In an ever-globalising world, hiring foreign talent has become a common practice for many UK businesses. However, bringing international professionals on board comes with its own set of regulations and charges, one of which is the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC). This blog post will demystify the ISC, explaining what it is, who it applies to, and how to pay it.
Understanding the Immigration Skills Charge
Introduced in April 2017, the Immigration Skills Charge is a levy imposed on UK employers that hire workers from outside the UK and Ireland (post Brexit). The charge is designed to encourage businesses to train UK workers and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign labour.
Who Needs to Pay the Immigration Skills Charge?
The ISC applies to employers hiring workers through many of the Points Based System (PBS) visa categories, such as the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility Visa – Senior or Specialist Worker. There are, however, certain exemptions to this charge, which we’ll explore in detail later in this guide.
Calculating and Paying the Immigration Skills Charge
The amount of ISC depends on the size of your business and the length of the visa. For small or charitable organizations, it’s £364 for the first 12 months and £182 for each additional 6 months. For larger organizations, it’s £1,000 and £500, respectively.
Typically, you would be classified as a small sponsor if you meet at least two of the following criteria:
- Your yearly revenue is not more than £10.2 million
- The total value of your assets is £5.1 million or under
- Your team comprises 50 or fewer staff members
The charge is paid online when assigning the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which forms part of the UK visa application process.
Exemptions from the Immigration Skills Charge
There are several exemptions to the ISC, including:
- Workers switching from a student visa to a Skilled Worker visa
- Those applying for a job on the shortage occupation list
- Researchers and scientists
- Those applying for Health and Care visa
While the Immigration Skills Charge may seem daunting at first, understanding the ins and outs can make the process more manageable. By staying informed about such regulations, you can make better decisions about your business’s international recruitment strategies.