Costs to consider when
developing your business's
Global Mobility policy

A Global Mobility policy is your organisation’s internal set of guidelines which govern the international movement of your assignees. Creating a Global Mobility policy enables your business to have a clear plan in place when bringing in workers from overseas, and ensures the equal treatment of all your international employees.

There are a wide range of factors to consider when developing a Global Mobility policy for your business, therefore forward planning can help you avoid unnecessary stress and uncertainties when bringing in a worker from overseas. An important area to consider is the cost factor.

UK employers sponsoring workers on the Skilled Worker and Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) routes should be aware of the various Home Office fees involved, and carefully consider which of these will be covered by the business, and which costs the applicant will be expected to cover. Costs are varied, sometimes discretionary and many times optional. Rather than making such decisions on a case-by-case basis, a Global Mobility policy will allow you to follow a standardised procedure for all overseas assignees, ensuring a fair and transparent onboarding process.

Below, we set out some of the key questions relating to immigration fees that employers should ask themselves when developing a Global Mobility policy for their organisation, and provide some background information on each to help you make the right decisions for your business.

Which immigration fees will you cover for your assignees?

Certain costs associated with bringing in workers from overseas must be paid by the employer and cannot be passed onto the migrant worker, such as the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) and sponsorship fees. However, there are various other fees that should be considered, and it usually falls on the employee to cover these costs. Some employers opt to contribute towards immigration fees on behalf of their employees, although this is at the discretion of your business.

Immigration fees to consider include:

  • Visa application fee – This depends on the category and length of visa the worker is applying for. The cost to apply for a Skilled Worker or an ICT visa from outside the UK is £610 for up to three years, or £1,220 for more than three years.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) – Most migrants coming to the UK must pay the IHS in order to access NHS healthcare for the duration of their stay. Currently the IHS is £624 per person per year, or £470 per year for under-18s.
  • English language test – Some Skilled Worker visa applicants may be required to demonstrate that they can speak English to an acceptable standard by taking a secure English language test (SELT). This is not a requirement under the ICT route. The cost to take a test is approximately £180 – £200, depending on the provider.
  • Appointment fees – If the applicant needs to attend a Visa Application Centre, free appointments are available but slots are limited and demand is high. Paid appointments are generally easier to come by, but the fees vary. Applicants are advised to check the website of the service point they intend to use for the most up to date fees.

Your Global Mobility policy should clearly indicate which (if any) of these fees will be covered by the business and which fees must be met by the assignee.

Will you pay for dependants?

Under the Skilled Worker and ICT routes, applicants can bring dependant family members with them to the UK if they are eligible.

However, the visa application fee must be paid for each accompanying dependant at the same rate as the main applicant. Dependants will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Dependants aged 18 or over will usually need to pay the IHS at the same rate as the main applicant, although a reduced fee applies for under 18s.

For those assignees coming to the UK with multiple dependant family members, the costs can quickly stack up. Your organisation may therefore wish to define the circumstances (if any) in which you will cover the costs for dependants. For example, some employers specify that dependants’ fees will only be covered where they are relocating at the same time as the main applicant, and not after the main applicant has already relocated.

Will you utilise any of the Home Office priority services?

Under standard processing times, applicants will usually receive a decision on their visa application within 3 weeks if applying from outside the UK, or within 8 weeks if applying from within the UK. If the application is urgent, the Home Office also offers Priority and Super Priority services for an additional cost. Those using the Priority service will usually receive a decision within 5 working days, and those using the Super Priority service will usually receive a decision by the end of the next working day.

When developing your organisation’s Global Mobility policy, you should carefully weigh up the extra cost of utilising premium services against the potential time savings to determine if it is worthwhile using them as standard practice for all applications, or just for a select few that require an expedited process.

Will you financially support your employees wishing to apply for ILR or citizenship?

Skilled Worker visa holders who have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). 12 months after securing ILR, they may be able to make an application for British citizenship. It costs £2,389 to apply for ILR, and £1,330 to apply for citizenship. Both applications also carry a £19.20 biometrics fee.

Although the fees are not cheap, employers and employees can both benefit in the long term from making the transition from a Skilled Worker visa to settled status. Firstly, the worker will no longer need to be sponsored in order to work in the UK and can therefore work in any role at any skill or salary level without the restrictions of the Skilled Worker route’s criteria. Secondly, other fees such as the IHS and the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) no longer apply once the worker has been granted ILR.

Help with developing a Global Mobility policy

Smith Stone Walters can assist with developing a Global Mobility policy tailored to your business. To find out more, please contact us today.

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