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Switching from Tier 2 (ICT) to Skilled Worker Route

Under the new Skilled Worker Route in the new Points Based System, which will come into effect on 1 December 2020 at 9am, Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) Migrants are able to switch into the Skilled Worker route. This is a welcome change to the Rules. 

Under the prior Points Based System, Tier 2 (ICT) Migrants were generally unable to switch from inside the country into the Tier 2 (General) category, and were then subject to a 12 month cooling off period. They were also unable to settle, which they are now able to under the Skilled Worker route. 

Switching from Tier 2 (ICT) to Skilled Worker

However the only immigration status requirement under the new points based system is as follows: 

SW 1.5. An applicant who is applying for permission to stay must be in the UK on the date of application and must not have, or have last been granted, permission:

(a) as a Visitor; or

(b) as a Short-term student; or

(c) as a Parent of a Child Student; or

(d) as a Seasonal Worker; or

(e) as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or

(f) outside the Immigration Rules.

This is much wider than the previous requirement in which only the following categories were permitted to switch: 

  • a Tier 1 Migrant;
  • a Tier 2 Migrant;
  • a Representative of an Overseas Business;
  • a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant;
  • the partner of a Relevant Points Based System Migrant if the relevant Points Based System Migrant is a Student;
  • a Start-up migrant;
  • an Innovator; and
  • a Global Talent migrant.

Requirements to switch from Tier 2 (ICT) to Skilled Worker

It should be relatively easy for Tier 2 (ICT) Migrants to switch into the Skilled Worker route, given that they will already be in a role with a SOC Code skilled to RQF level 6 (above the new RQF level 3 minimum), and this will have been accepted by the Home Office previously. Additionally, Tier 2 (ICT) Long-term Staff must be paid a minimum of £41,500, which is well above the new minimum of £25,600 and the going rates for most occupation codes. 

Tier 2 (ICT) Migrants seeking to switch into the Skilled Worker route will still need to have a sponsored role, that is skilled to the appropriate level and offers the appropriate minimum salary. They cannot fall for the grounds for refusal, and must meet the English language and maintenance requirements. 

There are also routes for dependent partners and children of Skilled Workers.

Length of Grant when switching from Tier 2 (ICT) to Skilled Worker

As with all skilled workers, if successful, Tier 2 (ICT) migrants who switch into the Skilled Worker route will be granted permission to stay until 14 days after the end date of their certificate of sponsorship (which may be up to a maximum of 5 years after the start date of their certificate of sponsorship).

Eligibility to Settle as a Skilled Worker

Once in the Skilled Worker route, skilled migrants will be on a route settlement. They must have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK on this basis as they cannot combine their time in the UK on the Tier 2 (ICT) route to settle more quickly.

They will need to meet the other requirements for settlement, including knowledge of life in the UK, and the sponsorship, salary, validity and suitability requirements.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to an application to switch into the Skilled Worker Visa category please contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.

This article was co-written by Zoe Bantleman and Georgina Griggs.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.


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