Immigration Skills Charge

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Who is Subject to Pay the Immigration Skills Charge?

Unless an exception applies, a licensed sponsor holder (Certificate of Sponsorship (‘CoS’)) is subject to the Immigration Skills Charge. From 1 January 2021, the Immigration Skills Charge applies to all applications made on the Skilled Worker or ICT routes (Replacing the Tier 2 (General visa) and Tier 2 (ICT) Long term staff routes), if they are applying for a visa from outside of the UK to work within the UK for a period of 6 months or more or if they are inside the UK for any length of time.  

The charge must be paid by the sponsor and cannot be passed onto the employee. Sponsors must pay the charge for each Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) they assign, unless an exemption applies.

Corporate Immigration
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You will not need to pay the Immigration Skills Charge if you’re Sponsoring:

  • Individuals who are on an Intra-company Graduate trainee visa route 
  • Individuals who are on a UK study visa and then switch to a Skilled worker or Intra-company transfer visa, thereby extending their stay via the new visa 

Additionally, you will not need to pay the Immigration Skills Charge if Sponsoring individuals fall under one of the following:

  • chemical scientists (2111)
  • biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
  • physical scientists (2113)
  • social and humanities scientists (2114)
  • natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified (2119)
  • research and development managers (2150)
  • higher education teaching professionals (2311)
  • clergy (2444)
  • sports players (3441)
  • sports coaches, instructors or officials (3442)

The government has published a detailed guide on the Immigration skills charge. 

How Can NA Law Solicitors Help?

As the Immigration Skills Charge is mandatory, it is exceptionally important to get this right. We can support you in identifying which fee would be appropriate to you, advise you on your concerns, ensure that you comply with the requirements and support you in the process of settling any liabilities you may have incurred.  

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

You need a sponsorship licence if you plan on hiring employees from outside the EEA.

To meet the requirements, you must:

  • be a genuine business or sole-trader which is legally operating in the UK.
  • be able to demonstrate a genuine need for migrant workers.
  • have no unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences, money laundering, or fraud.
  • not pose any kind of threat to the UK via your company or any of its personnel.
  • not have a history of failing to carry out sponsorship duties.
  • have organised HR systems and records.

The Home Office fee depends on the type of business you have. For small businesses and charities the Tier 2 sponsorship fee is £536. For medium and large businesses the Tier 2 sponsorship fee is £1476. You are a small business if you have an annual turnover of £10.2 million and less than 50 employees.

Some of the most common reasons for Tier 2 sponsor visa rejection are:

  • Non-compliance with the Home Office security standards
  • Failing the genuineness test
  • Failing to retain documentation on sponsored migrant workers

The Home Office will award you with a license rating. Your business will be placed on the UK Sponsorship Licence register. You will be able to issue Certificates of Sponsorship. Your license will be valid for 4 years.

Applying for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence is a lengthy and complex process. NA Law Solicitors can assist with your business immigration needs by managing the entire Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence application process. We can help you adhere to your duties as a Tier 2 sponsor and steer you towards a successful outcome. Subsequently, NA Law can assist with the following:

  • Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence applications
  • Audit existing HR and record keeping systems
  • Acting as a key contact and/or level 1 user for your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence
  • Advising on Right to Work checks as set out by the Home Office guidance
  • Applying for a restricted or unrestricted CoS and assigning it to the relevant workers
  • Advising on how to deal with closure notices and civil penalty notices
  • Assisting multi-nationals to bring their overseas staff to the UK via the Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa route
  • Advising on Brexit-related issues faced by EEA national workers
  • Advising on all other corporate immigration matters

During the sponsor licence application, the Home Office may come to conduct a compliance visit at the company premises. Our specialist team at NA Law Solicitors can conduct a mock audit for you. This will decrease the chance of an unsuccessful sponsor licence. Contact us for further information, advice or guidance.

Most applications are dealt with within 4 weeks. UKVI will contact the applicant once a decision is made.

Prior to making a decision on a Student sponsorship licence application or as a means to ensure a sponsor is adhering to its Student sponsor duties, UKVI may make an unannounced visit to inspect the sponsor’s HR policies and confirm they have sufficient measures in place to fulfil their obligations.

The charge is dependent on the size of your organisation and how long the worker will work for you. The start date and end date on the workers sponsorship certificate will be looked at. 

For small or charitable sponsors, the charge for the first 12 months is £364 and for each additional 6 months is £182. For Medium or Large sponsors, the charge for the first 12 months is £1,000 and for each additional 6 months is £500. 

Charges must be paid in full. 

5 years.

Refunds can be issued if the worker’s visa application is refused or withdrawn or successful, but they do not come to work for you. Partial refunds can also be applied for if, the worker gets less time on their visa than you originally sponsored them for, if they start working but then change to another sponsor or if they leave their job prior to the end date on their COS.

A refusal decision can be asked to be reviewed again. Refund is also issued within 90 days of the deadline. Contact us to know about the administrative review and for further support. 

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