Employers could face a 580% increase in the cost of hiring migrant workers under the new points-based system, it has emerged.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne last night revealed the proposed visa fees for the system being launched this spring.
All firms wishing to hire migrant workers will have to register as sponsors, and this will cost £1,000 for firms with 50 or more staff.
It will also cost £170 for a work permit, meaning employers wishing to hire just one migrant worker will face a bill of £1,170 – up from £200 at present.
CBI deputy director-general John Cridland hit out at the charges.
“By seeking to recover far more than the cost of processing the application, the government risks putting up a barrier to firms hiring people with the skills they need to grow and create jobs for the good of the whole economy,” he said.
But the Home Office insisted the proposals were fair.
Byrne said: “We believe that it is fair that those who benefit most from using our immigration system should help fund it.
“We are confident that we are not out of line with other countries’ prices and that the people we want to come here will not be deterred from doing so.”