The Home Office has confirmed that it will calculate whether the lower fee applies. This will be depend on whether the sponsor benefitted from the reduced sponsor licence application fee for small companies and charities, when making their initial licence application. If a sponsor paid the higher fee when making their sponsor licence, but now believes that it should now be treated as a small company, then they can report this as a change of circumstances to have their status updated.
You are required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge:
The following workers are exempt:
Employers are permitted to assign a CoS for a maximum of five years. Therefore, if you want to sponsor a migrant worker for this period and cannot rely on the reductions or exemptions outlined above, you will be required to pay £5,000 when assigning the CoS.
As we have already reported, this expense is in addition to the various other costs associated with Tier 2 sponsorship and visa applications, which includes:
The charge will be payable at the same time as the employer pays to assign a CoS to a worker.
The Home Office has made it clear that the cost of the charge must not be passed on to the worker under any circumstances.
Therefore, while you might include provisions in your contracts of employment with sponsored workers to clawback some of the costs of sponsorship and relocation, these cannot include the cost of the Immigration Skills Charge.
That said, a refund of all or part of the charge may be made where, for example, a worker leaves their job early, is refused a visa, or withdraws their application.
Refunds will not be available where:
It is clear that by introducing the Immigration Skills Charge, the government is intentionally seeking to out-price a growing number of employers from the migrant labour market, limiting their recruitment options. Indeed, the Conservative party's manifesto commits to doubling the Skills Charge during the course of the next Parliament.
While nurturing a more competitive, upskilled domestic labour market is critical for the future economic sustainability and success of the UK, the commercial reality remains that employers need to hire workers with the appropriate skills and at a commercially-viable cost level.
Some employers faced with mounting costs of migrant sponsorship are reviewing their recruitment strategies, including exploring alternative immigration options.