Visas

House of Lords written question – answered on 22nd March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many visas were issued in 2011 for non-European Economic Area workers on intra-company transfers, and whether they regard those workers as (1) habitually resident in the United Kingdom, and (2) eligible for free health treatment; and using a median salary of £40,000 how much revenue is foregone by virtue of the exclusion from the requirement for employer or employee national insurance contributions to be paid.

Photo of Lord Henley Lord Henley The Minister of State, Home Department

There were 29,677 visas issued to main applicants from non-EEA nationalities under the points-based system (PBS) tier 2-intra-company transfer (ICT) route in 2011.

Table be.04 of the Home Office statistical release "Immigration Statistics" includes data on the number of out of country visas issued under the tier 2 intra-company transfer route. The latest release of Immigration Statistics (October-December 2011) is available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Science, research and statistics web pages at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/research-statistics/migration/migration-statistics1/.

The term habitual residence is used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when considering applications for income related benefits. Those workers here under the ICT route do not have recourse to public funds and are subject to minimum salary requirements. As such, under the DWP definition, none of those using the ICT route would be regarded as "habitually resident" for benefit purposes.

The charging regulations in force across the UK exempt people working here for UK-based business from hospital charges if they are here, or expect to be here, for over 12 months. Such workers have free access to the NHS.

We do not have information on the amount of revenue foregone by the exclusion from the requirement for employer or employee national insurance contributions. I refer to Answers previously given on 10 Jan 2012 (col. WA58), 13 July 2011 (col. WA 189), 2 December 2010 (col. WA 484) and 16 November 2010 (col. WA 196), which explained why non-EEA workers are allowed a 52-week exemption from national insurance contributions (which includes employer contributions).

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