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New Immigration Skills Charge exemption for certain Senior or Specialist Workers

04 January 2023

From 1 January 2023, sponsors of EU national workers being transferred from an EU-based business to the UK for up to 36 months under the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker route are exempt from paying the Immigration Skills Charge.

Subject to limited exceptions, sponsors of skilled workers under the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker routes are required to pay an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) each time they assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a worker.

Where it applies, the ISC is £1,000 per worker for sponsorship of up to one year by a medium or large sponsor, then £500 per six months in excess of this. For small or charitable sponsors (as defined in Home Office guidance) it is £364 for sponsorship of up to one year, then £182 per six months in excess of this.

Due to new regulations in effect from 1 January 2023, sponsors of Global Business Mobility route Senior or Specialist Workers will be exempt from paying the Immigration Skills Charge if all the following apply:

  • The CoS is assigned on or after 1 January 2023;
  • The worker is a national of an EU country or a Latvian non-citizen (note that nationals of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are excluded);
  • The worker is being assigned to the sponsoring UK business by an EU-based business within the same sponsor group (the EU-based entity must have been disclosed to the Home Office as an entity linked by common ownership or control, in line with the sponsor guidance); and
  • The assignment is for no more than 36 months, as confirmed by the CoS start and end dates.

The Global Business Mobility routes caseworker guidance has also been updated to confirm that:

  • The sponsor must use an ISC-exempt CoS and provide details of the exemption, in this case:
  • That the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement exemption applies;
  • The location in the EU of the business assigning the worker to the UK; and
  • Where relevant, confirmation that the worker is a Latvian non-citizen passport holder, or is entitled to one.

The exemption is required under the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement relating to defined intra-corporate transfers between the EU and UK, therefore its scope does not cover the Skilled Worker category. It is possible that similar terms may be negotiated with other countries in the future as part of bilateral trade deals.

This change is belated, but will reduce the cost of sponsoring intra-company transferees on shorter-term assignments where there is no intention for the worker to settle in the UK.

The regulations also confirm that the ISC does not apply to sponsorship under the Scale-up route.

If you have any queries about these developments, please get in touch with a member of our Immigration Team.

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