Specific rules apply when a migrant worker comes to the UK under the Intra Company Transfer Rule. Intra Company Transfer is part of Tier 2 of the points based immigration system for workers in the UK.
Tier 2 of the immigration system applies to skilled workers who come to the UK to do a job that could not be filled by a local worker.
Immigration under this category requires workers to score the requisite number of points and to be sponsored by a licensed employer.
The Tier 2 rules and eligibility criteria change frequently – there are two main reasons for this:
- To cater to particular needs and gaps in the market place;
- To address ongoing concerns about foreign workers taking jobs that could be done by UK or EU workers.
Anyone considering applying to work in the UK under Tier 2 of the immigration system should make sure that they have checked on the latest rules and requirements.
The Intra Company Transfer Rule
As its name suggests, the intra company transfer category of Tier 2 applies specifically to existing employees of international companies. Applicants under this rule must satisfy various requirements before being permitted to work in the UK for their current employer. These requirements include having the appropriate qualifications and the ability to financially support themselves and any dependents. Depending on the length of time a worker is due to be in the UK, applicants must usually also have attained an appropriate level of skill in the English language.
Applications under this category can be made by nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area, who are over the age of 16. Applications may be made from within the UK – provided that the applicant has permission to be in the UK and that his current immigration category permits him to switch to Tier 2.
If successful, applicants under this category may be permitted to stay in the UK for an initial period of up to approximately three years. If the worker then wishes to remain in the UK for longer than three years they should apply to extend their visa. The visa may be extended for up to a further two years. Workers in the UK under Tier 2 are allowed to apply for permanent settlement in the UK once they have satisfied the five-year residence requirements.
Qualifying Under the Intra Company Transfer Rule
In addition to the other Tier 2 requirements, workers applying under the Intra Company Transfer Rule must also have been working for their employer for at least six months prior to making their application. Applicants applying for the first time will have to provide documents proving that they satisfy the minimum employment requirement. This proof may, for example, be in the form of payslips or bank statements showing a worker’s salary being paid into their accounts.
Workers who do not satisfy the six month employment rule because they have been on maternity or paternity leave prior to making their application may still satisfy the requirement if they can show that they had worked for their employer for a six month period during the previous 18 months.
Employers’ Responsibilities for Intra Company Transfer Workers
Workers can only qualify under the Intra Company Transfer rule if – in addition to satisfying all of the other requirements of the points-based system – their employer has granted them a certificate of sponsorship describing them as an intra company transfer worker. The employer must confirm that the worker has the necessary skill levels and that he will be paid an appropriate salary for the job. (Foreign workers must not be paid less than local workers would have to be paid.)
One of the main differences for an employer sponsoring a foreign worker under the Intra Company Transfer Rule, as opposed to other categories of Tier 2, is that the employer is not required to carry out a “resident labour market test” before bringing in a foreign worker. This means that they do not have to prove that a particular post could not be filled by a local worker before bringing in a foreign employee.