MAC proposed changes to Tier 2 ICT route

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in its January 2016 report proposes tightening up on the Intra-Company Transfer route for skilled migrants who are transferred from an overseas office of a group to work on UK projects.

The MAC believes that 90{e68217344b855fcd608ed2c4c41f83644da7cd41ea524fbfa2ad06c632d3255d} of the ICT visas are for “third party contracting” such as that commonly performed by Indian IT companies.  The MAC believes that whereas the “conventional channel” of a relatively small number of highly skilled worker transfers such as in the auto industry brings great benefit to the UK economy, third party contracting brings little value to the UK.  The ready supply of migrant labour is sometimes a disincentive for UK firms to invest in local HR resources.

With the above in mind the MAC has proposed the following changes to the ICT route:

1.All ICTs should be required to pay both the Immigration Health Surcharge and the Immigration Skills Charge (except Skills Transfer and Graduate trainees).

2.  The required prior experience with the employer should be raised from one year to two years. This will help ensure that the transferee is steeped in the culture of the company. They also recommend that sponsors be required to enter a more detailed description of the role on the Certificate of Sponsorship application form to ensure that the role is sufficiently specialist.

3. The Home Office and HMRC will wish to jointly examine whether or not the present system of allowances and initial non-payment of national insurance contributions confers a playing field tilted against British workers.

The MAC provide more details of the proposed changes to the ICT route in terms of third-party contracting, automatic “sunsetting” and work rights of dependants.