From April onwards (the exact date in April is yet to be confirmed), employers will face an additional financial burden when sponsoring workers from outside the European Economic Area ("EEA").
The Immigration Skills Charge will be £1,000 per year for medium or large sponsors and £364 per year for small and charitable sponsors and will apply to both Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer ("ICT")) migrant workers.
The Immigration Skills Charge will be payable upfront and for the total period of time covered by the Certificate of Sponsorship. Sponsors will need to pay the Immigration Skills Charge at the same time they pay to assign the Certificate of Sponsorship. This charge is in addition to Immigration Health Surcharge which will extend to Tier 2 (ICT) migrants from April 2017.
The Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on Tier 2 migrants applying from outside the UK for a visa; from inside the UK to switch into Tier 2 from another visa category; and from inside the UK to extend their existing Tier 2 visa. Sponsors do not have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge for worker's family members ("dependants").
The Immigration Skills Charge is not applicable to the following categories:
- 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 (ICT) Graduate Trainee;
A worker to do a specified PhD level occupation; and
A Tier 4 student visa holder in the UK switching into Tier 2 (General) visa.
Given the additional burden this will place on employers, we would encourage you to review your skills base and future resourcing needs and consider bringing forward the decisions to sponsor non-EEA migrants before the levy bites in April.