Regulatory Outlook

Employment and Immigration | UK Regulatory Outlook March 2023

Published on 28th Mar 2023

Who is exempt from the immigration skills charge? | Published advice for employers and recruiters | Spring Budget 2023: what was in it for employers?

Who is exempt from the immigration skills charge?

The Home Office has confirmed that a new immigration skills charge (ISC) exemption is now available for employers who use the global business mobility senior or specialist worker route for EU national workers from their overseas offices based in the EU.

The new exemption came into force on 1 January 2023 and the Immigration Skills Charge (Amendment) Regulations 2022 confirms that sponsors of the global business mobility senior or specialist route will be exempt from paying the ISC if all of the following apply:

  • The certificate of sponsorship (CoS) was assigned on or after 1 January 2023
  • The worker is a national of an EU country (does not include Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) or is a Latvian "non-citizen".
  • The worker has been assigned to the UK by a business established in the EU, and which forms part of the same sponsor group.
  • The end date of the assignment, as specified on the CoS, is no more than 36 months after the start date.

Read more, and for further immigration developments, please see our latest Immigration Update.

Published advice for employers and recruiters

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published advice for employers on how to avoid anti-competitive behaviour, identifying three main types of such behaviours in labour markets:

  • No-poaching agreements: These occur when two or more businesses agree not to approach or hire each other's employees (or not to do so without the other employer's consent). This can include where employers appoint recruiters who in turn have non-poaching agreements with certain key clients.
  • Wage-fixing agreements: These occur when two or more businesses agree to fix employees' pay or other employee benefits or contractors' pay. This includes agreeing the same wage rates or setting maximum caps on pay.
  • Information sharing: Sensitive information about terms and conditions that a business offers to employees might be shared between businesses. This in turn reduces competition between those in recruitment and retention.
  • Using recruiters to help with the above: the advice covers using recruiters and so-called Recruitment Process Outsourcing and Managed Service Provider companies, who provide services to a number of competitors in a sector and who use their knowledge of client one to help client two know that client two does not need to pay more than x in terms of wage or contractor rates. 

These are all stated to all be examples of business cartels. Not all agreements or practices that are anti-competitive will necessarily be in writing; they might instead take the form of informal practices (commonly referred to in this context as "gentlemen's agreements"), and might cover freelancers and contracted workers as well as permanent salaried staff. Read more in our Insight.

Spring Budget 2023: what was in it for employers?

As had been widely anticipated, the spring Budget 2023 set out the government's plans for "breaking down barriers that stop people working" following concerns laid out in the autumn statement over the rise in economically inactive individuals "seen particularly acutely within those aged over 50" following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Budget sets out a comprehensive employment packaged focused on four groups: the long-term sick and disabled, welfare recipients and the unemployed, older workers and parents. The Office for Budget Responsibility expects this package to result in 110,000 more individuals in the labour market by the end of the forecast period. More detail can be found in our Insight.

Annual tribunal limit increase

The new annual tribunal limits have been announced for dismissals taking effect from 6 April 2023 as follows:

A week's pay for the unfair dismissal basic award and statutory redundancy pay rises to £643 (from £571) and the unfair dismissal compensatory award rises to £105,707 (from £93,878), subject to the maximum cap of 52 weeks' pay.

The new statutory rates for family leave and national minimum wage rates have previously been announced which will also take effect in April 2023 – view them here.


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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