Employment and Immigration Bulletin - October 2023

Posted Friday 29th September 2023

Our message in this bulletin to employers is all about the importance of regular, timely audits of employment and immigration practices and policies in relation to your workers:

Data protection

Employers have to be ever more mindful of data protection measures. These are only going one way, i.e. increasing.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published detailed guidance on processing workers’ health data to help employers comply with their obligations under the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). The first part of the guidance explains how the UK GDPR and DPA 2018 applies to the employer. The second part focuses on how data protection law applies to specific workplace scenarios such as:

  • Managing sick absence records and occupational health schemes.
  • Conducting drugs and alcohol testing.
  • How to approach sharing employee health data.

The ICO guidance can be found here.

Employers should bear in mind that claims about breaches of statutory obligations can mean risk of whistleblowing claims by employees, with uncapped compensation and no minimum length of service. Now is the time to audit your data protection practices and policies!


Home Office fees increase on 4 October

We will be seeing some substantial increases in costs to businesses of hiring overseas workers:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship assignment fee for Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility applications will rise by 20%, from £199 to £239.
  • Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility, Global Talent, Graduate, Innovator Founder, Start-Up, and High Potential Individual visa application fees will increase by 15%.
  • Optional overseas priority processing service for non-settlement applications will increase by 100%, from £250 to £500.
  • Optional super priority service for in-country applications will increase by 25%, from £800 to £1,000.


  • Visit visa fees will increase by up to 15%.
  • Indefinite leave to remain application fees will increase by 20% from £2,404 to £2,885.
  • Fees to register or apply for British citizenship will increase by 20%.

The announcement does not include details of the planned increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge which is scheduled to be introduced later in Autumn 2023.

Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) changes

A small piece of good news however! From 31 January 2024:

  • As with New Zealand, the YMS arrangements with Australia and Canada have been enhanced, such that, from 31 January 2024, it will be open to Australian and Canadian nationals aged between 18 to 35 (instead of 18 to 30) and their length of stay will be extendable to three years (rather than a maximum of two years).
  • Andorra will be added to the list of eligible nationalities participating in this scheme

As always, ensure your right to work checks are in place for ALL employees and workers. Regular timely audits are essential, to control the risk of being found to have engaged illegal workers.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.

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