Migration Advisory Committee recommends changes to the Intra-company Transfer visa route

Samar Shams
26 October 2021

This article was written by Samar Shams, Immigration and Global Mobility Partner, on 26 October 2021.

On 13 October 2021, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published a report in response to the Home Secretary’s commissioned review of the Intra-company Transfer (ICT) visa route. The ICT route is for overseas companies to send employees to work at a linked company, e.g. subsidiary or parent, that is registered in the UK.

The recommended changes include the following:

  • The ICT route should be a route to settlement in the UK. The 1 December 2020 Immigration Rules changes allowed ICT visa holders to switch to the Skilled Worker route. The MAC suggests that ICT migrants should be eligible to settle in the UK without the need to switch to other routes to obtain settlement.
  • The MAC suggests that time spent on the ICT visa should also count towards settlement if the worker does switch into another route. Under current rules, the time spent under the ICT route would not count towards the qualifying period for settlement, which is usually 5 years.
  • The MAC suggest that the ‘going rate’ salary thresholds that are specific to each role be updated annually for roles eligible for the ICT route.
  • The general salary threshold for the ICT category should be set at the median annual gross wages of occupations which meet the ICT skill level requirement. Implementing this recommendation would increase the salary threshold from £41,500 to £42,400.
  • The MAC also suggests that the Home Office consider adapting the Visit visa rules to facilitate time-limited, essential work travel to the UK and/or a new short-term ICT visa route.

The MAC recommends that the skills threshold for the ICT route remains at degree level or equivalent, that the Immigration Skills Charge continue to be levied on the ICT route and that there should continue not to be any English language requirement for ICT migrants.

We at Spencer West welcome in particular the recommendation that ICT migrants be eligible for settlement. Affording migrants settlement and eventual citizenship rights helps with integration and positively influences the perception of migrants.

We also welcome the suggestion that the Visit rules be adapted and/or a short-term ICT route be introduced to allow for time-limited work in the UK; we know how useful more flexibility around being paid for short business travel to the UK would be to our clients and contacts.

We do not yet know which recommendations, if any, the Home Office will accept. Historically, the Home Office has adopted most of the MAC’s recommendations. However, this is no longer necessarily the case, with the Home Office refusing to implement any recommendations that the MAC made in its September 2020 report on the Shortage Occupation List.

If you have any questions about the ICT route or sponsorship more generally, please contact Samar Shams at samar.shams@spencer-west.com.