Latest News & Updates | Regularly Updated Blogs about UK Visa & Immigration
Tier 2 rules

Tier 2 / Skilled Worker ICT: switching rules and cooling off period

Tier 2/Skilled Worker ICT: switching rules and cooling off period 

When the “new” points-based system comes into effect on 1 January 2021 the current Tier 2 scheme will be renamed the “Skilled Workers” scheme. Like many other Home Office re-brandings, the change comes more in the name than in the substance: Tier 2 migrants always were “skilled” people and the employer sponsorship system will remain in place.

But there are a few changes in the new scheme which will make life easier for some migrants. Rules regarding job skill levels and the resident labour market test are being liberalised and there will no longer be any “cap” on skilled worker migrant numbers.

And another significant change is an easing in the visa “switching” rules. Under the Tier 2 rules, Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) migrants face various restrictions. ICT migrants are those who have been transferred to the UK from an overseas branch of the UK-based company; they hold Tier 2 visas but the relevant visa rules are different.

The Tier 2 ICT visa does not provide a route to settlement and ICT migrants are not allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely. And neither does it provide a route to switching in the UK to, for example, a Tier 2 General visa.

On 1 January this rule will change, and ICT migrants will be able to make such a switch in the UK. This means that they will find it more possible to remain for longer in the UK and it also means that they will be able to switch into a route that provides settlement.

And another, different kind of, change is coming to the ICT rules: the “cooling off” period rules are going to be abolished. Under Tier 2 rules, an ICT migrant cannot come to the UK if they have previously been in the UK on any Tier 2 visa any time in the last 12 months (with a few exceptions). It appears that the Home Office plans to abolish this rule entirely: ICT migrants will still face some restrictions, but less onerous than previously.

So, from 1 January 2021, the ICT rules are going to be simpler and less restrictive. We can give you further advice about this if you need it.



Oliver Westmoreland

OISC Level 3 Immigration Lawyer

19 Responses

  1. Premdeep Sharma

    Hi, I am on tier 2 dependant visa and working in one of the mnc’s in London. My husbands visa is about to expire next year. Can I apply for pbs visa while remaining in UK and don’t have to leave the country. Please suggest. Thanks.

        1. admin

          Can you please remind us which visa are you currently on in the UK? When is this visa due to expire and what is your new employment start date?

          1. Anonymous

            Hi, I am currently on ict tier 2 dependent visa and it is due to expire in august this year. I am currently on a job with an employer who sponsors visa.

  2. Anonymous

    Hi, I wish to extend my tier 2 general, I have a CoS but am unsure about the correct form to use after 1st December 2020. Should I make a ‘switch’ application or should I make an ‘extend’ application under the new skilled worker route as I wish to extend my tier 2 general? Thanks.

  3. Ragesh

    I am on tier 2 ict. I am completing 5 years in march 14 2021
    Whats is the new. Oolin Goff period rule. Still can’t find the full detail.

  4. MU

    HI, We have stayed in the UK under ICT tier 2 Visa for 5 years (From March 2015 to March 2020) and then switched to General Tier 2 Visa ( starting from Match 2020 till date ). With the abolition of the cooling off period in 2021, is the stay under ICT visa to count towards the 5 years period for settlement?
    Thanks for the advice.

    1. admin

      Hi there, thank you for your query. Your route changed when you switched your visa and your current visa should lead you to settlement.

  5. Mike

    Hello – I’m currently on a tier 2 (ict visa) with a year left (which will also mark 5 years on this visa). Will I be able to switch this to a Skilled Worker visa under the new immigration rules? I do already have an employee willing to sponsor who is licensed

  6. zeynep

    Hello, I have been made redundant on 1 Sep 2020. Seeing that the system switched to tier 2 to skilled worker route, does the cool off period still apply to me? ( I made another visa application as turkish businessperson to bypass cool off but still pending on the response). Thank you!

  7. abhishek

    I am on tier two visa since oct 2017. I will be returning back to home country India in April 2021 thus spending around 3.6 years in UK. My visa is valid till Sep2021.
    As per new rule , would i be able to reapply again in Nov 21 as i have not spent whole 5 years,

    1. admin

      Thank you for your query. You should be able to extend your work visa or apply for entry clearance as long you have an employer who is happy to sponsor you.
      If you have any more questions please call our helpline to book a consultation on 02081506709

Leave a Reply