Immigration Skills Charge. What is it, who pays it and when a refund is due
Under the points-based immigration system, to get your Skilled Worker Visa, you must be awarded 70 points in total, 20 of which mandatory points for sponsorship. One of the requirements which must be met for you to be awarded the points for sponsorship is your sponsor to have been paid in full any required Immigration Skills Charge.
The Immigration Skills Charge is therefore not paid by you, but by the sponsor, who must pay it in full in one go. The charge is linked to the assignment of the Certificate of Sponsorship, not to your application for entry clearance or permission to stay.
The amount the sponsor needs to pay is based on the size of the organisation, and on how long you will work for your sponsor (the length of the employment is determined using the work start and end dates on the Certificate of Sponsorship).
Medium or large sponsors must pay an Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 for the first 12 months of your employment, and £500 for each additional 6 months.
Small companies (those with an annual turnover of not more than £10.2 million, and a balance sheet total of not more than £5.1 million, or with not more than 50 employees) are eligible to pay a reduced rate of the Immigration Skills Charge. This is £364 for the first 12 months of your employment, and £182 for each additional 6 months.
If you will be in the UK for longer than 6 months, but less than a year, your sponsor must pay for at least 12 months. As the longest period you can be sponsored as a Skilled Worker is 5 years, the most your sponsor must pay for the Immigration Skills Charge is £5,000 (or £1,820 if the sposor is a small company or a charitable organisation).
The below table shows you the right amount of Immigration Skills Charge that must be paid by your sponsor:
If your sponsor does not pay the Immigration Skills Charge or does not pay the right amount, the Certificate of Sponsorship assigned to you will not be valid.
If your application is refused or withdrawn, the sponsor will receive a full refund of the Immigration Skills Charge paid.
If your application is successful, but you decide not to come to work for your sponsor, the sponsor will receive a full refund of the Immigration Skills Charge paid.
Your sponsor will qualify for a partial refund if you get less time on your visa than you have been sponsored for, if you start working for your sponsor but then change to another sponsor, or if you leave your job before the end date on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
If you want to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa and need my specialist advice, feel free to contact me. Please note that I am an accredited immigration adviser, not an employee of the UK Visas and Immigration. I charge fees for the advice provided.