In April, the government introduced maximum stay periods for sponsored intra-company transfer workers. Migrant workers first granted ICT status after April 5 must leave the United Kingdom at the end of their stay. They cannot re-enter the United Kingdom in the same ICT sub-category for at least twelve months, the "cooling-off' period.
Unfortunately, the Border Agency's guidance on this point will mean that cooling-off periods will usually be longer than twelve months. The guidance states that the date from which the cooling-off period starts is the date on which the worker's leave expired, that is, the last date of the worker's visa validity. But if the worker's employment in the United Kingdom ended before that expiry date, which is often the case, the cooling-off period will actually be twelve months from the expiry date of the visa plus the time between the date on which the worker leaves the United Kingdom and that expiry date. The Border Agency acknowledges this effect but declines to change its interpretation. As a result, sponsors of new Tier 2 (ICT) workers must be alert to this potential future problem when deciding the length of time of a worker's assignment to the United Kingdom.