Tier 2 visa system came into force on 24 November, 2016. The Home Office has announced that the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) route will be subject to the immigration health surcharge (IHS). The surcharge was one of the key changes within the Immigration Act 2014 and came into force in April 2015 for a number of visa categories. Employers with a Tier 2 Sponsorship licence are finding it more and more expensive to employ migrants from outside the EU/EEA. On top of this from 6 April 2017 many employers will have to pay an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per year for Tier 2 visa immigrants.
The £200 fee, payable by non-EU citizens coming to the UK to live and work to apparently cover the cost of healthcare, was expected to apply to the Tier 2 ICT route as part of wider UK immigration changes announced in October 2016. However, it has been announced that the charge will apply to all Tier 2 ICT applications submitted on, or after, 3 April, 2017.
The fee will be charged at the time of application, while any dependents will have to pay the same amount. However, if an application for a Tier 2 ICT visa is rejected, applicants can expect a full refund of all IHS costs paid.
“The additional freedom of intra-company transfers might also prove an attractive way of maintaining a multinational workforce in light of Brexit, rendering the Act somewhat ineffective,” Smith added.
However, UK companies who depend on the Tier 2 ICT route to plug skills gaps are bemoaning the IHS, saying that it adds to immigration costs, which increased extensively following the last round of changes to the Tier 2 visa route in November 2016