Tier 2 ICT Dependent Visa
According to Home Office statistics, 42% of all Tier 2 visas granted were under the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) route. While this was 16% down (to 48,644) last year compared with the previous year, overall, the interest in the ICT visa route has remained stable. The popularity of this route may be, in part, due to the ability of the visa holder to bring dependant family members to the UK. In this article, we will discuss the rules of the Tier 2 ICT dependant visa, and the process for applying whether the dependants are currently in the UK or outside of the country.
What is ICT Dependant Visa?
Under the ICT dependant visa, family members of an ICT visa holder can live in the UK, and work and study if they so wish (although there is a restriction on the study which means the applicant must be 18 years of age or over at the time their leave is granted or will be aged 18 before their visa expires). It is also important to understand that the dependant visa is linked to that of the main visa holder, meaning that if the ICT visa holder permanently leaves the UK, then the dependant will also need to leave the country (or apply for a visa in their own right).
The conditions of stay for an ICT dependant state that they will not be permitted to use public funds (i.e. benefits), or be employed as a professional sportsperson, or a doctor or dentist in training.
While there are some very minor limitations, the Tier 2 partner visa provides a great deal of freedom and flexibility. Whereas the main visa holder themselves is restricted to working for the company with which they are employed and have been transferred to the UK, the dependant has a high degree of discretion regarding employment. In addition, the eligibility requirements are relatively limited, making the application process very straightforward. As an example, there is no requirement to pass an English language test unless applying for permanent settlement.
Can I Apply for a Tier 2 Dependant Visa?
The dependant family member must be either a husband, wife, or partner, a child under 18, or a child over the age of 18 who is currently in the UK as a dependant.
Personal savings requirements
Applicants also need to provide evidence of sufficient personal savings. As of the date of writing, each dependant must have £630, whether they apply as an individual or with the main ICT visa applicant. This amount is in addition to the £945 in savings which the main ICT visa applicant must also show. For example, an ICT applicant wishing to include their spouse and two dependant children will need to show savings of £2,835.
If the ICT employer is an approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor, then there is no requirement to provide evidence of personal savings. This will also be the case if the ICT visa holder’s certificate of sponsorship (CoS) states that the sponsor will ensure that each dependant has a minimum of £630 to help with their costs in the UK should they need it.
Requirements for the safeguarding of dependant children
Home Office entry clearance officers (ECOs) are always very alert when assessing all Tier 2 dependant child applications for safeguarding risks, in particular, if there is the possibility that granting the visa may lead to an unintended breakup of the family unit or even child trafficking in very rare cases. It is for this reason that the parents of the dependant child must either be:
- both lawfully present (other than as a visitor) in the UK, or;
- being granted entry clearance or leave to remain (other than as a visitor) at the same time as the applicant, or;
- one parent must be lawfully present (other than as a visitor) in the UK, and the other is being granted entry clearance or leave to remain (other than as a visitor) at the same time as the applicant, unless:
- the main ICT visa applicant is the dependant child’s sole surviving parent, or;
- the main ICT applicant is the parent that has and has had sole responsibility for the applicant’s upbringing; or
- there are ‘serious or compelling’ family or other considerations which would make it desirable not to refuse the application and suitable arrangements have been made in the UK for the applicant’s care.
The Home Office guidance makes it clear that any “application made for or by a dependant child where only one parent will be in the UK, will not be granted” unless the above circumstances are clearly and fully demonstrated.
How can I apply for an ICT Dependant Visa?
Applications for a dependant child or partner visa are completed online. Once the form is completed and submitted, you will need to make a booking at your local visa application center (VAC) to have the dependant’s biometric information digitised (this includes fingerprints, photos, and, signature). This information is later used to create a biometric residence permit (BRP) which will be made available for the dependant once they arrive in the UK.
The application fee depends on the type of ICT visa held by the main applicant. For graduate trainees, the dependant visa fee is £482; for a long-term staff visa of up to three years, the dependant visa fee is £610 for the initial application, and £704 for extensions; for a long-term staff visa of over three years, the initial dependant visa fee is £1,220 and £1,408 for further extensions.
You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge for each dependant of £400 per year, in addition to the biometric fee of £19.20 each.
The ICT dependant family member visa is highly generous in terms of the freedom it allows in the UK. Given the importance of securing a positive decision for your family dependants, it is always advisable to engage the services of experienced immigration Solicitors who can handle the application process from the outset to completion. This will provide the best possible chance of ensuring you can be reunited with your partner and children while you are working in the UK.
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