Business

Businesses face £1,000 annual charge per non-EU skilled worker

Border control at Heathrow Airport Image copyright Reuters

Businesses will have to pay an annual charge of £1,000 for every skilled worker brought in from outside Europe.

The Home Office move, to be brought in by next April, follows a recommendation by the Migration Advisory Committee.

It is one of a number of reforms to Tier 2 - the official name for the main migration route for skilled workers coming to the UK from outside Europe.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned the charge could hold businesses back from accessing talent.

'Reduce reliance'

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said the committee, an independent public body which advises it on migration issues, strongly supported the charge to "incentivise employers to reduce their reliance on migrant workers and to invest in training and upskilling UK workers".

He added: "For too long we have had a shortage of workers in certain roles, and in the past it has been too easy for employers to recruit overseas."

Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills policy, said: "Skilled migration is good for the UK, helping to fill skills gaps and supporting firms to trade globally.

"Businesses want to see the Tier 2 cap raised not further visa price increases, especially a skills charge, which will only hold them back from accessing the talent they need to grow."

Exemptions

The charge will be levied on Tier 2 employers at a rate of £1,000 per certificate of sponsorship per year, although a reduced rate of £364 will apply to "small and charitable" sponsors.

There will also be exemptions such as those in PhD-level occupations or switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 2 visa.

Under the new model the Tier 2 minimum salary will be raised to £30,000 for "experienced" workers.

Currently, those wanting to work in the UK must be offered a starting salary of £20,800 and this will remain the same, as will the annual limit for Tier 2 places of 20,700 a year.

In 2014, 151,000 skilled workers and their dependants arrived in the UK or were allowed to stay on.

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