UPCOMING CHANGE: New UK Immigration Skill Charge Implementation

UPCOMING CHANGE: New UK Immigration Skill Charge Implementation

New UK Immigration Skill Charge Implementation

The UK government’s new Immigration Skill Charge will begin implementation on April 6th 2017. Foreign workers who plan to work in the UK are encouraged to apply for a Tier 2 visa right before the government applies the new ruling.  Those with existing visas that are near expiration are also advised to apply for an extension.

What is the new Immigration Skills Charge?

This new fee, which is first planned by the government on 24 March 2016 and confirmed in February of this year, requires all locally based employers who plan to hire a foreign worker under the Tier 2 visa program to pay £1,000 per valid visa. Generally, the overall cost for this fee is £3,000 since a Tier 2 - General Visa is initially issued for typically 3 years. The fee is paid upfront, which means that the employer must pay a total amount covering the entire duration of the applicant’s visa; in other words, it is not payable annually.
It was, as admitted by the UK government, introduced to deter local employers from hiring foreign workers and prioritizing local workers instead. However, many companies said that the decision to acquire high-skilled workers is born out of necessity instead of preference. According to them, many UK workers don’t qualify for the posts they are looking for, forcing them to tap the services of employees abroad. No one knows if this new fee will completely stop UK employers from looking at the talent pool outside the country, but surely, if the need arises, they will choose to acquiesce to the new ruling instead of hiring an underqualified worker.

Who is exempt from the fee?

The new fee will not apply to PhD-level jobs and international students switching from student visas to work visas (from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa) or to workers applying via the Intra Company Transfer Graduate Trainee category). The government said the decision to excuse these particular groups are its way of protecting and retaining talented workers and students who are crucial in enhancing the country’s economic growth. Also, charitable organizations, including universities, will enjoy a reduced rate of £364 per Certificate of Sponsorship annually.
The United Kingdom has been blatant about heading towards the “British First” policy after the referendum last year. However, Prime Minister Theresa May said that the government would continue to practice fairness when it comes to dealing with immigrants, especially in the labour sector. It means that the undocumented ones will face deportation, which will be carried out with due process. As of today, the United Kingdom’s policy in welcoming foreign workers remains open as it has been since pre-referendum. 
Have more questions about the new Immigrations Skills Charge? Speak to our OISC-regulated UK Migration Consultant.
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Interested in living, working, studying or traveling to Australia, Canada, the UK or the US? Contact Migration Expert, a widely recognized immigration consulting company. Visit our website at www.migrationexpert.co.uk or phone for a consultation with a Registered UK Migration Consultant at more updates on UK Immigration by following us here. For more visa-related questions, speak to one of our OISC-registered UK migration consultants. 

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