Tier 2 ICT: Can I Apply For Indefinite Leave To Remain
In this increasingly global business community that we all live and work in, it seems inevitable that from time to time employees may want to move between countries. If you work for a business that is based in another country but has branches in the UK, you may find the UK's visa routes to be an interesting option. In the UK, there is a visa option for non-EEA citizens to move within their company to a UK branch of the business. This visa option is known as the Tier 2 ICT Visa (ICT stands for Inter-Company Transfer). In this article we will look at the Tier 2 ICT Visa in more detail and delve into whether you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) from it.
What is the Tier 2 ICT Visa?
The Tier 2 ICT Visa is aimed at those who wish to come to work in the UK, albeit temporarily, for a business with a British based branch. These are people who are not EU citizens and would not be able to enter the country to live and work otherwise. The Tier 2 ICT Visa gives those people the ability to remain in the UK for a set period (5 years and 1 month for long-term staff who earn under £120,000 or 9 years for those who earn in excess of £120,000 per year). You can also bring family members with you to live in the UK (you will need to prove that you can provide for them).
You will need to ensure that the UK branch of your business is registered as a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder. This is so that they can produce a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) that is required as part of your application to live and work in the UK. Once you have this Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), you can then make your application. You will be required to make an application online and while you are there you will need to pay the required Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This surcharge allows you to use the UK's free at the point of use healthcare system known as the NHS.
How long can I stay in the UK for on a Tier 2 ICT Visa?
If you are applying as a member of long-term staff (need to have worked for the company for at least a year - unless you will earn in excess of £73,900 per year while in the UK) you will be entitled to stay for either 5 years and 1 month (if you earn less than £120,000 per year) or 9 years (if you earn more than £120,000 per year). You will then be able to extend your visa (eligibility criteria permitting) before the current one runs out. The amount of time that you can stay will be limited by a few factors and it's best that you talk to us if you are unsure.
While you are in the UK you will be allowed to live and work much the same as anybody else, but will need to remain with your employer if you wish to remain in the country. If you choose to leave your employer, they are duty bound to inform the Home Office within 10 days. Once notice has been given, the Home Office will then make a decision on your future. Usually they will curtail your visa early and ask you to leave the country. Failure to comply may result in detention and deportation.
Can I gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) from a Tier 2 ICT Visa?
No, unfortunately since 2010 you have not been able to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) on a Tier 2 ICT Visa. There may well be other options for you to stay in the UK long-term (such as if you have British children) and you will need to consider these if you wish to stay in the UK past your visa term. If you are unsure of your rights, please get in touch and our immigration specialists will be able to help. Quite often there are circumstances that mean people have the right to remain in the UK and if you wish to discover if you can, give us a call.
If you do not have any circumstances to remain in the UK then you will be required to leave at the end of your visa if you have already used up the maximum time allowed on it. If you wish to come back to the UK under a different visa scheme at a later date then you are usually required to leave the country for a 12 month "cooling off" period before reapplying.
What are my alternative options if I can't gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Unfortunately apart from you having extenuating circumstances (such as British children), you may not have any other alternative than to return to your country of origin. This is usually required for a so-called 12 month "cooling off" period and then you will be able to apply for one of the UK's alternative visa routes. If you may have extenuating circumstances then please get in touch and one of our immigration specialists can help to look into your case.
It is always best to investigate the possibility of staying. If you have young children or a family in the UK, it may not be practical to return to your country of origin. Call us today and let us assess your case - you may be pleasantly surprised. What do you have to lose?
Where can I get more help?
If you need more help with the Tier 2 ICT Visa or any other immigration query then please get in touch. Our highly trained and experienced team can help to assess your situation and help you come to a resolution. We have helped many clients in a position just like you. So don't delay, get in touch today!