Publication - Consultation paper

Intra-company transfer immigration route - call for evidence: Scottish Government response

Published: 30 Aug 2021
External Affairs Directorate
Part of:
Economy, International, Work and skills

This paper sets out the Scottish Government’s response to the call for evidence by the Migration Advisory Committee's (MAC) call on Intra-Company Transfers. It provides evidence on the use by businesses with a base in Scotland as well as outlining how the route could be made more responsive to the needs of the Scottish economy.

Intra-company transfer immigration route - call for evidence: Scottish Government response
Overview of the Route

Overview of the Route

11. Intra-Company Transfer Worker replaced Tier 2 (ICT) on 1 December 2020 and sits alongside the Skilled Worker route (SWR) of the UK points-based immigration system. The route enables organisations to sponsor their existing overseas employees to work in the UK on temporary assignment.

12. The Home Office Register of Sponsors (Worker and Temporary Worker routes), for June 2021, lists 35,090 companies in the UK that are currently licenced to use the ICT route. From this publication 229 of those companies are registered in Scotland[2]. However, it should be noted that the registered offices may be either headquarters or other offices within the estate of individual companies. Therefore the potential impact across Scotland may be more significant.

13. Most employees will need to have been working for the overseas entity for at least 12 months before they are eligible to apply, though there is exemption to this rule for high earners. There are currently two types of Intra-Company Transfer Worker visas:

  • Intra-Company Transfer: for established workers of multinational companies who are being transferred to the UK;
  • Intra-Company Graduate Trainee: for workers taking part in a structured graduate training programme.

14. In order to qualify for an Intra-Company Transfer visa the applicant must be able to meet the standard criteria and sponsors will still need to confirm that they can ensure the role is genuine, meets the relevant skills threshold, and meets the salary requirement. The worker must have a confirmed UK job and a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their employer, who must hold a valid Intra-Company sponsor licence.

15. Table 1 below outlines the points required to qualify for the ICT route. However, unlike the points-based immigration systems of Canada, New Zealand and Australia, that are effective in promoting migration by allowing applicants to score points across a range of characteristics, the below criteria are effectively mandatory and 'non-tradeable' and therefore individuals cannot acquire points to meet the 60 point threshold through other criteria[3].

Table 1: Points required to qualify for the ICT route
Eligibility Points
Sponsorship with valid Certificate of Sponsorship 20
Job at appropriate skill level ( RQF level 6 or above) 20
Salary at required level 20
Total 60

16. The ICT salary threshold is £41,500 or the going rate for the role, whichever is higher. The role must also be at RQF level 6. However, an Intra-Company Transfer applicant can count allowances guaranteed for the duration of their employment in the UK, or paid as a mobility premium to cover the additional cost of living in the UK, toward meeting the general salary threshold of £41,500 and the going rate for their role.

17. If you're applying for an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa you must be paid at least £23,000 or 70% of the 'going rate' for your job - whichever is higher.

18. Intra-Company Transfer Visa holders are permitted to work for their sponsor in the job described on their Certificate of Sponsorship. They may also do a second job up to 20 hours per week, provided the same is either in the same profession and at the same level as the main job or on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list. They may also undertake a course of study.

19. The Intra-Company Transfer Worker visa does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. Migrants are subject to a maximum stay in the UK (if they entered the category after 6 April 2011):

  • 5 years in any 6 year period if you're paid less than £73,900 a year; and
  • 9 years in any 10 year period if you're paid £73,900 a year or more.

20. Applicants may also be eligible to extend their stay until you qualify for settlement on the basis of Long Residence. For both ICT categories, a migrant's dependant family members can accompany them under the 'Point Based System' (PBS) Dependant category and can work with a few restrictions.