The Home Office has shared details of the transition arrangements for sponsors that are currently employing, or are in the process of hiring, ICT visa holders.
From 11 April 2022, the Global Business Mobility (GBM) Visa will be open to new applications. Within the GBM visa, two new sub-categories will replace the ICT routes:
- GBM: Senior or Specialist Worker: replacing the Intra-Company Transfer route
- GBM: Graduate Trainee: replacing the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route
SMS service availability pre-11 April
The Home Office has advised of planned system downtime while its IT systems are updated in preparation for the new routes.
The SMS and online sponsor application form will be unavailable from approximately 19:00 on Friday 8 April 2022 until approximately 9.00 Monday 11 April 2022.
All in-progress (that is, saved but incomplete) applications to add routes to an existing licence will be deleted during this downtime and will have to be restarted once access is restored.
In addition, any ICT Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) with a status of ‘ready to go’ or ‘work in progress’ will not be available to assign.
In its guidance, the Home Office “strongly advises you to complete any transactions before 19:00 on Friday 8 April 2022.”
Impact of the changes on your sponsor licence
For employers with a valid ICT sponsor licence on 10 April 2022, the Senior or Special Worker route will automatically be added to the licence.
The GBM Graduate Trainee route will also be added to the licence if either of the following applies:
- you have requested an allocation of CoS for the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route at any time since 1 December 2020
- you have, at any time in the past, assigned a CoS to a graduate trainee – this includes on the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route, or the Graduate Trainee sub-category of the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) route in place before 1 December 2020
Your Intra-Company sponsor licence will be retained to allow you to meet your reporting duties for existing ICT workers, but there will be no longer be any active CoS allocations for ICT visas.
If your licence is due for renewal
If your licence is due to expire between 8 April 2022 and 11 April 2022 inclusive and your renewal application is not submitted by 19:00 on 8 April 2022, the licence will be extended for a temporary period of 4 calendar days.
During this temporary reprieve, the renewal application must be submitted or it will expire, impacting your permission to employ sponsored workers.
Impact of the changes on your CoS allocations
CoS allocations for the new Senior or Specialist Worker route will be the same as your total CoS allocation for the Intra-Company routes on 10 April 2022.
If your licence is updated to also include the Graduate Trainee route, your CoS allocation for that route will be the same as your total CoS allocation for the Intra-Company routes on 10 April 2022, up to a maximum of 20 CoS.
Undecided CoS requests
Any outstanding requests to increase or renew existing CoS allocations to sponsor ICT workers from before 11 April 2022 will be considered under the Senior or Specialist Worker route.
However, any undecided requests to increase or renew your existing CoS allocation to sponsor workers on the ICT Graduate Trainee route made before 11 April 2022 will automatically expire, and the request will need to be submitted again on or after 11 April 2022.
CoS assigned before 11 April 2022
For CoS assigned to workers on either of the ICT visas before 9 a.m. on 11 April 2022 that have not been used in an application for entry clearance or permission to stay before that date and time, the worker can still use the CoS on the relevant GBM route (Senior or Specialist Worker, or Graduate Trainee), provided the CoS has not expired and you are licensed on the relevant route.
One of the key differences between the ICT routes and the new GBM visa is the uplift in salary thresholds under the new routes.
This means workers assigned an Intra-Company Transfer CoS with a salary below £42,400 or assigned an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee CoS with a salary below £23,100 will not be eligible under the new routes.
Sponsors may increase the salaries of any workers to allow them to qualify for the new routes. The new salary level must be added as a note to the CoS.
DavidsonMorris’ specialist immigration lawyers are on hand to advise on all aspects of sponsor licence management, including allocations of Certificates of Sponsorships. If you have a query about the new Global Business Mobility visa, or CoS allocations and requests, contact us.
Last updated: 5 April 2022