UNITED KINGDOM: Immigration Skills Charge Exemptions

January 13, 2023

Previously we discussed the new Immigration Skills Charge (“ISC”) exemption that would be available from January 2023 for employers sponsoring senior managers or specialist employees under the Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist (former Intra-Company Transfer) route. The new exemption applies to EU nationals based in an EU overseas office who are covered by a commitment in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.


The new exemption explained

The new exemption came into force on 01 January 2023 and the Immigration Skills Charge (Amendment) Regulations 2022 confirms that sponsors of the Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist route will be exempt from paying the ISC if all of the following apply:

  • The Certificate of Sponsorship (“CoS”) was assigned on or after 1 January 2023;
  • The worker is a national of an EU country (this does not include Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway) or is a Latvian non-citizen;
  • The worker has been assigned to the UK by a business established in the EU and which forms part of the same sponsor group; and
  • The end date of the assignment stated on the CoS is no more than 36 months after the start date.


Recap on ISC

The ISC is a charge payable by employers to the Home Office when sponsoring the majority of workers under both the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker routes.

The amount of charge is calculated based on the size of the sponsoring organisation and the length of employment given on the certificate of sponsorship.

A large company sponsor must pay an ISC charge of £1,000 per year per worker, while small and charitable companies must pay £364 per year per worker. A sponsor is eligible to pay the small or charitable sponsor ISC charge if it has charitable status or is subject to the small companies’ regime as set out in the Companies Act of 2006 or is a person who employs no more than 50 employees.


Cost reduction for employers

Businesses can now take advantage of the new exemption to save on ISC and reduce the overall costs when sponsoring group senior managers or specialist employees to come to or stay in the UK to undertake temporary work assignments with a UK business that is linked to their employer overseas.

Organisations and individuals impacted by this development are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please contact us.