20 August

It looks as though the Government is going to introduce yet another cost for UK employers sponsoring Tier 2 migrants. One of the measures in the new Immigration Bill which is currently going through Parliament is the “Immigration Skills Surcharge”, which is an additional charge that will, in some circumstances, be levied on employers from April 2017.

The details have not yet been finalised, but the basic idea seems to be that where an employer is employing Tier 2 migrants they will charged £1,000 per Tier 2 migrant per year. However, there may be concessions and exemptions. Small organisations and charities may only have to pay £364, and certain categories of Tier 2 migrant may be exempt altogether: those in PhD-level occupations, those who have switched from Tier 4 to Tier 2, and those who hold Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visas.

The stated idea behind the scheme is to try and persuade UK employers to invest in more training for the indigenous workforce and decrease their reliance on non-EEA employees. But of course this is a rather blunt instrument; the problems with education and training may lie more with the education system than with employers, and many of the latter will likely regard the new charge as just another kind of tax.

However, it is entirely possible that this measure may serve to deter employers – and particularly smaller ones – from employing Tier 2 migrants, simply because they will not be able to afford it.

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