Does your business sponsor skilled workers from countries outside of the EU for example America or Africa? If you do, then you’ll need to consider the new rules for employer sponsors that will come into force in April this year.

Employers who are sponsors for non-EEA skilled workers under tier 2 of the points based system, will have to pay a fee of £1000 in addition to the cost of the certificate of sponsorship that is required for each worker. The good news is that a discounted rate will be applied to small businesses.


  • A small number of sectors are exempt from payment of the charge, for example science and higher education. 

Further exemptions exist for:

  • an intra-company transfer as an international graduate trainee;
  • those switching from a student visa to their first work visa and
  • those who have already had a certificate of sponsorship assigned before 6 April 2017.

How this will affect small businesses?

The charge payable by small businesses ranges from £364 to £1820 depending on the duration of the employment. A full copy of the charges applicable can be found here

Failure to pay the required fee will invalidate the certificate of sponsorship until the payment is made.

The government will introduce transitional arrangements including an exemption for skilled workers with an existing certificate of sponsorship, and those that made an application relying on their previous certificate of sponsorship which resulted in the grant of entry clearance or leave to remain.

It remains to be seen if the introduction of the charge achieves its objective of encouraging employers to invest in the training of British workers.

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