6th Apr 2017

Immigration Skills Charge for Tier 2 Sponsors

The much-debated Immigration Skills Charge for UK Employers has now been implemented. As of the 6th April 2017, organisations that sponsor skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will have to pay an additional fee for each sponsored worker. The fee is £1,000 per worker per year for medium or large sponsors or £364 per worker per year for charitable or small sponsors. You will normally be considered a small sponsor if your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less or you have 50 employees or fewer.

The skills charge is payable for each Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) assigned on or after the 6th April 2017. It is payable via the online sponsor management system at the time of assigning the CoS. The immigration skills charge cannot be passed on to the worker.

The amount of charge payable depends on the size of the sponsoring organisation and the length of time that the CoS is assigned for. The exact fees are detailed in the table below:

Length of CoS

Small Sponsor Fee

  Medium or Large Sponsor Fee

12 months or less



12 – 18 months



18 - 24 months

      £728          £2000

24 – 30 months

      £910          £2500

30 – 36 months



36 – 42 months



42 – 48 months



48 – 54 months



54 – 60 months

      £1820          £5000

Exemptions: The obligation to pay the immigration skills charge will not apply in the following circumstances:

  • Where a CoS is assigned for roles in the following PhD level SOC Codes:

    • §  2111 (chemical scientists)

    • §  2112 (biological scientists and biochemists)

    • §  2113 (physical scientists)

    • §  2114 (social and humanities scientists)

    • §  2119 (natural and social science professionals not elsewhere


    • §  2150 (research and development managers)

    • §  2311 (higher education teaching professionals)

  • A CoS assigned under the category of Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer – Graduate Trainee)

  • A CoS assigned to a worker seeking entry clearance for a period of 6 months or less

  • A CoS assigned to a worker who has leave to enter or remain for the purpose of study (i.e. those switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa)

  • A CoS assigned for the purpose of extending a worker’s leave where the initial CoS was issued before the 6th April 2017


The skills charge is not applicable to any dependant family members of Tier 2 visa holders Refunds: A full refund will be paid in the following circumstances:

  • A worker is refused a visa

  • An application is withdrawn

  • The worker is granted the visa but does not travel to the UK or start work for the sponsor


A partial refund will be paid in the following circumstances:

  • When a worker’s visa is granted for less than the period requested on the CoS

  • The worker starts work, then voluntarily switches to another sponsor - the difference between the amount paid and the amount payable for the length of time the Tier 2 worker has worked for the original sponsor will be refunded

  • The worker leaves their post early – e.g. following redundancy, early dismissal,failure to complete probation period successfully or gain a mandatory professional qualification; or for other compassionate reasons e.g. returning home due to ill health

    Where a partial refund is granted, it will only be made in respect of whole unused 6-month periods of leave. If a worker leaves their post during the first year of employment, no refund will be made


The time taken for UKVI to make a decision on a refund is as follows:

  • Within 90 days of a sponsor submitting a report via the sponsor management system to notify UKVI that the worker did not come to the UK to start work

  • Within 90 days after the expiration date on the CoS; if no valid visa application has been made by the worker

  • If the worker is refused a visa, within 90 days after the deadline for submitting an administrative review, if no application for administrative review is made

  • If an application for an administrative review has been made, within 90 days of it being dismissed

    An immigration skills charge refund will automatically be paid to the debit or credit card that the charge was paid with.

    No refund will be made where a worker’s leave is curtailed due to a breach of the conditions of their leave.


Other Fees: The immigration skills charge is in addition to all other fees associated with sponsoring a skilled worker form outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). The current fees for sponsorship are as follows:

  • Applying for a sponsor license: £536 for small sponsors or £1,476 for medium or large sponsors

  • Assigning a CoS: £199
    The current fees associated with a Tier 2 visa application are as follows:

  • Visa application fee: £446 - £1,354 depending on duration of the CoS and type of role

  • Immigration Health Surcharge: £200 per year that the CoS is assigned for

  • Tuberculosis Test fee: Around £75. This fee will vary and is set by the approved


  • English Language Test fee: Around £220. This fee will vary and is set by the approved

    test centre**

  • Statements of comparability from UK NARIC: Around £125 + VAT**

    *Only those applying for a Tier 2 visa from certain countries will need to take a Tuberculosis Test.

    **Those who are not nationals of a majority English speaking country will either need to take an approved English language test or obtain statements of comparability from UK NARIC to prove that their academic qualification was taught in English and is at the appropriate level.