The UK is a really popular destination for skilled workers who are looking to improve and advance their careers. The opportunity for success is high, and there are a lot of things that you need to consider when you are trying to improve your quality of life by moving to the UK.
In recent times, the UK government has implemented a brand new policy that has replaced the Tier 2 visa with the Skilled Worker Visa. This is a new visa system that opens doors for foreign nationals looking to come to the UK with skills and qualifications, and it is essential to understand how this impacts companies, and whether or not they pay for the Skilled Worker Visa.
What is a UK Skilled Worker Visa?
The Skilled Worker Visa is the primary route for skilled workers looking to come to the UK in order to work. The visa works by being based on a points system that helps to determine eligibility. In order to be eligible for this visa, those applying must score at least 70 points, based on their skill level, the type of job offer they have, and their proficiency in English.
Who is Eligible for the UK Skilled Worker Visa?
The Skilled Worker Visa is open to foreign nationals who possess a job offer from a UK employer, who are skilled in their particular field or profession, and who are able to speak English to the required level. The job offer they have must come from a company or employer with a valid sponsorship licence.
It is important to have an understanding of the costs that are involved when it comes to the Skilled Worker Visa, and how this impacts employers and applicants alike. Firstly, it is worth noting that the fees can be paid online by debit or credit card, or even via third-party.
Do Companies Pay for Skilled Worker Visas?
Whether or not companies pay for Skilled Worker Visas is not a straightforward question. In most cases, the employer will be responsible for paying the Visa fees along with any other administrative costs that come with it; this includes the application fee, the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), and the Health Surcharge. However, in some cases the responsibility will fall to the applicant to pay the fees, or it may be a combination of both parties sharing the cost.
Skilled Worker Visa Costs
The costs involved in a Skilled Worker Visa tend to vary based on a number of different factors, such as your nationality, the length of your stay, and where you are applying from. Check out this cost breakdown associated with the Skilled Worker Visas:
Visa application fee:
- Outside the UK – The application fee ranges from £625 for up to three years, to £1,423 for over three years
- Inside the UK – The application fee ranges from £719 for up to three years, to £1,423 for over three years
Immigration Skills Charge:
- £1,000 per year for medium/large companies
- £364 per year for small/charitable companies
- Around £624 per year
- Reduced rates depending upon age
How to Pay for a Skilled Worker Visa
The different components of the visa must be paid online during the application process, and the visa cost for a company will vary depending on factors, such as the arrangement they have with the applicant, as well as the details of the application.
In some cases, it might be necessary for the company to request a refund for their Skilled Worker Visa fees. If, for example, the visa application is refused, the visa fee and immigration skills charge will be refunded, but the sponsor licence fee will not be.
If the applicant decides to withdraw their application or fails to attend their appointment, the Visa fee and immigration skills charge will not be refunded.
Sponsoring a Visa
Companies can sponsor a visa to the UK, and the type of fee will vary depending upon the type of sponsor licence you go for, as well as the type of person you’re going to be sponsoring. Here is a breakdown of some of the costs:
Worker sponsor licence
- £536 for small or charitable sponsors
- £1,476 for medium or large sponsors
- £536 for small or charitable sponsors
- £536 for medium or large sponsors
Add a worker licence to existing temporary worker licence
- No fee for small or charitable sponsors
- £940 for medium or large sponsors
Small Businesses and Charities Sponsor Licence
Small businesses and charities are eligible to apply for a sponsor licence under the condition that they meet all of the necessary requirements, which are:
- They are a UK registered business or charity
- They have genuine need for the overseas worker and their skill set
- They can provide evidence of this need
- They are able to meet the duties and requirements of the sponsorship licence, including keeping records and reporting changes
It is essential that charities and small businesses ensure they have the necessary resources and systems in place that will help to meet the duties of the licence before they actually apply.
Sponsoring a Person Who Changes Jobs
People change career paths all the time; it happens regularly. However, if you sponsor someone who is changing or has changed jobs, you will need to notify the UK Home Office. The new employer will need to apply for the sponsorship licence as well as a new sponsorship certificate. It is important to communicate with the Home Office as quickly and effectively as possible, and this is one of the best ways in which you are able to achieve this, and make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Difference Between Skilled Workers Visa and Tier 2 Visa
As we covered above, the Skilled Workers Visa was introduced in order to replace the Tier 2 Visa, but what are the differences between the two? Well, they share some similarities, but these are some of the key changes included:
- No Cap: This means that the previous cap applied to Tier 2 visas has been suspended, meaning that there is now no limit to the number of skilled workers who can come to the UK.
- No RLMT: Employers can no longer undertake a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT).
- Lower thresholds: The minimum skill threshold and the minimum salary have been lowered.
- No cooling-off period: Intra-company transferee can switch to the Skilled Worker Visa Route from within the UK.
The changes are not major, but they are enough that they have been able to open the door for more skilled foreigners to arrive in the UK on visas and for UK-based businesses to benefit from the skills and abilities that foreigners possess.
Here are some of the common questions people tend to have when it comes to dealing with Skilled Worker Visas in the UK:
How much does it cost to sponsor someone for a Skilled Worker visa?
The cost of sponsoring someone for a Skilled Worker Visa varies, depending on a number of factors, including the size of your business and the duration of the visa.
How to tell if you’re a small or charitable sponsor
To qualify as a small or charitable sponsor, you must meet certain criteria posed by the UK Home Office. A small or charitable sponsor is defined as a company that employs fewer than 50 people, and has an turnover of less than £10.2 million.
How long does it take to sponsor someone for a Skilled Worker visa?
This, of course, varies, so you need to consider when you are looking to sponsor someone for a Skilled Worker Visa, but generally this process takes 4-12 weeks to obtain a sponsorship licence, and up to 3 weeks to issue a sponsorship certificate.