The Government has confirmed that the Immigration Skills Charge will be set at £1,000 per year per migrant worker sponsored under Tier 2 of the Points Based System. A lower rate will apply for small businesses and charities. On 21 March 2016 in a House of Lords debate on the Immigration Bill Lord Bates said:
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.
There are also to be some exemptions for PhD level roles in science and research and for graduates switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.
The adoption of the Immigration Skills Charge has now been confirmed in a press release. The commencement date has been set as April 2017. There is no information yet on whether the charge will be applied only to new Tier 2 migrant recruits, which seems probable, or will also apply to existing Tier 2 workers.