Those who employ migrant workers on a Skilled Worker work visa in the UK quie often say that it is quite expensive. Fees for sponsor licence, Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), NHS Surcharge and Immigration Skills Charge can add thousands of pounds to the cost of employing foreign worker. All of that costs are on top of the salary that has to be paid to the migrant worker. To get an idea of the cost of employing someone on a skilled worker visa you may use our fee calculator.


It is no surprise that many employers are looking for ways to limit their expenses relating to Skilled Worker visas. Fortunately, there are steps that sponsor employers can take to miimise spending when employig foreign workers.


One of the barriers to employing foreign workers on work visas is the minimum salary that sponsor employers have to pay to Skilled Workers. All Skilled Worker migran workers have to be paid minimum salary determined by the Home Office. The level of the salary depends on the type of job they do and some other circumstances relating to individual worker. Jobs on the shortage occupation list require lower minimum salary. There are other lower salary options available, depending on the type of the job and the employees age, among other things.

The standard minimum salary for a skilled worker visa is GBP 25600 gross per year, but it can be more if the miimum salary for a particular soc code is higher. We provide more information about the various salary options depending on the circumsances of your case on this page. When you read the information on our other page, you would note that there are situations when an employer can pay lower salaries than GBP 26,500. This is the case when, for example, the job is on shortage occupation list when you have to pay 80% of the soc code rate but no less than GBP 20,480.

The salary threshold is also lower for so called "new entrant" workers who need to be paid a minimum of 20,480 GBP per year or 70 % of the soc code miimum, whichever is higher.

Soc code is a system of jobs classification used by the Home Office in the Skilled Worker visa scheme and the list of eligible soc codes can be accessed here.


Sposor employers have to pay significant amounts of money in government fees for the privilege of hiring a foreign worker.

First, a sposor employer has to apply for a sponsor licence. The Home Office fee for the sposor licece application is 536 GBP if an employer is a small organization or a charity, or GBP 1476 for other organizations. Once an employer is granted the sponsor licence, there is GBP 199 fee for assigning Certificate of Sponsorship, separate for each Skilled Worker employee.

Then there is the Immigration health surcharge (NHS Surcharge), to be paid for each year of visa for the Skilled Worker. Standard payment is 624 GBP per year of visa.

Another cost that an employer has to pay a the time o assigig a COS is the Immigration Skills Charge. The amount to be paid again depends on whether the employer is classified as small organizaion or a charity or no.  Small organizationsand charities have to pay 364 GBP per each year of COS. For large organizations that goes up to 1000 GBP per each year of COS.


Then there are visa fees paid on application by the worker himself. Although in many cases those are also paid by the employer.

Health and care visa is one of the cheaper options for employers using foreign workers on skilled worker visa. Health and care visa. It has reduced fees and shorter processing times.

However, there are ways to bring those costs down even more. One of them is to employ workers switching from a student visa. By employing such workers an employer can avoid paying the Immigration Skills Charge, saving himself thousads of pounds during the visa duration.


Much depends on the size of your organization and the sector in which it works, but the savings on a standard Skilled Worker visa can be huge. For example the difference between standard 5 years Skilled Worker visa and oher options can be in the area of 8000 GBP for a large organization. That is a huge difference, between paying around 11,000 GBP and 2,000 GBP in fees for a 5 years long visa. That is why it is crucial to analyse the situation and needs of the prospective sponsor in advance. Experienced immigration adviser can save an organization a lot of expeses.

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.