The Immigration Skills Charge


The Home Office introduced the notion of an immigration skills surcharge so as to try and reduce the amount of employment migration from outside of the EU. The skills surcharge (currently set at £1,000 per year) would be funneled into training programs for British workers so as to eradicate those skill gaps. The only problem is that it may completely alter the UK's position in the financial services industry, the realm of higher education and medicine (to name but a few areas). Will the Government have the foresight to recognize this potential problem - particularly in light of the cost to universities, hospitals and schools? 

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It addresses the issue of the introduction of a skills charge in the context of a review of the entire tier 2 visas category. It recommends raising the minimum salary thresholds, limiting the period in which skills shortages can be declared for any particular sector, and introducing a charge at a level it suggests should be between £500 and £2,000 per year—I emphasise “per year”. The Government intend this to be a perpetual charge, and they have chosen £1,000 for every year that someone from outside the EEA is employed by a British company, university, school or hospital. One university has estimated that this will cost it £800,000 a year; others suggest higher figures, particularly for universities with global reputations in science and engineering.