Last updated: 5 January 2023
As of 2023, Tier 2 ICT visa holders are no longer eligible for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain). However, if you held a Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa issued before the 6th of April 2010, it may be possible to apply for ILR in the UK.
The Tier 2 ICT visa was replaced by the Senior or Specialist Worker visa on 11th April 2022, as part of the new Global Business Mobility visa scheme. The new visa is intended to make it easier for overseas businesses to send staff to the UK to work in a branch or subsidiary in the UK.
While Senior or Specialist Worker visa holders cannot apply directly for ILR, it is still possible to switch to a qualifying ILR visa (e.g. UK Skilled Worker visa).
Having ILR means that you can settle in the UK and provides the right to live, work and study here permanently. Once your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) has been accepted, you will need to remain in the country for at least 12 months to become a British citizen.
Here we explain some of the options available to progress from Tier 2 ICT to ILR and the UK ICT visa rule changes for 2023.
Tier 2 ICT visa issued before April 2010
If your Tier 2 visa was issued before the 6th of April 2010, you may be eligible to use the time that you have spent in the UK on your Tier 2 ICT Visa to apply for ILR in the UK.
If you are eligible for ILR based on your pre-2010 visa, then you will need to make an application to UKVI. Before applying, you will need to book and pass the Life in the UK Test. You will also need to meet the English language requirements by having an English qualification at B1, B2, C1, or C2 level or a degree that was taught or researched in English.
As part of the ILR application process, you will need to provide proof that you have held a qualifying visa for 5 years or more and pay the required application fee.
Alternative immigration routes for Tier 2 ICT to ILR 2023
There are several alternative routes to UK ICT visa settlement, including:
- 10 year ILR route
- Switching to the Skilled Worker Visa
- Switching to the Innovator Visa
- Switching to the Scale-Up Visa
- Switching to the Global Talent Visa
- Switching to a Spouse Visa
ILR long residence route
As an ICT visa holder, you will be eligible to immediately apply for ILR if you have lived in the UK legally for at least 10 continuous years (this is referred to as ‘long residence’). The time spent on your ICT visa will count towards your eligibility for ILR under the long residence route. You will need to prove you have lived here continuously for the required period – this means you must not have been outside of the UK for 180 days at any time, or 540 days in total. You cannot include time spent in prison, Ireland, the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands.
ICT visa to Skilled Worker visa
As an ICT visa holder, if you switch to a Skilled Worker visa, you will be able to apply for ILR after 5 years. The time spent in the UK on your ICT visa will not count towards your ILR qualifying time. To gain a Skilled Worker visa, you will need a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer with a sponsor licence. In addition, your job must be on the list of eligible occupations, you must receive at least the minimum salary, and you will need to show you meet the English language requirement.
For more information, please visit our article ICT visa to skilled worker visa
ICT visa to Innovator visa
The Innovator visa is for foreign nationals who wish to establish and run a genuinely innovative business in the UK. You will need to create a business plan for your idea and have this approved by an approved endorsing body in the UK. One of the main benefits of the Innovator visa is that you can apply for ILR after just 3 years. The time spent in the UK on your ICT visa will not count towards your ILR qualifying time, however.
ICT visa to Scale-up visa
The UK Scale-up visa is a new scheme that will open to applications on 22ndAugust 2022. The Scale-Up visa is intended to make it easier and quicker for companies experiencing rapid growth (referred to as the ‘Scale-Up’ phase) to hire staff from around the world.
Scale-up visa applicants must have a highly skilled job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer holding a sponsor licence. They will also need to show they have high levels of relevant skills or they are ‘academically elite’, have a salary of at least £33,000, and meet the English language requirements. It is expected that Scale-up visa holders will be able to apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. The time spent in the UK on your ICT visa will not count towards your ILR qualifying time on this visa.
ICT visa to Global Talent visa
The Global Talent visa is geared towards leaders and potential leaders in the areas of academia and research, arts and culture, and digital technology. In most cases, applicants will require endorsement from an endorsing body showing they are a leader or potential leader. It is also possible to apply if you have a prestigious award within your profession.
In most cases, Global Talent visa holders can apply for ILR after 5 years, but it is possible to do this after just 3 years if you have been endorsed by certain bodies such as the British Academy or Tech Nation. Again, the time spent in the UK on your ICT visa will not count towards your ILR qualifying time.
ICT visa to Spouse Visa
ICT visa holders with a settled or British (or Irish) partner may be eligible to apply for a spouse/partner visa under the Family visa scheme. Those applying under the spouse route must be married or in a civil partnership with their UK-based partner or have been with them in a relationship for at least 2 years.
Applicants also need to meet the English language requirements and have sufficient funds and accommodation for themselves and their children. Spouse visa holders can apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. The time already spent in the UK on your ICT visa will not count towards your ILR qualifying time under this route.
In most cases, to gain ILR, you will need to pass the Life in the UK Test and prove you have sufficient English language skills if you are aged between 18 and 64. The English language requirement can be met by having an English qualification at CEFR B1, B2, C1, or C2 level or a degree that was taught or researched in English.
How can Reiss Edwards help?
Reiss Edwards specialises in all areas of immigration law, including indefinite leave to remain. Our immigration lawyers can:
- Check your eligibility for a Tier 2 ICT visa to ILR
- Explain all of your visa and settlement options as an ICT visa holder
- Advise how to overcome any eligibility problems
- Prepare and submit your visa or ILR application on your behalf
- Handle any questions raised by the Home Office
- Handle a refusal of a visa or ILR application
- Advice on UK citizenship
For assistance with switching to a new ILR qualifying visa as a Tier 2 ICT visa holder, please speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.