The surcharge applies to foreign workers classified under Tier 2 visa rules. Tier 2 regulations control the admittance of skilled migrant workers into the UK. In order to gain a Tier 2 work visa, applicants must already have a firm offer of employment from a company in possession of a Tier 2 sponsor licence.
Without a sponsor licence, UK firms are not allowed to employ foreign nationals.
The main change introduced to Tier 2 regulations in April was that firms looking to sponsor an overseas national from outside the EEA must now pay a £1,000 levy to do so. The levy is payable per successful application, i.e. for every migrant worker you employ, and covers a period of 12 months. It must be paid again for every subsequent six months you employ the same worker, at a rate of £500 per six months, up to a maximum of five years.
Known as the ‘immigration skills charge’, this new levy applies to every Tier 2 application to work in the UK for six months or more. It applies to intra-company transfers as well as to general applications, and must be paid up front as part of the application process. If you employ a worker for more than six months but less than a year, the full initial levy must still be paid. The money is refunded if the worker is either refused a visa, or they end up working for another company.
There are a number of exceptions to the terms of the new Tier 2 skills charge as follows:
In addition to the immigration skills charge being introduced, the revised Tier 2 rules also introduced the following changes: