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Business News/ News / World/  UK visa fee to rise ‘significantly’: Here's how much you need to pay
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UK visa fee to rise ‘significantly’: Here's how much you need to pay

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that fees and health surcharges paid by visa applicants, including Indians, to the National Health Service (NHS) will increase significantly to support public sector wage increases.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that fees and health surcharges paid by visa applicants (via REUTERS)Premium
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that fees and health surcharges paid by visa applicants (via REUTERS)

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that fees and health surcharges paid by visa applicants, including Indians, to the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) will increase significantly. Though there is no confirmation from the government yet, reports suggest that the hike is likely to be around 15% to 20%.

Why Rishi Sunak is pushing for a price hike? 

This adjustment aims to support the country's public sector wage increase, which includes teachers, police, junior doctors, and other public sector workers. Sunak confirmed a general rise of 5 to 7% across the board. However, he pointed out that the government would not rely on increased borrowing to cover these costs due to concerns about inflation. Hence, alternative funding sources would be sought. 

“If we’re going to prioritise paying public sector workers more, that money has to come from somewhere else because I’m not prepared to put up people’s taxes and I don’t think it would be responsible or right to borrow more because that would just make inflation worse," Sunak told reporters at a Downing Street press conference.

“So, what we have done are two things to find this money. The first is, we are going to increase the charges that we have for migrants who are coming to this country when they apply for visas and indeed something called the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS," he said.

"All of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over GBP 1 billion, so across the board visa application fees are going to go up significantly and similarly for the IHS," he added.

Sunak justified that the move is “entirely right" as these fees have not been increased recently. And cited that the hike is appropriate given that the costs have risen since the last hike.

How much do you need to pay now? 

As per FREETH, the government is likely to hike work visa fees by 15%. All other visa fees will rise by at least 20%. 

Accordingly, if you are immigrating to the UK with a skilled worker visa (where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less), you will have to pay £718 ( 77,147). Currently the fees for this visa category is £625.

The immigration health surcharge, introduced in 2015 at £200 per application, has seen significant increases. It doubled to £400 in 2018 and further rose to £624 in 2020 for adults (£470 for discounted applicants). The government has now announced a substantial hike, with the surcharge increasing to £1,035 per person per year and the discounted rate rising to £776, FREETH also pointed out

The rising fees for migrants seeking work in the UK pose a significant financial burden for business owners relying on overseas labor, especially when compared to countries like the United States or France, potentially increasing recruitment spending.

When will the new visa hike expected? 

The full details of which categories of visas will face hikes and when the new higher rates come into force are expected to be laid out by the UK Home Office in the coming months.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sanchari Ghosh
Sanchari Ghosh is a Chief Content Producer with LiveMint. She covers news, human interest, epidemiology and personal finance stories
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Published: 15 Jul 2023, 09:04 AM IST
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