Home Office Introduces Immigration Skill Charge

The latest guidance on the Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker) visa (which replaced the old Intra Company Transfer (ISC) visa) published on 1st January 2023 now exempts employers from paying the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) in certain circumstances. The ISC exemption will help to reduce the cost to UK companies who transfer staff here from branches or subsidiaries in other countries.

What is the Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker) visa?

The Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker) visa enables staff from an overseas business to transfer to and work for a branch or subsidiary of the same company in the UK. Applicants under this route must be an existing employee of an existing sponsor, hold a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from their employer, have an eligible job, and receive a salary of at least £42,400 per year.

What is the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC)?

Some UK employers who sponsor overseas workers are required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge when they assign a certificate of sponsorship to candidates with a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa. The ISC is paid when hiring a worker from outside the UK for 6 months or more or if they are inside the UK for any length of time. The amount paid is normally £364 for the first year for small or charitable sponsors or £1,000 for medium or large sponsors.

New ISC Exemption for Senior or Specialist Workers

As of the 1st January 2023, the Home Office has removed the need for employers to pay the Immigration Skills Charge for some workers transferred under the Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker) route if the transfer is part of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The new guidance states that employers will not pay the ISC if all of the following apply:

• The transfer is under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement
• The worker was assigned a certificate of sponsorship on or after 1st January 2023
• The worker is a national of an EU country or holds a Latvian non-citizen’s passport
• The worker normally works in the EU for an EU business but has been temporarily transferred to work in the UK, and
• The end date of the worker’s transfer is no more than 36 months after the start date

Sponsors who are exempt from paying the ISC where all of the above criteria apply are required to use an ISC-exempt Certificate of Sponsorship and provide details of why the exemption applies.

Final words

The Immigration Skills Charge exemption for Senior or Specialist Workers will come as welcome news to many UK businesses that are reliant on the transfer of skilled staff from a branch or subsidiary within the EU. Reducing the cost by between £364 and £1,000 per worker just for the first year of sponsorship will help to make inter-company transfers to the UK more financially viable.

Garth Coates is a leading niche immigration firm based in the heart of London, specialising in all forms of personal and business immigration, including visas, global mobility, sponsorship and compliance, settlement, and citizenship. To discuss your Global Business Mobility visa requirements, please contact one of our friendly and approachable business immigration Solicitors on Tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or by completing our online contact form.

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