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MAC call for evidence on Intra-Company Transfer route

20 April 2021

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently seeking stakeholders’ views on the operation and effectiveness of the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) immigration route, as well as a potential expansion of the immigration options for overseas businesses setting up a presence in the UK.

The deadline for submitting responses to the MAC’s call for evidence is 15 June 2021. The MAC is due to report back to the government in October 2021.

Review of ICT routes

The current ICT routes replaced Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) category in December 2021. The main alternative is the Skilled Worker route.

The main ICT route currently enables UK employers to transfer existing senior employees and specialist personnel who have been employed by a group business abroad for at least 12 months. High earners with a salary of £73,900 or higher do not need to meet the 12-month employment requirement.

The Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route is available to transfer up to 20 graduate trainees to the UK per financial year as part of structured graduate training programme. Graduate Trainees must have been employed by a group business abroad for at least three months.

The salary thresholds and skill requirements for the ICT route are higher than those of the Skilled Worker route, and currently the advantages to using it are limited to certain situations outlined in our earlier article.

The MAC has been asked to advise on the following:

  • Salary thresholds for entry to the ICT route;
  • What elements beyond base salary should contribute towards meeting the salary requirement;
  • Whether different arrangements should apply to high earners, as they do now;
  • The skills threshold for this route; and
  • The conditions of this route, particularly those that differ from the Skilled Worker route.

Expansion of immigration options for overseas businesses setting up in the UK

The MAC is also gathering evidence on an expansion of the government’s mobility offering that would allow overseas businesses to send a small team to the UK to set up a branch, subsidiary company or office in the UK. Currently employers are only permitted to send one person under the Representative of Overseas Business route. The government is also seeking to expand its mobility offering to include a route that would permit overseas businesses to send a team to the UK in connection to a high-value contract for the provision of products or services.

The MAC is considering:

  • Criteria for the eligibility of workers: such as skill and salary threshold; and
  • Criteria for eligible organisations: such as size of company, value of contract, or potential job creation.

Evidence requested from stakeholders

The MAC would like to receive evidence on:

  • Employers’ reasons for using (or not using) the ICT route in the past five years
  • Perceptions about the ease of use of the current ICT routes
  • Perceptions about the current salary thresholds for the ICT routes
  • Whether and what allowances should be counted to meet salary thresholds on the ICT routes
  • What skill threshold should apply to the ICT routes
  • Whether there should be reforms to the arrangements for ICT migrants to work for third party clients
  • Whether there should be reforms to the length of time that an applicant must have worked for the business abroad (and related exemptions)
  • Whether there should be reforms to the maximum amount of time a person can stay in the UK under the ICT route
  • What differences there should be for graduate trainees in comparison to the main ICT route
  • Whether the absence of an English language requirement for the ICT routes should be retained
  • What alternatives businesses would pursue if the ICT routes were not available
  • Whether the introduction of the Skilled Worker route makes the ICT route more or less attractive than previously
  • What the consequences might be of allowing businesses setting up in the UK to send a small team to do this, rather than only one individual
  • Any experience employers have of sending a small team to set up a business in any country
  • Perceptions on allowing workers from an overseas business with no UK presence to be seconded to the UK to work on high-value contracts
  • Any other changes stakeholders would like to see to the ICT route

If you have any queries about the call for evidence or require assistance in completing a response, please contact our Immigration Team.


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