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Tier 2 Immigration Skills Charge to be introduced in April 2017

From April onwards, employers will be charged up to £1000 per annum for each non-EEA worker that they sponsor.


The new Immigration Act introduces a charge for companies wishing to recruit outside the EEA. It has stated that this has two main objectives, namely to:

  1. Encourage businesses to source the skilled workers that they need from the UK labour market;
  2. Reduce the burden on the taxpayer from the cost of the immigration system.

The Immigration Act 2016

In order to achieve these aims, the Immigration Skills Charge is being introduced. This was brought in under s.85 of the Immigration Act 2016 and, to summarise, means that:

  1. Employers who wish to hire non-EEA workers under Tier 2 will have to pay an annual fee of £1,000 per worker;
  2. Charities; organisations which have a turnover of £10.2million or less; or organisations which have up to 50 employees will only have to pay £364 per worker per year.

These charges will be in effect from 6th April 2017.

Who will this apply to?

The charge will apply to skilled non-EEA workers who are either coming to the UK to fill a job which cannot be filled by a UK citizen (Tier 2 (General)) or are moving to the UK as part of a move within a multinational company (Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer)), where the individuals:

  1. Are currently working overseas and wish to apply for a visa;
  2. Already have a visa, and wish to switch to a Tier 2 visa;
  3. Already have a Tier 2 visa, and wish to extend it.

However, there will be no charge for:

  1. Occupations skilled to PhD level;
  2. Students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2;
  3. The Intra Company Transfer Graduate Trainee category;
  4. Non-EEA workers sponsored in Tier 2 before 6th April 2017, who wish to extend their visa with the same or a different sponsor;
  5. Family members and/or dependents of those with a Tier 2 visa.

Potential Impact

This change may have significant ramifications for employers. Tier 2 (General) visas are generally issued for 3 years, so employers may be forced to pay £3000 per application. In addition, the charge will still apply to some roles on the Shortage Occupation List, making it more difficult than ever to recruit for those professions.

Contact Our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice in relation to the Immigration Skill Charge or Tier 2 visas, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online enquiry form.


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