Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Sponsor Licence Application
The Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) (ICT) sponsor licence allows multinational organisations to temporarily transfer workers to a branch in the UK. The workers must be employed by the overseas organisation, transfer to a UK branch which is linked by common ownership or control and be sponsored as a Tier 2 (ICT) worker.
A Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence is similar to a Tier 2 (General) sponsor licence. However, an organisation holding a Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence does not have to undertake all of the same processes that an organisation holding a Tier 2 (General) sponsor licence usually must. For instance, the Resident Labour Market Test does not need to be undertaken by a Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor in order to sponsor a worker. An organisation holding a Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence can therefore quickly transfer workers from the overseas entity when the need arises.
Tier 2 ICT Sponsor Licence Application: Main requirements
In order to make a successful application for a Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence the UK organisation must demonstrate to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that it is connected to the overseas entity by ‘common ownership or control’. The most common ways in which organisations meet this requirement is when:
- one entity controls the composition of the other entity’s board;
- one entity can cast, or control the casting of, more than half the maximum number of votes at a general meeting of the other entity;
- one entity holds more than half the issued share capital of the other entity; or
- both entities have a common parent entity that itself meets one or all of the above.
Joint venture agreements may also meet this requirement and there are specific ways accountancy firms, law firms and unincorporated associations may demonstrate common ownership or control. However, the company structure and demonstrating how the entities are linked, can often be complex and we recommend organisations review the appropriate Guidance for further information.
In addition, in order to obtain a sponsor licence, an organisation must demonstrate to UKVI that it is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK, that it has relevant HR systems in place and that it has a genuine need for a sponsor licence.
Tier 2 ICT Sponsor Licence Application: The process
In order to apply for a sponsor licence, a potential sponsor is required to complete an online application form. A number of documents will then need to be submitted to UKVI in order to demonstrate that the organisation is genuine and trading in the UK. Examples of relevant documents include bank statements, VAT certificates and evidence of employer’s liability insurance to name a few. All supporting documentation must be sent to UKVI within five working days of the online form being submitted. In addition to the documentation, an organisation is required to provide UKVI with information relating to the organisation. The required information is set out by UKVI at Appendix A of the Sponsor Guidance.
A further document is required to evidence the common ownership and control between the overseas and UK entities. This may for example include a sworn affidavit by a senior executive or partner identifying how the entities are linked, company accounts or the joint venture agreement.
Decisions on sponsor licence applications can take up to 16 weeks, but we would generally expect an applicant to receive a decision within 4-8 weeks.
When an organisation has a sponsor licence the overseas worker can be transferred to the UK under the following categories of Tier 2 (ICT):
- Long-term Staff: for transfers of more than 12 months for a sponsored worker who has worked for the overseas organisation for at least 12 months, unless the migrant is earning at least £73,900; or
- Graduate Trainee: for transfers into graduate trainee programmes. Applicants in this category can apply to come to the UK for a maximum period of 12 months.
Applicants in either category must meet a minimum salary requirement, in most cases this is £41,500 for Long-term staff and £23,000 for Graduate Trainee’s.
Further requirements sponsored workers must meet are outlined here.
Tier 2 ICT Sponsor Licence Application: How we can help
UKVI will carefully scrutinise an application for a Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence. If it does not consider that there is common ownership or control between the organisations, or if it considers that any of the other requirements have not been met, the application will fall for refusal. It is therefore essential that the application is prepared thoroughly and carefully.
We are experienced in preparing Tier 2 (ICT) sponsor licence applications to ensure a successful outcome and will provide expert guidance and assistance to organisations throughout the process.
If your organisation requires legal assistance or you would just like to discuss your situation with one of our experts on a no-obligation basis, please contact us.