We often get asked about switching rules if moving from Tier 2 ICT to Tier 2 General and there seems to be quite alot of confusion as to whether it is possible, and whether it would lead to Settlement?

Individuals can switch into Tier 2 (General) from Tier 2 (ICT) if they entered the UK before 6 April 2011, providing they have not made an application for entry clearance (i.e from abroad) since then and providing they are changing sponsors.

If such individuals have continued to reside lawfully in the UK since they arrived under Tier 2 (ICT), and providing any applications they have made to extend their stay under Tier 2 (ICT) have been made from inside the UK, they will not be affected by the 12 months ‘cooling off’ period if they subsequently decide to switch into Tier 2 (General). Under the rules that are currently in place, they will be able to switch into Tier 2 (General) and take up a job with a a new employer providing the other requirements of Tier 2 (General) are met (RLMT, skills threshold, salary level, etc).

Individuals who entered the UK under Tier 2 (ICT) on or after 6 April 2011, or those who entered before then but have since made an application for entry clearance from abroad, will have to leave the UK for the 12 month ‘cooling off’ period before they can return under Tier 2 (General). The only exception to this rule is if the individual has been offered a new role and will be paid a salary of at least £152,100.

And what about settlement I hear you ask?

From 6 April 2011 Tier 2 ICT Long Term Staff (LTS) will be limited to a maximum period of 5 years with no extension permitted after this date.

 Since 6 April 2010 new Tier 2 (ICTs) have not been able to qualify for settlement but are able to extend for as long as their Sponsor has needed them in the UK but as mentioned, above in the above point, a 5-year limit was added in 2011.

International Work Permits (IWP) is registered limited company (IWP limited) and is not part of the Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration, but regulated by the OISC to give immigration advice (REF: 200500116) 


An ill wind is passing through the Home Office and it's immigration branch (now called UK Visas and Immigration). The Home Office are going to increase their fees from April 6th, so if you qualify now, apply now before the Hike. In addition to this there will be new Tier 2 salary thresholds and an increase in Maintenance funds under the Points Based System (PBS). When Tier 1 General (for initial applications) stopped, there was still the posibility to extend it indefinitely. However, there are talks that after April 2015 applicants wont be able to apply for endless tier 1 general extensions and the last ILR applications would also be in April 2018. Combine this with ICT tier 2s not being able to get settlement and there certainly is a change afoot!
Contact us should you have any questions or wish to apply on a same day or postal basis.


Do not risk the disappointment and stress of refusal, when this can be avoided by a simple, no-obligation phone call: +44 (0) 207 866 8170