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Controversial Increases in Immigration Fees and Health Surcharge

The UK government has recently announced substantial raises in immigration fees and the immigration health surcharge, alongside abolishing some existing fees. These changes will have a profound impact on migrants, their families, and employers. While the government claims that the fee increments will help fund pay rises for doctors and police officers, the measures have generated significant controversy and apprehension.

The immigration health surcharge will increase from £624 to £1,035 per year. The new cost will still be applied only to workers entering the UK for six months or longer, as well as their family members. Similarly, students, children and youth mobility visa holders will experience a rise from £470 to £776 per year. The government’s rationale for this raise is to allocate funds toward the recent pay rise for doctors.

Additionally, there will be an increase in immigration and nationality fees. Work and visit visas will witness a 15% rise, while student visas, certificates of sponsorship, settlement, citizenship, entry clearance, and leave to remain applications will encounter an increment of no less than 20%.

To provide context for these increments, as of today the cost of a settlement application will now start at £2,885 per person (for a family of four, this amounts to a total of over £11,500). It is expected that over a span of five years, immigration health surcharge expenses could reach around £15,000. When factoring in visa fees, which might be around £6,200, along with other associated expenses like Home Office services and legal representation, the total cost can surpass £33,000.

To create a sense of balance, the government has removed certain costs associated with visa applications, including the elimination of the £19.20 biometric enrolment fee and the £161 charge for transferring conditions. Additionally, the cost of student and priority service applications, both within and outside the UK, will be standardised.

Monica Mastropasqua

Paralegal

View profile

+44 20 7539 8021

There will be an increase in immigration and nationality fees. Work and visit visas will witness a 15% rise, while student visas, certificates of sponsorship, settlement, citizenship, entry clearance, and leave to remain applications will encounter an increment of no less than 20%.

The immigration fees in the UK are notably higher than those of other countries. In particular, the immigration health surcharge, functioning as mandatory state health insurance, seems particularly burdensome, as it charges migrants of all ages and health conditions the same amount. For family members, this is perceived as an unjust, significantly impacting children as much as, or even more than, adults.

These increases in fees will impact a wide range of individuals, including our friends, neighbours, and community members. It will affect those applying for visas to reunite with their families in the UK and individuals already residing in the country, working, and contributing taxes. Among those hit the hardest will be migrants who are already grappling with the cost of living crisis and the challenging constraints of the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) visa condition. We have observed that elevated visa fees have already pushed people into debt, and these additional increases are likely to drive more families into poverty and destitution.

To sum up, the UK government’s substantial hikes in immigration fees and health surcharge costs have ignited controversy and prompted concerns regarding fairness, integration, and financial challenges faced by migrants and their families. Although some simplifications have been implemented, the overall effect is expected to be significant, potentially diminishing the UK’s appeal as a destination for migrants and putting a strain on social cohesion.

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Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Monica Mastropasqua

Paralegal

View profile

+44 20 7539 8021

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