The Costs of Skilled Worker Sponsorship Visa

On November 19, 2021 | In Skilled Worker Visa | By A Y & J Solicitors

A Skilled Worker visa allows foreign nationals to enter or remain in the United Kingdom to work in an eligible job with a Home Office-approved employer.

A prospective employer should be aware of the costs associated with sponsorship in order to make an informed decision about whether visa sponsorship or hiring a recruitment agency is a better fit for their company.

Sponsoring a migrant from overseas doesn’t come cheap. However, recruitment agencies can also charge substantial fees, especially for higher-paid staff.

Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence

An employer cannot employ an overseas skilled worker until they hold the skilled worker sponsor licence.  Once the sponsor licence has been granted, the organisation will then be able to sponsor non-EEA nationals and EU citizens to work in eligible roles.

The Home Office fees for the skilled worker sponsor licence depends on the type of the organisation.

An organisation is a small sponsor if it fulfills at least 2 of the following requirements:

  • annual turnover of the organisation is £10.2 million or less
  • total assets are approximately £5.1 million or less
  • Organisation has 50 employees or fewer

A charitable sponsor is an organisation that is: 

a registered charity in England or Wales; a registered charity in Scotland.

a registered charity in Northern Ireland – if you aren’t on the register, you must submit HM Revenue and Customs with confirmation of your charitable status for tax purposes (HMRC)

  • a charity that has been accepted
  • a tax-exempt organisation
  • an ecclesiastical corporation with charitable aims

The current application’s fees for a small or charitable sponsor to obtain a sponsor licence is £536 and £1,476 for a large sponsor.

Certificate of Sponsorship

Once the sponsor licence has been approved, the sponsor can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the prospective employee. The employee can then apply to the Home Office for a skilled worker visa to work for that employer.

To assign a CoS you must pay a fee of £199.

Immigration Skills Charge (ISC)

On April 6, 2017, the Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 came into force. It is paid each time a sponsor assigns a CoS to a worker under the skilled worker immigration route, unless an exception applies. The amount of ISC payable is determined by the size of the organisation, its nonprofit status, and the length of sponsorship.

A minimum of 12 months is required, and this fee is non-refundable unless the skilled worker does not accept the position. The fee only applies to the primary applicant; it does not apply to their family members (dependants).

For a small or charity organisation, the ISC is £364 for the first year and £182 for each successive six months.

For a large sponsor, the ISC is £1,000 for the first year and £500 for each following six months.

Skilled Worker UKVI Application Fees

While the above fees fall on the sponsor, the UKVI application fees usually fall on the prospective employee to pay.

For applicants applying from inside or outside the UK, the fee payable depends on the length of their sponsorship.

Applicants from outside the UK:

  • You must pay £610 per person for up to 3 years 
  • You must pay £1,220 per person for more than 3 years 

Please note that for entry clearance applications, payments will be taken in the local currency. Therefore, the exact amount charged may differ depending on the conversion rate on the date of application.

Applicants from inside the UK:

  • If you make application for up to 3 years, you must pay £704 per person
  • If you make application for more than 3 years, you must pay £1,408 per person

In addition to the application fees, applicants from inside the UK must also pay a biometric enrolment fee of £19.20 per person.

For applicants that are sponsored to work on a job listed in the shortage occupation list, the fees payable are lower:

  • You need to pay £464 per individual for up to 3 years 
  • You need to pay £928 per individual for more than 3 years 

Applicants from the following countries will have their fees reduced by £55: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic,, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,  Denmark, Hungary,, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey, Iceland, Ireland

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

The IHS is a tax on visas, on top of the application fee outlined above. Currently, the IHS is £624 per immigration year, payable in advance in full.

Like the UKVI application fees, the IHS also falls on the prospective employee to pay. Suppose the prospective employee has a dependent family member accompanying them to the UK. In that case, they will also be liable for the UKVI application fees and IHS, which are the same as for the sponsored worker.

Additional Fees

In addition to the UKVI and IHS fees, a whole range of potential additional fees should be considered (visa application centre biometrics appointment fee, priority visa processing, courier fees etc.).


The cost incurred to sponsor a migrant from overseas – CoS up to 3 years:

-£536 Sponsor Licence Application Fees

-£199 Certificate of Sponsorship

-£1,092 Immigration Skills Charge

-£610 UKVI application fees

-£1,872 Immigration Health Surcharge

TOTAL £4,309

Disclaimer: The above fees are correct at the time of writing this information, and these may change subject to the Home Office proposal on fees.

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