Starting from April of this year, employers who sponsor overseas
workers in the UK with a Tier 2 status will be required to pay the
Immigration Skills Charge (the ISC). The charge is due to be set at
£1000 per overseas worker per year or at the reduced rate of
£364 per annum per worker for small or charitable
How and when the payments are to be made has not yet been
announced, however, it is likely that the money will be payable in
full at the beginning of a sponsorship period (when the certificate
of sponsorship is assigned).
To save unnecessary costs, employers should consider now whether
to bring forward recruitment processes for new employees or
applications for extension of Tier 2 status for existing employees
to ensure that they are completed before the ISC is imposed.
In addition, employers recruiting Tier 2 workers from overseas
as new employees should be aware that there is likely to be higher
than usual demand for the limited number of Tier 2 Restricted
Certificates of Sponsorship as employers seek to beat the start
date for the ISC. This may mean that the number of certificates
required is smaller than those available for only the third time
since the imposition of the cap in 2011.
The ISC is seen by the Government as a key step towards reducing
employer reliance on migrant workers and incentivising employment
and training of resident workers. However, there will be exemptions
for PhD level jobs and for international students switching their
status to Tier 2 workers from within the UK in a measure to ensure
that the UK continues to attract talented students and protect the
UK's world-class reputation for education and research.
Coming in at the same time will be a further increase to the
minimum salary level for experienced Tier 2 General sponsored
workers from £25,000 to £30,000 (although there will be
exemptions for some medical roles as well as some secondary school
teachers until 2019). The minimum salary for junior staff (classed
as "new entrants") will remain at £20,800.
More bad news, this time for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferees,
will see the Short Term transfer category and the Skills Transfer
category disappearing altogether in favour of a single Long Term
Transfer category with a minimum salary requirement of
£41,500. However, new graduates can still benefit from the
more time limited Graduate Trainee Category for Intra-company
transferees with the minimum salary actually decreasing slightly
from £24,800 to £23,000.
Another grain of good news exists for more highly paid
Intra-Company Transferees as the normal qualifying period of 12
months working for the same group of companies overseas will be
waived for all workers earning more than £73,900 and the
minimum salary threshold for transferees working the UK for more
than 5 years (up to the maximum of 9 years) will be reduced from
£155,300 to £120,000.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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