close menu

Immigration skills charge makes it harder for non-UK citizens to find work

by John Dunn | Jul 13, 2016
  • The Immigration Act of 2016 was updated on 12 July 2016 to introduce an immigration skills charge which will discourage UK companies from hiring foreign citizens. The Tory-led UK government has repeatedly claimed it is presently too easy for UK employers to hire non-UK citizens.

    The previous Minister for Immigration and Security, James Brokenshire, had some emphatic words concerning migrant workers and their fate in the UK: “In the past it has been too easy for some businesses to bring in workers from overseas rather than to take the long-term decision to train our workforce here at home.”

    The UK government plans to effect these changes through an immigration skills charge.

    What the immigration skills charge means for you

    This additional levy has been designed to encourage employers to invest in training and upskilling the resident labour force. It is the government’s hope that this will ultimately lead to a reduction on the reliance of migrant labour.

    Employers will be required to pay £1,000 per year for each Tier 2 migrant they sponsor. There is a reduced rate of £364 per migrant for small and charitable sponsors, but the majority companies hiring Tier 2 applicants will fall outside of this category.

    PhD-level graduates on a Tier 4 (General) student visa is that their sponsors will not be required to pay the additional £1000 per year when they switch to a Tier 2 visa. The same applies to those switching to the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa.

    Employers can also escape the immigration skills charge if the non-resident worker has a skillset that cannot be filled by a British person. This will likely be an extension of the Shortage Occupations List.

    Provisions like this have been a long time coming

    For many months, and especially leading up to the EU referendum vote in June, the British political right have been bemoaning the negative effects of immigration on the UK’s economy. Non-EU migrants have been particularly singled out.

    The government is hoping is that this will give jobs to more British people as well as lessen the tax burden created by supporting immigrants that arrive on England’s shores every year.

    Theresa May cometh

    On July 12 Theresa May was confirmed as Prime Minister of the UK and leader of the conservative party. As Home Secretary she was candid about her desire to curb immigration into the UK. May has regularly supported measures unpopular with non-UK citizens.

    Last year she earned the ire of many spouses of British citizens when she backed stricter financial requirements for the granting UK spouse visas.

    UK businesses uneasy with new provisions

    While these measures have been suggested to help fund domestic apprenticeships and skills education, they are causing some worry in expat communities in the UK. On top of this, UK employers may contest these provisions as they will make it less appealing and more costly for businesses to sponsor overseas employees.

    Apply for a Tier 2 visa now before these new regulations come into effect. If you’re unsure of what visa you should apply please send us an email or give 1st Contact Visas call on 0800 003 163 (in South Africa), 1800 039 300 (in Australia), 0808 141 1664 (in the United Kingdom).

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

    • Australia-look-see.png
      Everything you should do on your look-and-see visit to Australia
      Aug 12, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Porto cityscape
      10 reasons to move to Porto, Portugal
      Jul 29, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Oxford-street
      Everything you ever wanted to know about applying for a UK Tier 2 (General) visa
      Jul 18, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Australia skyline
      Landed a temporary job Down Under? Get an Australian working holiday visa
      Jul 08, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • sydney-australia
      Australian visa processing times: How long you’ll wait for approval
      Jun 27, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • British passport and citizenship approved
      British citizenship and indefinite leave to remain: Why you need to know the difference
      Jun 25, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • seven-corners-image
      The importance of purchasing travel insurance with a Tier 4 UK student visa
      Jun 13, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • kangaroos
      Two new Aussie visa routes for skilled migrants
      May 23, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Passport-stamp
      25% of UK spouse visa applications are refused every year – make sure yours isn’t one
      Apr 02, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Mother, daughter and grandmother
      Australia’s new five-year parent visa – another way to bring your parents Down Under
      Apr 01, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood

    South Africa

    Cape Town

    Regent Square
    Doncaster Road
    Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


    25 Richefond Circle
    Umhlanga 4320 +27 (0) 31 536 8843

    United Kingdom


    One Croydon
    12-16 Addiscombe Road
    Croydon CR0 0XT +44 (0) 20 7759 7514



    9 Yarra Street
    South Yarra
    VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

    We use cookies to provide the best website experience for you. Using this website means that you agree to this. How we use cookies.