Individuals in the UK with permission under Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer/Intra-Company Transfer can now switch into the more favourable Skilled Worker route from within the UK.
Is it possible to switch whilst in the UK?
Yes. Since the introduction of the new UK Immigration System, on 01 December 2020, it has been possible for those individuals with leave under the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) /Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer route to switch into the Skilled Worker route from within the UK.
This is a positive change to the previous Points Based System where this was not possible.
Is there a cooling off period?
No. Under the Rules in place prior to 01 December 2020, individuals were subject to a 12-month cooling off period, whereby they could not apply for a new visa under the Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 ICT routes, within 12 months of their previous Tier 2 visa expiring (unless their earnings were over £159,600).
Thankfully this rule has been abolished.
What are the requirements of the Skilled Worker route?
To be eligible to switch into the Skilled Worker route, applicants need to ensure the following requirements are met:
- have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an organisation based in the UK that holds a Skilled Worker sponsor licence;
- the role represents a genuine vacancy;
- possess the suitable skills and experience for the role;
- the role is at the relevant skill level (RQF level 3 or above) and they will be paid an appropriate salary for the role;
- meet the required level of English language (currently B1 of the CEFR); and
- have sufficient funds to maintain themselves (if they have lived in the UK for less than 12 months and maintenance is not certified by the sponsor).
The English language requirement is not applied to applications under the ICT route, however, it will be applicable when an individual applies to switch into the Skilled Worker route. It will therefore be important to ensure the applicant has appropriate evidence of English language before making their application for permission to stay as a Skilled Worker.
The skill and salary requirements under the Skilled Worker route are more favourable than under the Intra-Company Transfer route. The minimum skill level required for sponsorship is RQF level 3 for Skilled Workers, compared to the RQF level 6 requirement for ICT migrants. Further, the minimum salary for Skilled Workers is £25,600 and the going rate for the relevant occupation code, whereas Intra-Company Transfer migrants must currently be paid at least £41,500 per annum.
What is the application process?
Applicants will need to complete an online application form for permission to stay in the UK under the Skilled Worker route.
Applicants will also be required to prove their identity. This will be done by providing biometric information at a UKVCAS appointment, following submission of the online form.
Under certain circumstances, applicants will instead be able to provide their biometrics through an app, rather than attending an appointment. This will generally apply to applicants who hold biometric EEA passports and other adult applicants who have previously enrolled their biometrics as part of an earlier application.
How much does it cost?
The Home Office application fees are:
- £704 for a visa valid for up to three years; or
- £1,408 for a visa valid for more than three years.
Do my dependents need to re-apply?
Dependent partners and children of Intra-Company Transfer migrants who are switching into the Skilled Worker route do not have to reapply for new permission to stay until the validity of their current leave is approaching its expiry.
Their permission as a Points Based System dependant will remain valid, even if the worker switches visa categories.
Will I be eligible for settlement?
Yes. The Skilled Worker route leads to settlement in the UK. When the individual has spent a continuous period of five years in the UK as a Skilled Worker they will become eligible for settlement.
Unfortunately, time spent in the UK under the Intra-Company Transfer route will not be counted towards the required five-year residence.
However, residence in the UK under the Intra-Company Transfer route will be counted, where applicants are applying for settlement under the Long Residence route, following ten years of continuous lawful residence in the UK.
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