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Freedom for Tier 2 ICT visa holders

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

1st January 2021 was a momentous day for tens of thousands of UK Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) visa holders.


Since April 2011, those coming to the UK on Tier 2 ICT visas have been trapped, unable to change employers in the UK, and subject to a 12 month 'cooling off period' once they go home. There was an exception for 'High Earners', but the >£150k pa salary requirement made that academic for most mortals.


That injustice has now ended. Tier 2 ICT visa holders are now free to change employers. The new employer must re-sposnor the individual, but that can be done without having to leave the UK.


Re-sponsorship will be on to a new Skilled Worker Visa, which is the employer-sponsored sucessor to Tier 2 General visas (which were issued from November 2008 to December 2020, and replaced Work Permits).


Tier 2 ICT escape route FAQs

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Q1: Does time spent on Tier 2 ICT count towards Indefinate Leave to Remain? (Also called 'Settlement' or 'Permanent Residence')


A1: It does not count towards the 5 year settelement route open to Tier 1, and Tier 2 (General) visa holders. It does count towards the 'Long Residence Concession' settlement route open to those who have spent 10 years lawfully in the UK on any non-visitor status. So, unless you have alreday spent more than 5 years in the UK, when you move from Tier 2 ICT to a UK Skilled Worker visa, your route to settlement will be to spend 5 years as a Skilled Worker.


Q2: How long does it take to get a UK Skilled Worker visa?


A2: Once you have a job offer, if your employer does not yet have a sponsor licence, we can help then get one. With a licence in place, the process of you getting a new visa can often be completed in 2-3 weeks, though it is wise to allow 5 to 6+ weeks, particualarly if you dont want to pay extra government fees for premium processing.



Q3: Can J Dunlop & Co sponsor me?


A3: No. But, if you are an IT or Finance professional, and send us your CV, we can pass it to clients who might be interested in hiring you (because they are our clients, if they do want to hire you, sponsorship should be a smooth process)



Q4: What if my current employer has a 3 month notice period, and wants to send me home during notice, can I still get a UK job with someone else?


A4: This is quite common, and should not stop you from getting a new job with sponsorship. And, if your home country is a 'Red List' country (as India is at the time of writing), your employer does not necessartily have the right to force you to go there to serve your notice



If you are on a Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) visa, and want to explore the opportunities now open to you, send your CV to J Dunlop & Co.




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