Since April 2017 Employers in the UK wishing to sponsor a non-EEA worker to fill a skilled role under Tier 2 have started paying a Government imposed Immigration Skills Charge (‘ISC’) of £1,000 per year when assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship to a sponsored worker. The ISC is intended to fund schemes run by the Department of Education to train settled workers to fill skills gaps in the UK. Small companies pay a reduced ISC.
It is understood that monies raised by ISC will be paid into a Consolidated Fund. It is unclear if there is a safeguarding mechanism if the government is experiencing fund shortages in other departments. It also remains to be seen how progress will be tracked on the investment made by the use of ISC funds.
The Conservative Manifesto 2017 included plans to double the ISC from £1,000 to £2,000 per year by the end of 2022. If implemented today, it would cost an employer approximately £12,000 in UKVI application fees, NHS surcharges and ISC to sponsor a Tier 2 migrant for over five years (and this would exclude legal fees and any fees payable for dependant family members seeking to enter at the same time).
If the proposed increase in the charge does go ahead, it is anticipated that the Home Office will gradually increase the ISC (e.g. £200 increase per year over five years of Parliament) to lessen the impact on businesses.