both you and your company during the entire process. This means we can answer any questions as soon as they arise and track your application to ensure any issues are resolved quickly.