How much do I have to spend as an employer on UK Skilled Worker work visa

Skilled Worker visa to the UK costs calculations are a challenging task. In particular for someone who is not an immigration lawyer. There are many factors to take into account when doing the calculations. In short, Skilled Worker visa can be complex for applicants applying on their own.

Please note the NHS Surcharge fees have gone up to £1,035 per year of visa for adults and £776 per year of visa for those under 18. This increase has taken effect from 6th February 2024. Our other article on the NHS Surcharge increase provides more details.

Please note that our article below reflects the increased fees. The new NHS surcharge fee has also been included in the below article.

Fees sponsor employer has to pay for sponsor licence and COS

Employer applying for a sponsor licence has to pay the application fee to the Home Office. The fee is £1,476 for a large organization or £536 for a small organization or a charity. If employer organisation would like to get a faster decision on the licence application there is an extra £500 fee to Home Office for expedited processing.

Assigning each Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) requires payment of a standard fee of £239 for each certificate and in addition in most cases also requires payment of the Immigration Skills Charge. The total cost to assign a 3-year COS certificate is £1,331 for a small sponsor and £3,239 for a large sponsor.

Skilled worker visa application fees

Skilled Worker visa application fees vary, and depending on the circumstances are between £284 to £1,500 per applicant. It is important to remember that each dependant family member also has to pay the same fees. In addition, there is also the NHS Health Surcharge to pay. For adults it is £1,035 per year of visa and for those under 18 it is £776 per year. We refer you to our other article about NHS fee increase on 16th January 2024.

What are the costs of Skilled worker visa for sponsor employer and migrants

The question about how much skilled worker visa costs is frequently asked. Sponsor employers and migrant overseas workers want to know what costs they will have to incur for the application before they proceed with obtaining the immigration permits.

Size/type of the employerSmall employer/charity organizationLarge employer
Sponsor licence application cost5361476
Certificate of sponsorship (COS)239239
Immigration skills charge (for COS)364 per year1000 per year
Visa application cost*from £284 to £1,500 depending on your circumstances from £284 to £1,500 depending on your circumstances
NHS Surcharge*1,035 per year1,035 per year
* may be paid by the employee or employer

To make the task of calculating the government fees for a Skilled Worker visa easier, we prepared a calculator. Prospective sponsor employers and applicants can use it.

Skilled worker visa fees online calculator

About the Skilled Worker visa fees calculator

Our calculator takes into account the different Skilled Worker visa types (e.g. Health and Care visa, Shortage Occupation). Also various other circumstances that can impact on the cost of the visa. For example when a Student is switching to a Skilled Worker the sponsor employer is exempt from the Immigration Skills Charge. The sums involved can vary significantly, depending on the Skilled Worker visa type. Other circumstances relating to the migrant worker or the sponsor employer also impact on the cost.

Immigration skills charge

The biggest fees are usually for the Immigrations Skills Charge (ISC) and the NHS Health Surcharge which is also called the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

ISC fees depend on the duration of CoS (Certificate of sponsorship), the migrant worker and the size of the sponsor employer’s organization. Sponsor organizations that qualify under the ‘small company regime’ in the Companies Act 2006 Companies Act 2006 ( , and charitable organizations Search the charity register – GOV.UK (, pay lower ISC fees of £364 per each year of Cos, and a lower application fee of £536 when applying for a sponsor licence. We provide more information and guidance on the Immigration Skills Charge here.

Large sponsors

By comparison, other sponsors (medium/large organizations) have to pay £1,000 per each year of Cos for ISC. They have to pay £1,476 for the initial sponsor licence application. Sponsor employers must pay the ISC fee at the time when they assign Cos certificate to a migrant worker.

Immigration skills charge table

The amount of the charge payable by a small or charitable sponsor is the amount specified in column 2 of the Table which corresponds to the period of prospective employment in respect of which the certificate of sponsorship is assigned specified in column 1.

The amount of the charge payable by a sponsor other than a small or charitable sponsor is the amount specified in column 3 of the Table which corresponds to the period of prospective employment in respect of which the certificate of sponsorship is assigned specified in column 1.

Certificate of Sponsorship durationSmall/charityOther
12 months or less£364£1000
More than 12 months, but no more than 18 months£546£1500
More than 18 months, but no more than 24 months£728£2000
More than 24 months, but no more than 30 months£910£2500
More than 30 months, but no more than 36 months£1092£3000
More than 36 months, but no more than 42 months£1274£3500
More than 42 months, but no more than 48 months£1456£4000

Skilled worker visa NHS Surcharge

NHS Surcharge (IHS) fee applies to all Skilled Worker visa applications, except the Health and Care visa. The Health and Care visa main applicants and dependants are exempt from the IHS fees. The current IHS fee rates for those who are subject to payment are as follows. A sum of £1,035 per each year of visa for adult applicants and £776 per each year of visa for applicants who are under the age of 18 at the time of application. The IHS fees are mandatory and must be paid upfront at the time the Skilled Worker visa application is submitted online.

Skilled worker costs for dependants (partner and children)

If skilled worker visa holder wants to bring his partner and/or children with him they need to apply separately.

They will need to show that they can support themselves while in the UK. That requires following funds:

£285 for your partner

£315 for one child

and £200 for each additional child

The costs for dependants in skilled worker visa application are the same as for the main applicant. The visa costs from £284 to £1,500 depending on your circumstances. The NHS Surcharge has also to be paid, at £1,035 per year for adult applicants and £776 per year for under 18 . Dependants visas are given the same length as the main applicant’s. The good news is that the partner of a skilled worker visa holder can work legally in the UK and his employer does not have to have a valid sponsor licence.

UK skilled worker visa cost fees

Recovering the costs of skilled worker visa – clawback clauses in employment contracts

Considering the costs of employing a skilled worker it is understandabe that employers want to recover the costs in case an employee leaves the job early. Clawback clause in the skilled worker employment contracts help in achieving that goal. They are, however, a complex matter. Use of an employment law specialist is a must. We discuss that topic in detail here.

In certain circumstances the NHS surcharge can also be recovered. That can happen mostly when visa was refused or was shorter than anticipated at the time of application.

There are other situations where an applicant can recover fees from the Home Office. We describe them here.