As of 6 April 2017 onwards, employers will now be charged up to £1,000 per annum for each non-EEA worker that they sponsor. A reduced fee of £364 will apply to small companies and charities. You will be considered to be a small company if your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less and you have 50 employees or fewer.
The funds collected from this charge will be used by the Department for Education to address skills gaps in the UK work force, with the Government’s aim to ultimately encourage UK employers to source the skilled workers they need from the UK labour market.
The whole fee will be payable up front at the same time as assigning the certificate of sponsorship for the total period of time the sponsored worker intends to be in the UK. Although there are some exceptions.
The most common exceptions are likely to be: Tier 2 extension applications where the original certificate of sponsorship was issued before 6 April 2017, Tier 4 student visa holders switching in-country to Tier 2, or for occupations skilled to PhD level.
This unfortunately means an increase to the cost of UK employers bringing skilled labour into the UK from outside the EEA. Tier 2 (General) visas are usually issued for three years, so employers may be forced to pay £3,000 per application up front. It could be as much as £5,000 in total if the visa is extended for a further two years.
On another note, under current regulations any EEA national, will automatically qualify for permanent residence after engaging in qualifying activities in the UK for five continuous years. Permanent residency grants a person the right to reside in the UK, even when they are no longer participating in a qualifying activity. If a person intends to apply for British Citizenship they must first obtain, and hold for 12 months, a permanent residence card as proof of their permanent residence. This is now particularly relevant as there is a question mark over how the rights of EEA nationals will be affected by Brexit.
For further information regarding Tier 2 migrants, EEA nationals or any other immigration related queries please contact us.