Immigration Skills Charge under Skilled Worker visa

Section Menu

show hide

Immigration Skills Charge Introduction

The Immigration Skills Charge is one of a number of fees that need to be paid under the UK Skilled Worker visa system, an expensive and bureaucratic system.  To complete a Skilled Worker visa application, you need an employer with a sponsor licence, you need a certificate of sponsorship, and finally you need to make a visa application.

Assuming the UK employer already has a sponsor licence the following fees need to be paid:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship fee: £199
  • Immigration Skills charge.
  • Health Surcharge - Needs to be paid in most cases, but not for Health and Care visa applications. 
  • Skilled Worker visa fee

Refunds of Government Fees

If the UK Skilled Worker visa applicant does not enter the UK on the visa for any reason, then the immigration skills charge and health surcharge are refunded in full.  If the visa applicant leaves the job in the UK during the period of the visa, the immigration skills charge and health surcharge are refundable on a pro rata basis (six-month increments).  Unless the Skilled Worker visa application is withdrawn (only in limited circumstances), the UK visa fee is non-refundable.  


EU Citizens now need to come under the Skilled Worker visa scheme

As the UK has left the EU and the Brexit transition period ended after 31 December 2020, EU citizens who do not have some sort of residence in the UK already will most likely need to come under the Skilled Worker visa system. In most cases, the Immigration Skills Charge will also need to be paid.

How much do you have to pay for the Immigration Skills Charge?

  • Larger company charge: £1,000 per sponsored visa worker per year.
  • Smaller company and charity charge: £364 per sponsored visa worker per year.


How to come under the small company charge?

You either need to qualify as a charity or come under the small company requirements.  You meet the small company requirements if you meet two or more of the following requirements:

  • Turnover should not more than £10.2 million.
  • Balance sheet total not more than £5.1 million
  • Number of employees not more than 50


What are the exemptions to the Immigration Skills Charge?

  • Students switching to a Skilled Worker visa, including those switching both from the current student visa scheme and the previous Tier 4 visa scheme do not come under the Immigration Skills Charge.   
  • Intra-company Transfer Graduate Trainee visa workers
  • Skilled Worker visa migrants who come under 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)


Can the Skilled Worker visa applicant pay the Immigration Skills Charge?

The Government says that the Immigration Skills Charge should be paid by the employer to fund training in the UK for local workers.  Therefore, the Skilled Worker visa employee must not refund the amount for the Immigration Skills Charge to the employer.

Part of the reason for having the Immigration Skills Charge is to act as a disincentive for employers to employ migrant workers, as it significantly increases the overall cost of employing migrant workers.  For example, for a small employer the cost of paying the immigration skills charge for five years is £1,820 and for a larger employer £5,000.  Usually, the employee applies for indefinite leave to remain towards the end of five years in the UK.

Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over thirty years of experience in international visa services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work in conjunction with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK sponsor licence application and visa application to UK Visas and Immigration at the Home Office. 

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at