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.
Important for visa applicants: On 13th July 2023 UK Prime Minister announced significant increase to UK visa application fees and NHS Surcharge fees. It is not yet known when the new fees will come into effect but we expect it to be soon. Part of the increases has been revealed. They will be in force from 4th October 2023, excluding NHS surcharge changes to which will be announced later. More about the new fees in our article there.
Please note that our article below reflects the increased fees. The new NHS surcharge fee is not included in the below article because the exact date of the increase has not yet been announced. However, if you plan to submit application you should aim at speeding up the process to avoid increased NHS fees. The new NHS fee will be £1,035 per year of visa for adult applicants and £776 per year of visa for child applicants under 18.
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 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 £624 per year of visa and for those under 18 it is £470 per year.
Please note: According to Home Office press release in mid September 2023, the NHS Surcharge is due to increase sometime this autumn to £1,035 per year of visa for adult applicants and to £776 per year of visa for children under 18. The exact date when the NHS Surcharge increase will start to apply has not yet been confirmed by Home Office.
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 employer||Small employer/charity organization||Large employer|
|Sponsor licence application cost||536||1476|
|Certificate of sponsorship (COS)||239||239|
|Immigration skills charge (for COS)||364 per year||1000 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*||624 per year||624 per year|
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 (legislation.gov.uk) , and charitable organizations Search the charity register – GOV.UK (www.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.
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 duration||Small/charity||Other|
|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 £624 per each year of visa for adult applicants and £470 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 £624 per year (£470 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.
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.