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Massive Increase to the UK Immigration Health Surcharge

The Home Office have pressed ahead with a huge 66% increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge.

The Immigration Health Surcharge is an additional fee paid to the NHS (National Health Service) by migrants to the UK in order to access NHS services. The Immigration Health Surcharge applies primarily to those coming to the UK on work, study or family visas, the vast majority of whom will additionally be paying tax and National Insurance contributions that already help fund the NHS.

This huge increase comes not long after some significant increases to application fees, such as the cost of Indefinite Leave to Remain being increased from £2,404 per applicant to £2,885 per applicant. If you don’t want to be stuck in the UK unable to travel for months while you wait for a decision then you can pay an additional £1,000 for a one-day Super-Priority service (increased in 2023 from the previous level of £800).

The Immigration Health Surcharge was originally introduced in April 2015 at a rate of £200 per applicant per year of visa grant. This was doubled to £400 per applicant per year of visa grant toward the end of 2018. It was again increased in October 2020 (in the midst of the Covid pandemic) to £624 per applicant per year of visa grant for adults and £470 per year of visa grant for a child under 18. This lower rate also applies to Student Visa holders and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme.

From 06 February 2024 the Immigration Health Surcharge will increase to £1,035 per adult applicant per year of visa grant – an increase of 417% in less than 9 years.

The Immigration Health Surcharge for a child under the age of 18 will rise from £470 to £776 per year of visa grant.

A British Citizen bringing their overseas partner to the UK on a UK Spouse Visa will now have to pay the £2,587 Immigration Health Surcharge plus the £1,846 visa application fee (increased in 2023 from the previous fee of £1,538). This is a total of £4,433 for a visa that will last for no more than 33 months.

When combined with the proposed increase to the level of the Financial Requirement from the current level of £18,600 to an interim level of £29,000 and a proposed goal of £38,700 per annum (which can only be earned by the British Citizen overseas and not by their non-UK partner), it would seem that the right to a family life is conditional upon being rather wealthy.

Those already in the UK will suddenly find that they have to find an additional £1,027 for the Immigration Health Surcharge and an additional £308 for the visa application – a total additional cost of £1,335 more than they might have been expecting to pay.

This increase will also impact workers sponsored under the Skilled Worker Visa category. A typical application might be for a sponsored worker, the partner and a child. The total Immigration Health Surcharge cost for this family was already significant, at £5,154. From 06 February 2024 this will now cost the same family £8,538 – an increase of £3,384.

Again, those who have already moved to the UK, put their children in schools and made a new life in the UK as sponsored workers, paying tax and National Insurance contributions, will also have to suddenly find this money from somewhere.

The Immigration Health Surcharge is not paid by visitors and is also not currently paid by those in the Health & Care Worker Visa category. Student Visa holders and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge but at the same rate paid by a child under the age of eighteen.