Tier 2 Immigration Skills Charge to be introduced on 6 April 2017
24 February 2017 #Immigration
Our business immigration team recently reported that the government would be introducing a new Immigration Skills Charge (or Levy) this year for Tier 2 sponsors. We can now report that the government has published some more details about this charge which will apply from 6 April 2017, subject to parliamentary approval.
What is the Immigration Skills Charge?
In March last year, the government confirmed that it would be pressing ahead with plans to reduce Britain’s reliance on migrant workers and upskill British workers through a new skills charge.
The skills charge is an additional government charge on Tier 2 sponsors and must be paid at the time of assigning a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship on or after 6 April 2017, unless an exemption applies. This charge is in addition to the Home Office’s fees and Immigration Health Surcharge.
Who does it apply to?
The skills charge will apply to both the Tier 2 General and Intra Company Transfer categories and where the application is submitted from:
- outside the UK
- inside the UK to switch to Tier 2 from another visa
- inside the UK to extend an existing visa
The skills charge will not apply to:
- 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
- Tier 2 dependents
How much is it?
The skills charge will be £364 per year of the visa for small or charitable sponsors and £1,000 per year of the visa for medium or large sponsors.
The Home Office’s guidance deems a UK business small if:
- Its annual revenue/turnover is 10.2m or less; and
- It has 50 employees or fewer.
What else do I need to know?
We are awaiting further guidance on whether there will be scope for refunds to sponsors where the migrant worker does not take up the role or leaves employment before the end of the visa period. Given the fact that the skills charge has to be paid in advance, the charge could amount to £5,000 for a 5 year CoS.
Tier 2 sponsors should consider accelerating transfers in the next month or so to avoid the skills charge. Businesses should ensure they take these additional hiring costs into consideration in future recruitment budgets.
Sponsors requiring business immigration advice should contact our specialist business immigration team by telephone on 020 7539 8000 or by completing the form on this page.
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