Introduction of Immigration Skills Charge (ISC)

 Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) is classified as a tax, with the stated aim of ‘reducing demand for migrant labour’. The ISC is being levied on employers who sponsor applicants under Tier 2 to take up certain roles, but few University roles are affected.


What are the exemptions from the ISC?

Thanks in part to lobbying by the University through the House of Lords and other channels (alongside other Russell Group Universities, UCEA, UUK, and other organisations), several exemptions were included in the ISC legislation.

The ISC does NOT apply to:

  •  Research (SOC code 2119) and Lecturer (SOC code 2311) roles, which fall under the ‘PhD level’ SOC codes;
  •  Overseas applicants coming for less than 6 months;
  •  Applicants switching from a Tier 4 student visa into Tier 2 from within the UK;
  •  Existing Tier 2 visa holders, whose Tier 2 CoS were issued before 6 April 2017, who are applying to extend their visa, or for a new Tier 2 visa with a new employer/ sponsor;
  •  Tier 2 CoS being issued for Croatian nationals.


Which types of roles within the collegiate University will be affected?

Roles which do not fall under the ‘PhD level’ SOC codes will be affected by the ISC; however, these make up a minority of the roles sponsored by the University under Tier 2, currently approx. 40 out of around 900. These include various IT positions, Research Managers, Statisticians, PR professionals, and other support roles. These are the roles which must be advertised on Universal JobMatch (JobCentre Plus as it was previously) under the Tier 2 advertising rules.

If you are advertising a position which is not a Research or Lecturer role, and expect to have candidates who may require a Tier 2 visa, you should contact SIT for confirmation of whether the ISC will apply.


How much is the ISC?

The ISC is a charge of £364 per year based on the length of the Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)  paid upfront, along with the CoS fee, when issuing the CoS. The ISC is normally £1,000 per year, however, the lower charge of £364 per year applies as the University has charitable status.


The ISC amount payable is as follows:

12 months or less:  £364
12 to 18 months:    £546
18 to 24 months:    £728
24 to 30 months:    £910
30 to 36 months:  £1,092
36 to 42 months:  £1,274
42 to 48 months:  £1,456 
48 to 54 months:  £1,638
54 to 60 months (5 years): £1,820 


For example: A Tier 2 CoS for a 2½ year role would result in an ISC fee of £910 in addition to the £199 CoS fee, with a total of £1,109 to be paid by SIT when the CoS is issued and cross-charged back to the sponsoring department, or college cheque.


How will the ISC be paid?

In cases which are not exempt, the ISC will be paid by SIT along with the CoS fee when issuing the Tier 2 CoS. The ISC fee will then be cross-charged back to departments, along with the CoS fee. Colleges will need to provide a cheque covering both the Tier 2 CoS fee and ISC. Please note this charge is an employer cost and must not be passed on to the Tier 2 worker. Our CoS application forms have been updated to highlight roles where the ISC applies, and the amount which will be charged.


Will the ISC be refunded in any circumstances?

The ISC will be refunded in full where:

  •  the Tier 2 visa application is refused or withdrawn;
  •  a visa is granted but the visa holder does not take up the role;
  •  no visa application is made.

A partial refund in respect of all whole unused 6 month periods will be paid where:

  •  the Tier 2 visa is granted for less than the period requested on the CoS;
  •  the visa holder after their first year, voluntarily changes to another sponsor;
  •  the visa holder, after their first year, leaves their post early, due to ill health, redundancy, or being dismissed, for example.

Home Office decisions on refunds are made within 90 days after the above events are reported. Refunded ISC fees will then be credited back to the sponsoring department from SIT by Finance in the following monthly credit card reconciliation. Colleges will be refunded by BACS.

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