ApplicationCurrent FeeNew FeeFee Change
Standard online application for adults£75.50£82.50£7
Standard online application for children£49£53.50£4.50
Postal applications for adults£85£93£8
Postal applications for children£58.50£64£5.50

So, for those who need a passport or have a passport up for renewal this year, it may be worth submitting an application early to avoid those extra government fees.

Global Business Mobility Immigration Skill Charge Exemption

From 1 January 2023, the Home Office has introduced a concession which will exempt employers paying the Immigration Skill Charge (ISC) for any worker who is covered by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, for those on the Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker) visa (this was previously known as the Intra Company Transfer route).

This will apply in all of the following circumstances:

It is to be noted that when this exemption applies, the sponsor will need to use an ISC exempt Certificate of Sponsorship, and will be required to provide an explanation of the exemption. For example, it should state, the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement application, and it should provide the location of where in the EU the business that assigned the worker to the UK is.

This is a welcome change, as the current ISC fee is at £1,000 per year, for large employers, and £364 per year for small employers. It is hoped that this measure will provide a financial benefit for businesses doing business in the UK and sending staff on assignment. This reduced cost will allow greater flexibility for transferring employees into the UK.

Seasonal Worker Route

The Seasonal Worker Route is for workers aged 18 or over to come into the UK on a scheme to undertake seasonal work in the horticultural or poultry production sector.

This route is subject to an annual quota, which is usually divided between the two sectors.

The quota for 2023 is as follows:

This increase in the total available quota (up from 38,000 in 2022) follows through on a promise made by Liz Truss during her short time as Prime Minister.

This route allows approved scheme operators to sponsor workers, and can be used exclusively for workers with a Certificate of Sponsorship with a start date in that year. 

It is to be noted that the Home Office is responsible for setting up the quota and apportioning it to scheme operators (rather than individual businesses providing direct sponsorship to workers).

This increase in quota should see the agricultural industry through another year – however it remains important to note that the Government’s current policy position is that the quota will start to be reduced from 2024, with a review of the route as a whole at this time. This means the industry needs to work rapidly and collaboratively to identify tangible means of making roles more attractive/accessible to the domestic workforce and some businesses may also consider using the time registering to become an individually approved business sponsor for international worker visas in instances where workers can be sponsored on a permanent rather than seasonal basis.

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