In an attempt to control net migration the government has proposed further changes to work related visas under the Point Based System (PBS), in particular, the Tier 2 visa category will be affected. The UK government have proposed an introduction of a mandatory Immigration Skills Charge for overseas migrant workers later this year.
What is the Immigration Skills Charge?
In March 2016 the UK government confirmed that it would be going ahead with implementing a new Immigration Skills Charge for employers who wish to recruit overseas specialist workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). At the moment, employers only need a valid Sponsor Licence to employ overseas workers and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to offer a non-EEA national worker a job in the UK.
The Immigration Skills Charge is set to come into force on 6 April 2017. Following this, employers will be required to pay a mandatory Immigration Skills Charge (£1000) for every overseas migrant employee they recruit to join their workforce in the UK. There is a reduced fee for small or charitable organisations; they are only required to pay £364 per employee. Numerous academics and immigration law practitioners have commented on the adverse impact on Tier 2 Sponsor’s from being levied with the Immigration Skills Charge and have considered it as an unjust charge in an attempt to deter and discourage employers from recruiting overseas migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), to cut down net migration figures in the UK.
The government has backed the new Immigration Skills Surcharge and has been supported by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) as the charge promotes and encourages employers to invest and train UK candidates for specialist job roles.
Exemptions to the Immigration Skills Charge
There are 4 exemptions to the Immigration Skills Charge. Employers will not be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge where the job is in relation to:
- A Tier 4 (General) student switching into a Tier 2 (General) Visa;
- A worker to do a specified PhD level occupation job;
- A Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainee; and
- A worker who has already been sponsored on a Tier 2 route before 6 April 2017 and is applying for an extension.
What does this mean for Tier 2 Employers
As a result of the Immigration Skills Charge, we have received a large influx of instructions on Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Visa applications. We recommend employers who wish to hire overseas migrant workers to discuss their immigration options with our solicitors as soon as possible. All applications (bar the 4 exemptions above), will be subject to an Immigration Skills Charge from 6 April 2017 and therefore, should take action now to avoid the new charges.
Using Legal Representation to Apply for a Sponsor Licence or Tier 2 Visa Application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Tier 2 Sponsor licence and Tier 2 visa applications. A Sponsor Licence application can be complicated at times as the Home Office have imposed specific requirements for Applicants to meet. Our expert immigration solicitors will provide you with a tailored service and are on hand to expedite the Sponsor Licence process. We ensure that we assist you to achieve and maintain an A-rated Sponsor status and provide ongoing compliance checks to ensure you are aware of your duties as a registered Sponsor.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Sponsor Licence & Tier 2 Visa Applications
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.