UNITED KINGDOM – New Government Guidance on the Immigration Skills Charge
The Home Office have released an update to the Tier 2 guidance, which states that additional fees will be charged to employers who recruit skilled migrant labour from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). This is expected to come into force on 6 April 2017.
What is the Immigration Skills Charge?
The introduction of the Immigration Skills Charge for employers who preferentially employ skilled migrants is designed to incentivise employers to invest in training and upskilling the resident workforce.
Employers will pay £1000 per Tier 2 migrant sponsored per year, with a reduced rate of £364 per migrant per year for small and charitable sponsors. The skills charge is not applicable for the worker’s dependants. Sponsors will need to pay the skills charge upfront, and for the total period of time covered by the CoS, at the same time that they pay to assign a CoS.
According to the latest guidance, the fees collected by the Home Office will be used by the Department for Education to address skills gaps in the UK workforce.
Who is Affected?
The skills charge will apply to a sponsor of a Tier 2 worker assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in the ‘General’ or ‘Intra-company Transfer’ route and who will be applying from:
- Outside the UK for a visa;
- Inside the UK to switch to this visa from another;
- Inside the UK to extend their existing visa.
The skills charge does not apply if you are sponsoring:
- A non-EEA national who was sponsored in Tier 2 before 6 April 2017 and is applying from inside the UK to extend their Tier 2 stay with either the same sponsor or a different sponsor;
- A Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Graduate Trainee;
- A worker to do a specified PhD level occupation;
- A Tier 4 student visa holder in the UK switching to a Tier 2 (General) visa.
Dependents are exempt from the skills charge.