The House of Lords continues to debate the Immigration Bill.
One of its provisions is an immigration skills charge that would be imposed on Tier 2 employers. The Migration Advisory Committee recommended in its report of 19 January 2016 that the charge be set at £1000 per Tier 2 employee for each year of immigration permission.
In the House of Lords debate of 21 March, Lord Bates announced that the Government would provide exemptions and reductions to the proposed charge for international student graduates and employers in the education sector:
"The Government have considered advice from the Migration Advisory Committee and additional views from employers. Following careful consideration, I am able to announce that the immigration skills charge of £1,000 per migrant per year will be paid by employers who sponsor tier 2 migrants. The charge will be collected by the Home Office."
"A reduced rate of £364 per annum will apply to small businesses and charities as defined in the Immigration Rules. This is consistent with other lower fees applied to these organisations. In addition, an exemption will be applied to migrants undertaking occupations skilled to PhD level... They are primarily science and research roles. There will also be an exemption for graduates who switch from tier 4 to tier 2 in order to take up a position in the UK. These two exemptions build on the Government’s strong post-study work offer for international students and are intended to protect the UK’s position as a centre of excellence for education and research."