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Tier 2 new rules: Skills Charge

A new charge is due to come into effect on 6 April 2017. Employers who sponsor workers from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) might have to pay additional charge ‘Immigration Skills Charge’ for each foreign worker they employ.

This charge will apply to sponsors of Tier 2 workers in both the ‘General’ and ‘Intra-company Transfer’ routes regardless of whether these applications are submitted inside or outside of the United Kingdom.

The amount of the charge will depend on the size of the organisation:

  • £1,000 per year for medium or large sponsors
  • £364 per year will apply for sponsors classed as small or charitable

The charge will be payable upfront. As the longest you can sponsor a worker for is 5 years, the most you have to pay will be £5,000 for medium or large sponsors and £1,820 for small or charitable sponsors. The Tier 2 worker’s family members do not need to pay the charge.

This charge is not applicable if the worker you’re sponsoring:

  • has a Tier 4 (Student) visa and is switching to a Tier 2 (General) visa
  • has a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Graduate Trainee visa
  • will do a specified PhD level occupation
  • is a non-EEA national sponsored in Tier 2 before 6 April 2017 who is applying from inside the UK to extend their Tier 2 stay with either the same or a different sponsor

The Home Office has stated that the money collected from this charge will be used by the Department for Education to address employers to invest in training the UK workforce.

Also from April 2017 applicants for roles within the education, health or social care sectors will need to provide criminal record certificate(s) as part of their application. Dependants of Tier 2 (General) workers in this sector will also have to provide a criminal record certificate as part of their application to join them in the UK.

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