The Intra-company visa enables skilled workers in a foreign country to transfer to a job in the UK branch, as long as they have a minimum of one year work-experience in that company. In order to apply for this visa, candidates require a job offer from the UK branch of their current employer. In addition, that employer must issue a certificate of sponsorship and hold a valid Intra-company transfer sponsorship licence.
Under this visa route, an applicant needs a confirmed UK job offer from the UK branch of their current employer. The employer must hold a valid Intra-company Transfer sponsorship licence and must issue the applicant with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). There is no English language requirement. Furthermore, the applicant and their employer are not required to obtain a Restricted CoS, which significantly reduces visa processing times compared to Skilled Worker visa applications. No restrictions exist for shareholdings owned by the Intra-company transfer visa applicant, which means that business people with any shareholdings in UK businesses can make applications to the UK under this route.
With the Intra-company transfer visa, applicants are not permitted to apply for indefinite leave to remain at the end of five years in the UK, unlike Skilled Worker migrants.
The Intra-company category is split into two subcategories - 'Intra-Company transfer' and 'Intra-Company Graduate Trainee', as follows:
- Intra-Company Transfer visa:
This visa is for workers who are filling a position in the UK for a minimum of one year and have previous experience working for the company abroad.
- Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa:
This visa applies to applicants who are graduate trainees under the programme for specialist roles. Under this sub-category, the applicant must be a recent graduate with at least 3 months’ experience with their employer overseas.
Spouses and civil or unmarried partners of the applicant, as well as any dependent children under the age of 18, can apply for visas to the UK at the same time as the main ICT visa applicant as their dependants.
All applications for the ICT visa category are subject to a number of specific requirements. This includes holding a valid certificate of sponsorship, an appropriate proposed annual salary, sufficient maintenance funds and evidence that the applicant has worked for the employer outside of the UK for a prescribed time period.
- Work for the sponsor in the job described in the certificate of sponsorship;
- Do a second job in the same profession and at the same level as their main job for up to 20 hours per week;
- Study, as long as it does not interfere with the job they’re sponsored for;
- Travel abroad and return to the UK;
- Bring family members to the UK as dependants.
- Receive public funds;
- Start working before they get a visa.
How long applicants can stay:
- Applicants can come to the UK with a Intra-company Transfer visa for up to the maximum stay allowed for their visa type, or the time given on their certificate of sponsorship, whichever is shorter;
- Applicants can enter the UK up to 14 days before the certificate of sponsorship start date as stated on the certificate of sponsorship.
The maximum stay for each type of Intra-company
Transfer visa is:
- Intra-company transfer (if earning more than £120,000 a year): 9 years;
- Intra-company transfer (if earning less than £120,000 a year): 5 years, 1 month;
- Intra-company Graduate Trainee: 12 months.
Applicants can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day they’re due to start work in the UK. This date will be listed on the certificate of sponsorship.
- Standard processing time for Intra-company Transfer visa applications is currently approximately 3 weeks for applications made from outside the UK;
- Priority Service may be available at some visa application centres for entry clearance applications which should result in a quicker decision for applications that are not complex.
- ICT migrants can apply to extend their stay in the UK for the maximum time allowed for their visa type, subject to meeting the eligibility requirements for the particular sub category;
- Extension applications must be made in the UK before the current visa expires;
- Graduate Trainees can extend their visas by up to 12 months if their initial visas were granted for less than 12 months.
The Home Office estimates that ICT extension applications are processed within 8 weeks of the application date if the applicant has used the standard service. The applicant can purchase priority and super priority services, which would accelerate the processing time up to 1 – 5 working days.