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Get the right visa for your dream job in the UK

by Philip Gamble | Sep 26, 2017
  • Are you working for a company in South Africa that has a branch in the UK? If so, the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa may be of interest to you and here’s everything you need to know about it.

    Before you apply, check if the company is licensed to sponsor you

    The UK branch must be in possession of a specific licence which allows them to employ workers from outside the EU. This is known as a Sponsorship Licence.

    If the UK branch is not yet in possession of a Sponsorship Licence it is possible to apply for one and our work permits team are able to assist with the process.

    Once the company has the Sponsorship Licence, they can then request a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which can be assigned to you.

    Are you eligible?

    When your employer considers you for the position, they must first assess if you are eligible to receive this visa. To be eligible, you’ll need to show that:

    • You are currently employed by the branch in South Africa
    • The role being offered in the UK is a genuine vacancy which cannot be filled by a resident already settled in the UK with permission to work
    • The role being offered must be paid at the appropriate salary level
    • Have sufficient savings to support yourself when you arrive
    • Have a valid passport
    • Show that you have no restriction on your travel
    • Prove your travel history over the last 5 years
    • Prove that you are free from tuberculosis by means of a UKBA approved test

    SEE ALSO: UK visa applications for South Africans: How to get tested for TB before you apply

    There are two types of intra-company transfer visas

    There two visa categories: Long-term staff and graduate trainees.

    Long-term staff

    This visa is for employees who are offered a contract for more than 12 months. To qualify for this visa you will need to have worked for your employers for more than a year. If you have been working for the company for less than a year, they’re going to have to offer you a salary of at least £73,900 (R127,3449).

    Graduate trainees

    If you've recently graduated, and have been employed by an international company based in South Africa for at least three months, you may qualify to transfer within your organisation to the UK on a graduate trainee programme. This is usually if a graduate needs to go to the UK to conduct their training. Graduate trainees cannot, however, fill a long-term post in the UK once the programme is complete.

    Not sure which category you fall under? We can help

    Email an expertLeave a comment below

    Our consultants are available to answer any questions you might have.

    How long can I stay?

    The duration you can stay in the UK will depending on the type of intra-company visa you qualify for and the salary being offered. We have provided an overview of these below:

    • Up to 9 years under the Long-Term Staff category for those with an annual salary of £120,000 or higher per year
    • If you earn less than £120,000 per year, you will be allowed to stay for up to 5 years and 1 month under the Long-Term Staff category
    • If you’re in the UK as a graduate trainee you can stay for a maximum of 12 months

    It is important to note that residence in the UK on a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa would not lead to permanent residence in the UK. You are therefore expected to return to South Africa at the end of this period.

    When can I apply?

    You can come to UK up to 14 days before your job starts and so it all depends on your employment start date. This will be shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship. You may only apply three months before your commencement date and you can expect a decision within three weeks from the date of your application.

    We have found that these applications can be quite tricky without expert knowledge in the matter, so it’s always best to seek professional help.

    The do’s and don’ts of an intra-company work visa

    While you are working in the UK as a long-term, short-term or graduate trainee employee, you can:

    • Do a second job in the same field and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week, while still maintaining employment at the company stated on your certificate of sponsorship
    • Do voluntary work
    • Study, but it can’t interfere with your job
    • Leave and re-enter the UK
    • Bring family members with you

    However, you can’t:

    • Get access to public funds
    • Start working before your visa is granted

    Should this be of interest to you, please give us a call on +27 (0) 21 657 2180 or +44 (0) 20 7759 75804. You can also email us on

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

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