The UK immigration system has undergone several transformations in recent years, affecting people worldwide. One of the most recent developments is the upcoming increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge.
In this article, we will delve into the details of this increase and what it signifies for potential immigrants. Let’s explore this significant policy change.
What Is the Immigration Health Surcharge?
The immigration health surcharge is an additional fee you must pay when applying for a visa to the UK. It is obligatory for the majority of visa types and functions as a form of medical insurance.
This fee provides you access to healthcare services, including consultations with general practitioners, prescriptions, hospital admissions, and more, all without incurring extra costs or the need for additional insurance. Thanks to the IHS, you can receive medical treatment from the NHS just like any UK resident.
Upcoming Immigration Health Changes
The Immigration Health Surcharge was introduced in 2015, with varying fees based on the immigrant type. For students, student dependents, and children under 18, the Youth Mobility scheme IHS fee per year is currently £470 per year. For other immigration categories, the IHS fee is £624 per year.
In response to the rise in public sector pay, the UK government made the decision to increase the IHS as part of a funding solution. This decision was made in July 2023 and will be effective from January 16, 2024. For children and students, the IHS fee will rise to £776 per year, an increase of £306 per person per year.
For other immigration categories, the fee will rise to £1035 per year, an increase of £411. All charges must be paid upfront during the visa application process and apply to anyone seeking a UK visa for a stay of at least six months.
Considerations for Employers
The recent changes in the UK immigration system may impact employers who sponsor foreign nationals through UK sponsor licence to work in the country. These changes include an increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee.
While the IHS fee is technically the responsibility of the visa applicant, many employers opt to cover this cost on behalf of their employees, particularly when facing challenges in filling vacancies or requiring specialized skills.
To mitigate the potential financial impact of the fee increase, employers should submit sponsorship and immigration applications before the fee hike takes effect. This will help them avoid the higher costs associated with the increased IHS fee.
Employers should carefully assess these changes and their potential impact on budgets and current strategies for sponsoring foreign workers.
Seek Expert Guidance
It’s worth noting that immigration matters can be quite complex. With recent changes in the UK immigration policy, understanding these matters has become even more challenging for the general public. Those considering a move to the UK should consult with expert legal advisers who specialize in immigration-related issues.
At WestBridge Business Immigration, we have a team of expert UK immigration lawyers ready to assist you with navigating all aspects of UK immigration laws. We are committed to helping you with any UK immigration-related matters.
The increase in the UK Immigration Health Surcharge is expected to have a significant impact on immigrants and their families. While the surcharge aims to ensure that migrants contribute to the cost of healthcare services, the substantial fee hike may pose financial burdens for many individuals.
It is crucial for policymakers to carefully consider the implications of these changes and strike a balance between funding healthcare services and maintaining an inclusive immigration system.