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Pay less for your Skilled Worker visa

Those who employ migrant workers on Skilled Worker work visas in the UK quite often say that it is rather expensive to employ foreign workers. The Home Office fees for obtaining a sponsor licence, for Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for each worker, Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) and NHS Surcharge, can add thousands of pounds to the cost of employing foreign workers. All those costs are on top of a salary that has to be paid to the migrant worker. To get an idea of the cost of employing someone on a skilled worker visa you may use our fee calculator.

How to save on government fees and pay less

It is no surprise that many employers are looking for ways to limit their expenses relating to Skilled Worker visas. Fortunately, there are steps that sponsor employers can take to minimise spending when employing foreign workers.

how to save on UK Skilled Worker visa government fees

Minimum salary

One of the barriers to employing foreign workers on Skilled worker visas in the UK is the minimum salary requirement. All Skilled Worker migrants have to be paid minimum salary determined by the Home Office, for which the starting point is GBP 26,200 gross per annum. However, It does not always mean that employers must pay this exact salary, as depending on the case they may need to pay more but also may pay less. The required salary level depends on the type of job a migrant worker will be doing in the UK and some other factors relating to the individual migrant worker.

The standard minimum salary for a skilled worker visa is GBP 26,200 gross per year, but it can be more if the minimum salary for a particular soc code is higher. We provide more information about the various salary options depending on the circumstances of your case on this page. When you read the information on our other page, you would note that there are situations when an employer can pay lower salaries than GBP 26,200. This is the case when, for example, the job is on shortage occupation list when you have to pay 80% of the soc code rate but no less than GBP 20,960.

The salary threshold is also lower for so called “new entrant” workers who need to be paid a minimum of 20,960 GBP per year or 70 % of the soc code miimum, whichever is higher.

Soc code is a system of jobs classification used by the Home Office in the Skilled Worker visa scheme and the list of eligible soc codes can be accessed here.

The government fees

Sposor employers have to pay significant amounts of money in government fees for the privilege of hiring a foreign worker.

First, a sponsor employer has to apply for a sponsor licence. The Home Office fee for the sponsor licence application is 536 GBP if an employer is a small organization or a charity, or GBP 1476 for other organizations.

Once an employer is granted the sponsor licence, there is GBP 199 fee for assigning Certificate of Sponsorship, separate for each Skilled Worker employee.

Another cost that employer has to incur at the time of assigning a COS certificate is the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC). The amount to be paid depends again on whether the employer is classified as a small organization or a charity or not.  Small organizations and charities have to pay 364 GBP per each year of COS for the ISC. For large organizations that fee goes up to 1000 GBP per each year of COS.

Then there is the Immigration health surcharge (NHS Surcharge), to be paid for each year of visa for the Skilled Worker. Standard payment is 624 GBP per year of visa. Finally there is visa application fee which currently is GBP 625 for 3-year Skilled Worker visa when application is submitted from outside the UK.

How to pay less in government fees

Health and care visa is one of the cheaper options for employers using foreign workers on skilled worker visa. Health and care visa has reduced fees and shorter processing times.

However, even if your organization is not in the care sector, there are ways to bring the costs down. One of them is to employ workers who are already in the UK on student visa and are switching to Skilled Worker visa. When employing such workers sponsor employers are exempt from the Immigration Skills Charge, saving thousands of pounds.

How much can be saved in fees

How much employer can save depends on the size of your organization, the sector in which your organization operates and the characteristics of the individual migrant workers that you choose for the skilled jobs, but the savings on a standard Skilled Worker visa can be huge. The difference can be in the region of 9000 GBP for a large organization. That is why it is crucial to analyse the various options and scenarios in advance. Experienced immigration adviser can assist with this and save your organization significant amounts of money.

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