Visa fee reductions for CESC nationals

On 1 December 2020, new immigration work routes forming part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system opened for applications.

The Skilled Worker route has replaced the Tier 2 (General) route for those coming to the UK for skilled work, whilst the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route has replaced the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) route for temporary assignments.

Despite a number of changes being introduced with the new routes, updated information on immigration and nationality fees published by the Home Office yesterday show no change in the visa application fees for these work routes.

However, nationals of certain European countries may be eligible for visa fee reductions under the Council of Europe’s Social Charter (CESC) of 1961, an International Treaty which is in effect in 26 countries including the UK.

What are CESC nationals?

The CESC contains an obligation for those countries that bring it into legal effect to make it easier for citizens to move for work reasons to other countries that have also brought it into legal effect.

For this reason, the UK has long standing arrangements which entitle the nationals of these countries to reduced fees for visa applications to come to work in the UK.

You are eligible for the fee reduction if you are applying for a visa under one of the eligible immigration work routes, and you are a national of one of the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovak Republic
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Turkey

Which fee reductions are available for CESC nationals?

CESC nationals from any of the eligible countries listed above are entitled to a £55 reduction in their visa application fee when applying for a visa or extending their stay in any of the following eligible immigration work routes:

  • Skilled Worker
  • Intra-Company Transfer
  • Intra-Company Graduate Trainee
  • T2 Minister of Religion
  • T2 Sportsperson
  • T5 (Temporary Worker) Seasonal Worker
  • T5 (Temporary Worker) Religious Worker
  • T5 (Temporary Worker) Charity Worker
  • T5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting Worker
  • T5 (Temporary Worker) International Agreement Worker
  • T5 (Temporary Worker) Government Authorised Exchange Worker
  • Innovator
  • Start-up
  • Global Talent

It should be noted that the fee reduction is for the main applicant only, and does not apply to dependants. Up to date immigration fees for dependants can be found here.

Employers sponsoring CESC nationals under any of the eligible work routes will also benefit from fee reductions, as sponsors are not required to pay the usual fee of £199 when issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a CESC national.

From 1 December 2020, the reductions will automatically apply to eligible applications from CESC nationals and Certificates of Sponsorship issued by sponsors for CESC nationals.

If you are a sponsor and you have already issued a CoS to a CESC national, the Home Office will contact you to arrange a refund of the CoS fee.

Speak to an immigration expert

If you need support with your visa application, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our team of immigration experts are experienced in filing successful visa applications for clients and will guide you through every step of the process to ensure your application is stress-free.

To find out how we can help, please contact us today.

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