If you are thinking about hiring someone on a Tier 2 visa or extending their existing visa, you should check out our blog on the new skills levy that will be charged to sponsors of Tier 2 workers from 6 April 2017. The blog also sets out some other changes to the rules on Tier 2 visas announced in the Home Office guidance, including the requirement for employees in some sectors (and their adult dependants) to provide criminal record certificates from each county they have lived in for 12 months before they can apply for a Tier 2 visa.
The skills charge will apply to a sponsor of a Tier 2 worker who assigns a Tier 2 (General) or a Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) certificate of sponsorship (aka work permit) on or after 6 April 2017, whether the worker will be applying for their visa from outside the UK or from inside the UK (when they are switching into this visa or extending their existing visa). The skills charge will be £1,000 per year of the visa (so £3,000 for a 3-year visa) for medium or large sponsors and £364 per year (so £1,092 for a 3-year visa) for charitable or small sponsors (with small sponsors usually having an annual turnover of £10.2 million or less and 50 employees or fewer). The skills charge will be payable upfront when you assign the Certificate of Sponsorship (COS). You do not have to pay the skills charge for the worker’s family members, which is a welcome concession. It is clearly becoming very expensive to sponsor skilled international talent. The Skills levy will be added on top of the ever increasing visa fees and Immigration Health Surcharge fee.