Huge increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge
The Home Office have announced huge increases to the Immigration Health Surcharge from 16 January 2024.
Subsequent to significant visa application fee increases that were introduced in October 2023, the Home Office have confirmed that massive increases to the Immigration Health Surcharge will come into effect from 16 January 2024 or within 21 days of receiving Parliamentary approval.
The Immigration Health Surcharge was originally set at £200 per year of visa grant. This was doubled to £400 after a short time and then further increased to £624 per year of visa grant during the Covid pandemic.
A further increase to £1,035 per year of visa grant will now be introduced and this is likely to commence from 16 January 2024 or 21 days after Parliamentary approval.
The above fees are for adult applicants. Children under the age of 18 will pay a health surcharge of £776 per year – a huge increase over the previous £470 per year, which was already a significant fee for the average family applying for a Skilled Worker Visa, a UK Spouse Visa or most other visa categories.
The Immigration Health Surcharge is a payment made in addition to the tax and National Insurance payments made by visa holders, such tax and National Insurance payments being sufficient for most people in the UK to qualify for publicly funded healthcare.
For many applicants applying for a 3-year visa this will increase the cost of their application by £1,233 for each adult and £918 for each child.
For a family with 2 children the cost of their application will increase by £4,302.
This is a difficult, and perhaps impossible, cost for the average family to afford. The cost of living is still a problem for many and, in addition to this, many visa application fees were significantly increased in October 2023, thus further adding to the financial burden reserved especially for those who have migrated legally to the UK.
Visa holders do have a choice of course – pay these hugely inflated fees or leave the UK.