What is the Immigration Skills Charge?

The Immigration Skills Charge is the fee employers are required to pay when hiring an employee from outside the UK, including citizens from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020.

The skills charge was introduced in 2017 in a bid to encourage UK businesses to train British citizens to fill skilled roles and reduce the UK’s reliance on migrant labour. The funds from the skill charge are directed to the Department of Education to support investment in the development of skills and training.

Who pays the Immigration Skills Charge?

The skills charge must be paid by the employer and the fee cannot be passed on to the employee. Doing so may result in the revocation of your sponsor licence.

You will pay the charge each time you sponsor a migrant worker. The fee is paid when you assign the employee’s Certificate of Sponsorship

Immigration Skills Charge exemptions

You won’t need to pay the skills charge if you are sponsoring someone:

  • On an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
  • Who is on a study visa and is switching to a Skilled Worker or Intra-company Transfer visa

You won’t have to pay if the person has one of the following occupations:

  • Chemical scientist
  • Biological scientist or biochemist
  • Physical scientist
  • Social and humanities scientist
  • Natural and social science professional not elsewhere classified
  • Research and development manager
  • Higher education teaching professional
  • Clergy
  • Sports player
  • Sports coach, instructor or official

Talk to our business immigration experts.

Immigration Skills Charge costs

The amount you need to pay is dependent on two things:

  1. The size of your organisation
  2. How long the worker will work for you

The Immigration Skills Charge 2021 fee is as follows:

PeriodSmall or charitable sponsorsMedium or large sponsors
First 12 months£364£1,000
Each additional six months£182£500

If you’re employing someone for longer than six months but less than a year, you will need to pay for 12 months.

The fee must be paid in a single payment.

Immigration Skills Charge refunds

You may apply for a refund if your employee’s visa application is refused or withdrawn, or successful but they do not ultimately come to work for you.

You may apply for a partial refund if the worker:

  • Receives less time on their visa than you sponsored them for
  • Starts working for you but then changes to another sponsor
  • Leaves their job before the end date on their Certificate of Sponsorship

Talk to our business immigration experts.

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Authorised to practise immigration law by the OISC under Registration No F200100004.