The great news is on the way for Indian IT experts visiting the UK on Intra Corporate Transfer (ICT) visas for short-term projects, as the UK Home Office is considering allowing them to stay in the nation rather than returning to India.
This way allows multinational enterprises to temporarily deploy essential staff at their UK office based solely on the needs. In 2019, Indian citizens accounted for 97% of ICT contractor visas awarded by the UK, with a substantial portion going to the IT sector. Employees in this category can work for a third-party organization while still working for the sponsor.
TCS, Infosys, Wipro, and Tech Mahindra were among the top ten enterprises in the UK that used ICT contract visas in 2019. Furthermore, modifications to the ICT visa regime recently recommended by the UK government’s Migratory Advisory Department to the Home Office may be a mixed bag, as it also recommends a higher wage threshold that must be adjusted periodically, as well as more rigorous surveillance and enforcement of laws.
In 2019, there were 26,745 ICT contractual visa applicants in the UK, compared to 15,549 through the traditional method. In 2020, the numbers for both groups were cut in half, but officials blamed the steep drop on the ongoing pandemic. These recommendations are based on research conducted by the Migratory Advisory Department, which was commissioned by the Home Office, on the operation and effectiveness of the ICT route. These recommendations are based on research conducted by the Migratory Advisory Department, which was commissioned by the Home Office, on the operation and effectiveness of the ICT route.
The report makes a case for giving ICT visa holders the same option to stay permanently as those on Skilled Worker (SW) visas, stating that migrants may not realize their settlement intentions when they first arrive, or these may change over time, but migrants working in the UK on an ICT visa make significant contributions to the UK economy through taxes, skills, and services.
“We think it is only right that they should be afforded the same access to long-term settlement as those on the SW route. Such a change should also reduce the incentive for migrants to quickly switch into the SW route (which has been allowed recently) and therefore help to tackle some of the issues employers raise about the costs and disruption of migrants switching,” the report suggested.
The UK issues far more SW visas than ICT visas and has lower salary thresholds and settling options, the ICT route has benefits such as faster issuance, no English language test requirement, incorporation of some entitlements while evaluating salary threshold accomplishment, and multiple entry allowance.
The research also suggested that the salary criterion for the ICT route (now £41,500) ($55,756) be set at the median annual gross earnings of sectors from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), which is at present £42,400 ($56,970), and be reassessed on a regular basis.