If you are currently living and working in the UK on a Tier 2 ICT (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa and have spent a considerable amount of time in the UK then you may be wondering as to whether you are entitled to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. In this article we will look at the Tier 2 ICT Visa in a little more detail and help you to figure out what your eligibility is for long-term stay in the UK.
The Tier 2 ICT Visa was designed so that companies could redeploy their staff to the UK in order for them to continue working in the business but in a different country. The idea has been very successful and up until 2010 the holders of a Tier 2 ICT Visa were allowed to use their time gained in the UK to put towards their 5-year ILR allowance. Since 2010 the situation has changed and you can no longer gain automatic rights to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) from a Tier 2 ICT Visa.
It is unclear as to why the rules changed, but in general the last decade has seen a stiffening of Britain's rules on immigration and the Tier 2 ICT Visa was one of the unfortunate casualties of such changes. It has dramatically reduced the likelihood of people choosing to come to the UK on the route and potentially has damaged the UK's prospects by making other countries a more lucrative target for Inter-Country transfers.
You eligibility to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) from a Tier 2 ICT Visa will depend upon when you first received it. If it was issued before the 6th of April 2010 then you will be eligible to use the time that you have built up on your Tier 2 ICT Visa to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. If you were issued your Visa after the 6th of April 2010 then you will not be entitled to use the time that you have built up in the UK to go toward an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
In this situation you have a few options. If you want to remain with your current employer, you will need to accept the fact that you are not going it be able to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain and will have to accept that you will just need to keep extending your visa. If you do choose this route then you need to be aware that you will always be at the mercy of your employer and if they make significant changes to your role then you could end up losing your right to be in the country.
Your other option would be to seek alternative employment with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Holder and switch to a Tier 2 General Visa. This is the usual route for those who are stuck in the awkward position of not being able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) due to being on a Tier 2 ICT Visa. You could, if eligible, swap to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Tier 1 Investor Visa if you match the eligibility criteria for either of those routes.
Unfortunately this is one of the worst possibilities of the Tier 2 ICT Visa. If there are significant changes to your conditions then you may well lose the right to remain in the country and will need to return to your country of origin. If you are facing this possibility then please get in touch and we may be able to help with your situation by assessing your case and hopefully being able to offer some alternatives.
In general you may have the option of switching to another visa before having to leave the country, but you aren't likely to have long to do it. It is imperative that you sort this situation as soon as possible as to prevent being removed from the country and your future prospects of coming back to the UK will be affected.
If you are eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) from your pre-2010 visa then you will need to make an application to UKVI. You will need to provide the proof that is required in the application guidance and pay the appropriate fee. Once you have sent back your application it is likely that you will wait some time for an update and you would be best advised to give UKVI at least 12 weeks before contacting them about your application.
Once your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application has been accepted you will need to remain in the country for at least 12 months. Once you have built up this 12 month period you will be eligible to try and become a British citizen. For more information on becoming a British citizen get in touch and we will be able to help you.
If you need any more help with the Tier 2 ICT Visa or indeed any other immigration query then please get in touch. Our immigration solicitors are experts in their field and can offer practical advice and help in almost any situation. So to get started with our services please give us a call today.