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What is the UK Immigration Skills Charge and who needs to pay?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

The Immigration Skills Charge (“ISC”) was first introduced on 6 April 2017 to reduce employers’ reliance on migrant labour and to encourage businesses into “training and upskilling the existing workforce in the UK” instead.

When is the ISC payable?

An employer must pay the ISC when assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (“CoS”) to sponsor a Skilled Worker or Intra Company Transferee.

How much the company must pay is dependent on whether you are considered to be a small/charitable or medium/large company (this is defined in the Companies Act 2006):

Length of employment

Small or charitable sponsors

Medium or large sponsors

First 12 months



Each additional 6 months after the first year



Who does not need to pay the ISC?

The ISC will not be payable in the following scenarios:What is the UK Immigration Skills Charge and who needs to pay?

  1. If the employee will be a scientist, clergy, sports player or sports coach/instructor/official;
  2. If the employee will be granted a visa in the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route;
  3. If the employee is being assigned a new CoS with an end date of employment which does not extend the end date of the previous CoS;
  4. Students switching to the Skilled Worker visa;
  5. If the employee was in the UK prior to 6 April 2017 and is extending their visa; or
  6. If the employee will be employed for 6 months or less.

What if the incorrect fee is paid?

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will contact the employer and allow the employer up to 10 working days to pay the correct fee. If you are in doubt whether a prospective migrant’s role is ISC liable or ISC exempt, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Gherson has over 30 years’ experience in UK Visas and Immigration, in particular Corporate Immigration, and acts for a large number of corporate clients and individuals with respect to the Skilled Worker or Intra Company Transfer visa categories.

Should you have any questions or queries relating to sponsor licences or the various visa categories, please do not hesitate to contact usalternatively, follow us on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook to stay up-to-date.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2021


Toska Fernandez 

  Toska Fernandez

  Trainee Solicitor


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