You might have to pay an additional charge when you assign a certificate of sponsorship to someone applying for a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa. This is called the ‘immigration skills charge’.
You must pay the immigration skills charge if they’re applying for a visa from:
- outside the UK to work in the UK for 6 months or more
- inside the UK for any length of time
When you do not need to pay
You will not have to pay the charge if you’re sponsoring someone with one of the following occupation codes:
- chemical scientists (2111)
- biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
- physical scientists (2113)
- social and humanities scientists (2114)
- natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified (2119)
- research and development managers (2150)
- higher education teaching professionals (2311)
- clergy (2444)
- sports players (3441)
- sports coaches, instructors or officials (3442)
You also might not have to pay the charge if you’re sponsoring a worker who was assigned a certificate before 6 April 2017. You will not need to pay the charge for any of the worker’s dependents, for example their partner or child.
You will not have to pay the charge if a student in the UK switch to either a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa and then extend their stay on the new visa.
How to pay
You pay the immigration skills charge when you assign a certificate of sponsorship to the worker.
How much it costs
The amount you need to pay is based on:
- the size of your organization
- how long the worker will work for you, using the start and end dates on their sponsorship certificate
|Period||Small or charitable sponsors||Medium or large sponsors|
|First 12 months||£364||£1,000|
|Each additional 6 months||£182||£500|
How to tell if you’re a small or charitable sponsor
You’re usually a small sponsor if at least 2 of the following apply:
- your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
- your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less
- you have 50 employees or fewer
You’re a charitable sponsor if you’re:
- a registered charity in England or Wales
- a registered charity in Scotland
- a registered charity in Northern Ireland – if you’re not on the register, you must provide proof of your charitable status for tax purposes from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- an excepted charity
- an exempt charity
- an ecclesiastical corporation established for charitable purposes
How much to pay based on how long the worker will work for you
If the worker will be in the UK for longer than 6 months but less than a year, you must pay for at least 12 months.
You must pay the full charge in one go.
The longest you can sponsor a worker for is 5 years, so the most you’ll have to pay is:
- £1,820 (5 x £364) if you’re a small or charitable sponsor
- £5,000 (5 x £1,000) if you’re a medium or large sponsor
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will contact you if you do not pay the charge or pay the wrong amount. You’ll have 10 working days to pay the charge – the worker’s visa application will be refused if you do not.
You’ll get a full refund if the worker’s visa application is:
- refused or withdrawn
- successful, but they do not come to work for you
You’ll get a partial refund if the worker:
- gets less time on their visa than you sponsored them for
- starts working for you but then changes to another sponsor
- leaves their job before the end date on their certificate of sponsorship
You’ll also get a partial refund if you paid the medium or large sponsor fee when assigning the certificate, but had already notified UKVI that you’re now a small or charitable sponsor.
How long it takes
You usually get a refund within 90 days of:
- telling UKVI that the worker did not come to work for you
- the expiration date on the worker’s certificate of sponsorship, if they did not use it to apply for a visa
- the date the worker’s visa application is refused or withdrawn
- the date you assigned the certificate of sponsorship, if you had already notified UKVI that you became a small or charitable sponsor
If they do not ask for an administrative review, you’ll get a refund within 90 days of the deadline for applying for one.
You’ll get a refund within 90 days of the administrative review being dismissed if the worker applied for one and were unsuccessful.