February 17, 2017
Subject to parliamentary approval, the much anticipated Immigration Skills Charge will come into force on 6 April 2017.
From this date onward, employers will be required to pay an additional charge when they sponsor a worker from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
A Home Office press release confirms the skills charge will apply to sponsors of Tier 2 workers in both the ‘General’ and ‘Intra-company Transfer’ routes regardless of whether these applications are submitted inside or outside of the United Kingdom. It will not be applicable to the worker’s family members (‘dependants’).
The charge will be £1,000 per year and payable upfront. A reduced charge of £364 per year will apply for sponsors classed as small or charitable. Based on a Tier 2 (General) visa being issued for 3 years, this means that the immigration costs for such an application will increase by £3,000.
An exemption to this charge will apply to:
- non-EEA nationals sponsored in Tier 2 before 6 April 2017 who is applying from inside the UK to extend their Tier 2 stay with either the same or a different sponsor;
- Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainees;
- workers undertaking a specific PhD level occupation; and
- Tier 4 student visa holders in the UK switching to a Tier 2 (General) visa.
The Home Office has stated that the money collected from this charge will used by the Department for Education to address skills gaps in the UK workforce.