Immigration skills charge
Immigration skills charge

The following Immigration guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Immigration skills charge
  • Background
  • Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017
  • When is the charge payable?
  • How much is payable?
  • Refunds and waivers

Background

In December 2015, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent non-departmental public body which provides advice to the government on immigration matters, published a full review on Tier 2 policy. One of the MAC's recommendations was that an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) would incentivise UK employers to 'reduce their reliance' on employing migrant workers and to invest in training and upskilling UK workers. The MAC was responding to a specific request from the government when considering the issue, and there was already provision for an ISC made in the Immigration Bill then before Parliament which became the Immigration Act 2016 (IA 2016). The MAC proposed that the charge would be applicable to all sponsor employers recruiting across all Tier 2 (General) and (Intra-Company Transfer) (ICT) routes, with the only exemptions being where persons are sponsored in the Graduate Trainee and (then still open) Skills Transfer sub-categories of Tier 2 (ICT).

On 24 March 2016, the government announced its response to the MAC review, and confirmed that it accepted the majority of MAC's recommendations. This included confirmation that an ISC would be levied on Tier 2 employers at a rate of £1,000 per person per year from April 2017, with a rate of £364 for smaller businesses and charities, and an exemption for the sponsorship of persons in PhD occupations,