How Much Does a Sponsor Licence Cost in 2022? banner


How Much Does a Sponsor Licence Cost in 2022?

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When it comes down to it, however frustrating it is for UK employers to experience staff shortages, the reality is that UK business owners need to know from their immigration solicitors how much a sponsor licence costs in 2022. That way they can make a financial decision on whether it’s best for them to become sponsor licence holders to enable them to employ skilled migrant workers on skilled worker visas or to continue to face skill shortages that halt their expansion plans or even lead to reduced turnover.

UK Online and London Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers 

For advice on applying for a sponsor licence or recruiting employees on skilled worker visas call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

The price of global mobility

Business immigration lawyers know that everything has a price. That is certainly true of a sponsor licence application. However, to check the true cost of sponsoring employees on skilled worker visas or intra company transfer visas, a UK employer also needs to look at the cost of managing their sponsor licence and the associated visa specific overheads that come with recruiting each skilled worker visa holder or intra company transfer visa worker.

The accounting exercise should not end there as the cost of a 2022 sponsor licence is only half the story. The accountant or financial team in a UK business, whether it is a start-up or well-established company, should go onto assess the costs of recruiting and training workers from within the UK. The cost of specialist training or college day releases doesn’t come cheap. Add to that, the question is whether your company can wait for UK based workers to gain the skills and whether the business can afford to stagnate or let competitors grow because they have invested in a sponsor licence.

Home Office fees for sponsoring employees  

There are some sponsor licence fees that you can predict with a degree of certainty, provided the Home Office doesn’t change its sponsor licence fee application structure.

Once your business has secured its first sponsor licence you will have to apply to renew the sponsor licence every four years so these costs can be factored in as four years of overhead, although they must be paid upfront at the time of your sponsor licence application or sponsor licence renewal.

In addition to the sponsor licence application fee there are additional fees, some of which an employer can choose to pass on to the employee. However, if your recruiting budget is forecasted on prospective employees paying some of the immigration fees, you may not attract the best job applicants if your competitors are offering to pay these immigration fees as part of the job package and onboarding.

Home Office sponsor licence application fees

The first sponsor licence cost to factor in is the initial sponsor licence application fee. The fee is payable every four years and the same fee is payable whether you are applying for your first sponsor licence or making a renewal application.

The sponsor licence application fee depends on the size of your business or if your organisation has charitable status. The sponsor licence application fee for a business classed as a small sponsor is £536. The fee rises to £1,476 if your business falls within the definition of a large sponsor.

For these sponsor licence fees you get the Home Office standard service when it comes to the processing of your sponsor licence application and its management. You can pay the Home Office additional fees to get an enhanced level of service. Better service comes at a price, namely £8,000 per year for small sponsors and £25,000 per year for large sponsors. For that you can access a dedicated sponsor licence account manager at the Home Office and get other premium sponsor scheme advantages.

Sponsorship Licence lawyers say if you are thinking in investing in the Home Office premium service it is worth talking to your immigration solicitors about them managing your sponsor licence for you using their sponsor licence management service and checking their average application turnaround times. This may be a more economical way of efficiently applying for and managing your sponsor licence.

As an alternate to the premium service offered by the Home Office, sponsor licence holders can elect to pay for the Home Office priority service to process sponsor licence applications or visa applications. This again comes at a price. Sponsorship Licence lawyers can advise on the availability and advantages of using a priority service where there are urgent deadlines to securing a sponsor licence application and recruiting.

Although the sponsor licence application fee is a one-off fee payable to the Home Office every four years there is also a Home Office fee to pay each time your business wants to sponsor a worker on either the skilled worker visa or intra company transfer visa. This is the certificate of sponsorship assignment fee of £199 for each certificate assigned to a visa applicant. If the visa applicant is unsuccessful in securing their visa the Home Office will refund the certificate of sponsorship fee to the sponsor licence holder.

The immigration skills charge  

The immigration skills charge is a Home Office fee payable by the sponsor licence holder. It can't be passed onto the visa applicant to pay and the sponsoring employer can't deduct the immigration skills charge from the employee’s salary.

The immigration skills charge is payable by a sponsoring employer where a visa applicant is being sponsored to work in the UK for six months or more. When a certificate of sponsorship is assigned to a job applicant requiring a work visa the sponsoring business will need to pay the certificate of sponsorship fee and the immigration skills charge unless the job falls within one of the permitted exemptions to the immigration skills charge.

The level of the immigration skills charge isn’t based on job description or salary on offer to the visa applicant. Instead, it’s based on the size of the business operated by the sponsor licence holder and the length of the prospective employee’s visa. If the visa application is rejected the Home Office will refund the amount paid by the business in immigration skills charge fees.

The immigration skills charge fee for sponsor licence holders with small company or charitable status is £364 for the first year of the visa holder’s employment with the sponsoring employer. An additional £182 is payable for each six-month period. If a company is classed as medium or large, they are required to pay £1,000 for the first year of sponsorship and £500 for each additional six-month period of employment. The full immigration skills charge is payable at the time of assignment of certificate of sponsorship – the fee is based on the length of the visa application and the fees can't be paid monthly or annually to budget for costs.

Some skilled worker visa and intra company transfer visa job applicants will fall within one of the exemptions so their sponsoring employer won't have to pay the immigration skills charge. Exemptions include someone applying for an intra company transfer graduate trainee visa, a job applicant who is already on a student visa, or a job applicant who has been allocated one of a specific number of job standard occupation codes in their certificate of sponsorship. For example, chemical scientists (2111), biological scientists and biochemists (2112) or physical scientists (2113).

The Immigration Health Surcharge

The immigration health surcharge is a fee payable by the visa applicant unless they fall within an exemption. However, some UK employers will pay the immigration health surcharge as an incentive to job applicants and because their competitors offer to pay these fees on behalf of work visa applicants.

The immigration health surcharge is payable even where a sponsoring employer is offering private health care, including access to a private GP service. An employer therefore can't contract out of the immigration health surcharge on behalf of themselves or their employees by paying for private health insurance or offering in-house medical cover.

The immigration health surcharge is £624 per year for most job applicants. If a job applicant is bringing family members to the UK with them on dependant visas the surcharge is reduced to £470 per year anyone under the age of eighteen. There are some exemptions to payment of the immigration health surcharge. The most notable is that health and care worker visa applicants and their dependants don’t have to pay the surcharge.

Work visa application fees

Work visa application fees are payable by the visa applicant but some sponsoring employers will elect to pay or reimburse the fees as part of their recruitment drive. The visa application fee depends on the nature of the work visa and its length. For example, a skilled worker visa issued for three years or less currently costs £610. The figure rises to £1,220 if the skilled worker visa is issued for over three years. However, if the job is on the shortage occupation list, the visa fee is reduced to £464 or £928, depending on the length of the skilled worker visa. The visa application fees can mount up if the job applicant is bringing several dependants on dependant visas with them to the UK.

The price of a sponsor licence in 2022

When business immigration solicitors talk to UK employers about the price of a sponsor licence in 2022 most business owners are accepting that they have little choice but to pay the Home Office sponsor licence fees because of the UK skills shortage and the realities of job recruitment in the UK. Sponsorship Licence lawyers can help you make sure that your business is paying the right sponsor licence fees, passing on fees to employees (where appropriate) and can support you in getting the best out of your sponsor licence.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers 

For advice on applying for a sponsor licence or recruiting skilled migrant workers call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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