Immigration Health Surcharge set to rise in December 2018
A plan was put forward to Parliament earlier this month to raise the Immigration Surcharge on 18th December 2018.
Individuals who hold a UK visa for more than six months but not settlement, will be required to pay £400 per year which is an increase of 100%. Students and Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Workers who previously paid £150 will be required to pay £300 per year.
The Immigration Health Surcharge allows anyone in the UK on a work, study or family visa for longer than six months to access NHS services in the same way as UK citizens despite the majority of working visa nationals paying their taxes and therefore already contributing to the NHS.
What does this mean to businesses sponsoring individuals under Tier 2?
Companies are already suffering from paying exorbitant fees to the Home Office in favour of getting the right skilled workforce in place to grow. As well as the Surcharge hike they are also required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge which is a levy introduced in April 2017 designed to penalise firms for employing overseas nationals under the Tier 2 Skilled Worker route. These increasing charges will place huge pressure on Small to Medium Enterprises, which are the economic life blood of the UK, especially in the wake of Brexit which further exasperates the UK economy.
What is the future of the Tier 2 Sponsorship route?
A number of changes to the Points Based System under the Tier 2 category rules have been proposed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) who advise UK Government on migration policy, particularly in the Tier 2 Worker Category; to remove the cap on the Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship limit of 20,800 and to additionally abolish the Resident Labour Market Test, both of which have been a hindrance on the application process for Tier 2 Employer Sponsor Licence holders. These changes will open up the Tier 2 route to make it easier for employers to hire from outside the UK Labour Market; however, this may be at a higher cost. Please note these changes have yet to be legally formalised.
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