Information Technology professionals are the largest group of Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer beneficiaries in the UK. Most large ITES employers [Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, TCS to name a few} prefer this route to bring in workers to the UK to on client projects.
One of the biggest challenges that the ICT visa holders face is when they are required to return to their home country either at the end of the project or at end of maximum validity of their visa.
Some of the options available for ICT visa holders are:
- Switch to dependent visa – if their partner is eligible to apply to apply for another category of visa
- Explore the Tier 1 category of visas – i.e. Investor, Entrepreneur or exceptional talent
The general perception is that Tier 1 Exceptional Talent can be an ‘exceptionally’ hard visa to qualify for – however it is possible for Information Technology professionals to explore this option.
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa is officially described by the British government as a unique chance for talents to come and work in the UK. Those who are eminent figures in fields like science, humanities, engineering, digital technology, medicine, arts and fashion.
As per Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa route, you must be able to demonstrate that:
- you are a recognised leader in your field or;
- you are an emerging leader in your field.
The UK Immigration rules presently have discretionary criteria to define what constitutes the eminence.
So if you are working in IT and have a degree in Information Technology . Also you are able to evidence an excellent employment profile in terms of projects. Projects that you have worked on and have diversity in terms of programming languages. While its even not necessary for you to be working in cutting edge fields like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
It is pertinent to note that Tier 1 Exceptional Visa has no financial requirements to be met with . For highly qualified professionals it is easier to demonstrate that they meet the English language requirement . Also provide testimonials of work done and their professional achievements.
Moreover, the Home Office has relatively increased the potential number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas recently.
How the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa works?
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa, as the name suggests, is aimed at those who are considered to be exceptionally talented and actually stand out in the fields mentioned above. If you qualify under this particular visa, a person may be employed or self-employed, work for any employer and move between employers. That also without any additional approval from the Home Office and take up employment in any sector at any level.
You can switch into Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) if you have leave in the following categories:
Any Tier 1 route;
Any Tier 2 route; or
If you hold leave in any other category, you should leave the UK and apply for entry clearance.
How long you can stay in the UK after getting Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa?
You can stay in the UK for up to 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK and 5 years if you apply inside the UK. If you wish to extend your leave or apply for settlement, you will be needed to demonstrate that you have worked exceptionally well in your respective field of specialty.
Dependents may also accompany the applicant as long as they meet the relevant requirements and may continue to reside till the applicant remains eligible under this particular criteria.
With an increasing number of migrants in UK on Tier 2 Intra company transfer who may be finding themselves in tough spots with regard to their careers; no scope for growth, no permission to switch companies, among other hassles- this is surely an option worth exploring to see if you have eligibility for the same.
Switching from a Tier 2 Work Visa to a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa might be a viable option for many who are currently struggling with their careers on the Tier 2 Visa.