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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Fee hikes for skilled migrant worker visas a “bitter blow”, says CBI

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The CBI has condemned the coalition government’s decision to double the visa fees that employers have to pay in order to hire working migrants as a “bitter blow” to UK business.

The Home Office announced yesterday that, while fee increases for the majority of visas had been kept at about 2%, those for skilled workers or ‘tier two migrants’ applying for jobs from abroad would leap by 20% to £480 from April.
 
But the cost of sponsor licences for employers wanting to hire them would jump even more – by 46% to £1,500 for large companies and by a huge 60% to £500 for small firms.
 
Neil Carberry, the CBI’s director for employment and skills policy, was scathing about the move.
 
“The shock announcement that some work permit changes will rise between 20% and 60% will come as a bitter blow to businesses,” he said. “Firms have yet to see the improvements in customer service they were promised, in return for the last tranche of inflation-busting rises last year.”
 
The Home Office said that some fees had been set at much higher levels than the administrative costs of providing the visa itself in order to generate revenues that would “help fund the UK immigration system”.
 
The move would also enable other visas to be supplied below cost in a bid to “support wider government objectives”, it added.
 
Visa fees for skilled migrants are almost twice the actual administration costs, while those for visitors on a short trip to see family members in the UK are almost half.
 
Immigration minister Damian Green said: “Given the ongoing need to reduce public spending, we believe it is right that we continue to seek to reduce the burden on UK taxpayers of delivering the border and immigration system by asking migrants to make a greater contribution to the funding of the UK Border Agency.”
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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