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New UK Skills Charge For Tier 2 Migrants

The UK government introduced an Immigration Skills Charge (“ISC”) for Tier 2 migrants who are assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) beginning April 6, 2017. It is required to pay this fee immediately once an application has been filed. Altair has worked closely with our immigration provider to find the best solution in handling payment of this fee; however, clients need to be aware of how this could affect their budgets.


Employers of Tier 2 visa applicants are subject to a new ISC at the time of assigning the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This fee was introduced April 6, 2017. The ISC will typically cost £1,000 per year per applicant; however, there are exemptions to this fee.

Details Regarding the ISC

  • The Immigration Skills Charge will be set at £1,000 or £364 for small businesses, charities, or a person who employs no more than 50 employees;
  • Sponsors will typically need to pay the first 12-month period in full (subject to the entry clearance exception described below). Thereafter, the fee will be calculated in six- month increments;
  • An individual coming to the United Kingdom whose CoS is issued for two and a half years would pay £2,500 for the Immigration Skills Charge;
  • The refund process is expected to follow the same provisions as the Immigration Health Surcharge fee where applications are refused or withdrawn; and
  • Other than where an exception applies, skilled workers switching into Tier 2 after the regulations come into force will be subject to the charge as will those that are assigned a CoS to change employers from within the United Kingdom after April 6, 2017.

Exceptions to the ISC

  • Dependants of Tier 2 workers;
  • Skilled workers applying for entry clearance for less than six months;
  • Skilled workers switching from the Tier 4 visa category;
  • Skilled workers working in PhD-level roles;
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Graduate Trainees;
  • Skilled workers who are assigned a CoS before the regulations come into force and extend their leave or change their sponsor from within the United Kingdom; and
  • Skilled workers who are assigned a CoS after the regulations have come into force that extend their leave with the same sponsor but change roles and the new CoS is issued for the same length as their first CoS.HOW THIS AFFECTS CLIENTSThe ISC has resulted in a huge increase in our immigration supplier’s outlay of government fees. As a result, our immigration supplier will no longer be able to grant credit in relation to UK government fees where the amount exceeds £1,000 on any individual case. Altair has worked with our immigration partner and has chosen to pay the invoice within a week of issue. Altair will continue to invoice our clients under current client contract terms; however, any clients planning to sponsor Tier 2 employees in the UK should prepare for this new expense in their budgets.Information supplied in conjunction with our valued supplier, Fragomen.Altair Global (‘Altair’) has provided this information as a service and convenience for your information only. It is not intended to replace your own legal or financial guidance and/or assistance and you are encouraged to seek the advice of your own tax and legal advisor. Further, the information contained herein is to our knowledge accurate to the extent of the data available to Altair as of the date identified. Altair does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of the contents hereof and is under no obligation to update the material contained herein.
Published On: June 28, 2017

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