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How to Switch from ICT visa to Skilled Worker visa

Last updated on: 25th May 2022

Under the 2022 immigration rules, it is possible to switch from an ICT visa (Intra-company Transfer) to a Skilled Worker visa (formerly Tier 2 visa) in the UK as long as you meet all of the eligibility rules (see below for more details). In addition, there is no longer a “cooling off period” for those making the switch from an ICT to a Skilled Worker visa UK. This means that ICT visa holders presently working for an overseas branch or subsidiary of their employer in the UK do not need to leave the country in order to prepare and submit a Skilled worker visa application.

The ICT visa closed to new applicants on 10th April 2022. This has now been replaced by the Senior or Specialist Worker visa under the new Global Business Mobility route, which opened on 11th April 2022. If you hold an ICT visa, you can still apply to extend your leave (subject to some minor limitations)1 or apply to switch to the Skilled Worker visa.

Benefits of switching from ICT visa to Skilled Worker visa

There are two key benefits of switching from a Tier 2 ICT to a Skilled Worker visa UK, as follows:

  • The Skilled Worker visa is not subject to limitations on how long you can stay in the UK. Under the ICT visa route, it was only possible to stay in the UK for 5 years in any 6-year period (for those earning less than £73,900 per annum) and 9 years in any 10-year period (for those earning £73,900 or more per annum).
  • The Skilled Worker visa provides a direct route to settlement in the UK. This means you can apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK and British citizenship after a further year.

In addition, you may not need to meet the maintenance funds requirement if you have already been in the UK for 1 year (see below for more details).

ICT visa to Skilled Worker visa requirements

In addition to the criteria which must be met when applying for a Skilled Worker visa (please visit our Skilled worker visa requirements for more information), those switching from an ICT visa must also need to:

  • hold a valid ICT visa (i.e. your ICT visa must not have expired)
  • be in the UK when applying
  • apply no more than 3 months before the start of your new sponsored role
  • meet the maintenance requirement if required (see below)

Skilled Worker maintenance requirement

Under the normal Skilled Worker requirements, applicants have to show that they have enough funds to support themselves while they are in the UK (£1,270 held for at least 28 days prior to applying). It is also possible for a sponsoring employer to cover the maintenance requirement. Those switching to a Skilled Worker visa who have been in the UK on an ICT visa for 12 months or more, however, do not need to meet the maintenance requirement.

How to switch from an ICT Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa

  1. Complete the online application form for a person already in the UK. You will be asked for your personal details and information about your employment in the UK (including your CoS reference number)
  2. Pay the application fee (see below)
  3. Pay the immigration healthcare surcharge (see below)
  4. Provide or upload any information or documents requested, including your:
  5. certificate of sponsorship reference number
  6. proof of your knowledge of English (e.g. pass certificate for an English language test)
  7. passport or another document that shows your identity and nationality
  8. job title and annual salary
  9. occupation code
  10. your employer’s name and their sponsor licence number (as shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship)
  11. Provide your biometrics (scan of your fingerprints and your photo). This can be done by having your fingerprints scanned and photograph taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point. You can also use the Home Office’s UK Immigration: ID Check mobile phone app to provide your identity information. The Home Office will advise which option to use when you apply.

Costs of Switching to a Skilled worker visa from an ICT visa

The costs of switching from a Tier 2 ICT to a Tier 2 General work visa / Skilled Worker visa are as follows:

Duration

Role not on the shortage occupation list

Role on the shortage occupation list

Up to 3 years

£719 per person

£479 if staying for up to 3 years

More than 3 years

£1,423 per person

£943 if staying for more than 3 years

Other costs include a Biometric fee of £19.20 and an Immigration healthcare surcharge (allowing access to the UK’s National Health Service) of £624

How long does it take to switch from ICT visa to the Skilled worker route?

It can take up to 8 weeks to receive a decision from the Home Office, however, as long as you applied before your current ICT visa expires, you will be able to remain in the UK lawfully. The application process can take longer if there is any missing evidence or information or if you are required to attend an interview.

It is possible to receive a decision faster if time is of the essence by using the priority service or super-priority service. The priority service provides a decision within five working days and costs an extra £500. The super-priority service provides a decision on the next working day for an additional cost of £800.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards specialises in all aspects of work and business immigration, including switching from the ICT to a Skilled Worker route. We can:

  • Check if you are eligible to switch from ICT to a Skilled Worker visa
  • Explain the visa options available to you and your family based on your long term plans and individual circumstances
  • Prepare and submit your immigration application on your behalf and of your family members
  • Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf regarding your application
  • Prepare and submit your extension application

Speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

References:

1 GOV.UK: Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

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