We have known that the Immigration Health Surcharge was due to be increased since the Conservatives won the last General election, as this commitment was set out in their manifesto. The government have now confirmed that the increase will take place on 27 October 2020.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a mandatory fee that applies to all applicants applying for a visa of more than six months, was introduced in April 2015 at £200 per year, and then last increased in January 2019, when it was IHS was doubled to £400 per year.
The latest increase will mean that anyone applying for a visa from 27 October will now need to pay £624 per year. There is a lower rate of £470 per year that will apply to students and their dependants, Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme participants and children under the age of 18.
This means that a Tier 2 worker coming to the UK for 5 years will now have to pay a fee of £3120 for the IHS alone plus the application fee of £1220. For companies who cover the visa application costs for their employees, they will have to factor in the Immigration Skills Charge as well which costs a minimum of £1820 for a small company and more for a medium or large company. The current IHS fees for the same visa is £2000 – an increase of over 50%.
The IHS has been controversial since its inception as it is seen by many as an immigration tax and designed to deter foreign nationals from migrating to the UK. Migrants are essentially being asked to contribute to the NHS more than once as the overwhelming majority also contribute via their National Insurance Contributions in the same way British citizen do. Furthermore, those that hold private medical insurance are not exempted from the IHS so are paying threefold!
From January 2021 EU nationals wanting to live and work in the UK, who are not already resident in the UK, will have to pay the IHS as well as the visa application fee as free movement will have ended. Employers and individual applicants will both need to budget for this increase.
Our advice remains as that if you can make your visa application before 27 October 2020, you should do so, to avoid the fee increase. Here at Bishop & Sewell, we can advise when you will be eligible to make your application as this is not always immediately obvious and assist with the preparation of the application.
If you are in need of advice or assistance on any of the issues mentioned in this article please contact Mariam Khaliq or another member of our expert Immigration Team on 020 7631 4141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The above is correct as at 13 October 2020. The information above may be subject to change as this is a constantly evolving situation.