April 2017 has seen a change to UK immigration rules including the Immigration Skills Charge. The changes have meant that from April 6th 2017 it will cost companies a significant amount more to sponsor migrant workers who work under the Tier 2 system.
Not only is the cost increasing but also the amount of administration required has also increased dramatically, making it a less desirable route for employers to take.
There are five key changes to be aware of:
Immigration skills charge
The new immigration skills charge for Tier 2 employees is £364 for small and charitable employers. However, for larger companies who employ over 50 people, or have a turnover of more than £10.2 million, this charge dramatically increases to £1000 per non EEA worker. This is not a one off payment and is required for every year of the employees Visa.
Minimum Salary increase
Before April, the minimum salary threshold for a Tier 2 employee was £25,000. This has now increased to £30,000 per year.
Previously when employers were hiring a Tier 2 employer they would be obliged to advertise the position for at least 28 days in the UK, to comply with Home Office Laws. The only exemption would be for positions where the annual salary was £155,300. This threshold has now increased to be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test positions and employers now need to offer a salary of at least £159,600.
The minimum threshold for an overseas worker to join the UK division of their company has now increased to £41,500 per annum. This new figure is an increase of £11,500 and could have a detrimental impact on some larger organisations that currently transfer large numbers of employees for short-term placements. This new minimum threshold also comes with limitations. Accommodation allowances can now only form 30% of the total package as opposed to the previous 40%.
ICT Migrants are no longer exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge, and now both the applicant and any dependents will be charged £200 per year to cover the fee.
There may be more charges to follow in the future, as the Government has admitted that these changes to the law have been implemented to deter UK employers from hiring abroad.