Doubling of the Immigration Health Surcharge from 8 January 2019
Following on from our blog on 16 October 2018, the Home Office has now increased the Immigration Health Surcharge and the new fees will apply to visa applicants who apply on or after 8 January 2019.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) has to be paid by non-EU nationals applying for a UK visa to work, study or join family in the UK for more than 6 months. Its stated aim is to help fund the NHS and the government says that the new charges are intended to better reflect the cost to the NHS of treating those who pay the surcharge, which the Department of Health and Social Care estimates to be, on average, £470 per person per year.
The new IHS fee is now £400 per year (up from £200), so £2,000 for a 5-year visa. For students and those on the youth mobility scheme the increased rate will be £300 per year (up from £150). Permanent residents in the UK and family members of EEA nationals exercising treaty rights in the UK are still not required to pay the charge. Short-term migrants, including those on visitor visas, are generally exempt and instead charged for secondary care treatment by the NHS at the point of access.
This will be unwelcome news for visa applicants and any employers who pick up this cost when sponsoring employees on Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas and the increased cost will need to be factored in to the overall cost of applying for a UK visa, as the IHS is one of a number of fees charged to visa applicants. There are concerns that the increase may bring additional financial strain to UK businesses and discourage skilled talent and their family members from coming to the UK.
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