For many years now, most migrants applying to enter or remain in the UK have had to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee as their contribution towards the cost of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). There are certain limited exemptions to the IHS surcharge so for example it does not apply to those who are applying for permanent residency (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK or applying to become British citizens.

When the charge was initially introduced, it was £200.00 per adult applicant per year and this was then increased to £400.00. It was subsequently increased to the current level of £624.00 per adult applicant, per year. For example therefore, if a work permit holder were to apply to enter the UK for a 5 year work permit, then they would pay an IHS charge of £3,120.00 and the same fee would apply to any spouse or dependent children who were going to accompany the main applicant, again for the 5 year period. For applicants under the age of 18, the charge is £470.00 per year for the duration of the visa and in common with other immigration fees, the IHS is paid when the visa application is applied for and therefore it is paid in advance in one lump sum.

Towards the end of last year, the Home Office announced that they would significantly increase the IHS payment with the increase taking effect from approximately 16 January 2024. However, it is now anticipated that the increase will probably take effect from next month. From that stage onwards, most adult visa applicants will be paying £1,035.00 per year in place of the current level of £624.00 per year and this equates to an increase of over 60%. Child applicants will pay £776.00 per year against the current level of £470.00. Looking at the above example therefore, when the increase kicks in, a 5 year work permit holder applying to enter the UK with say a spouse and two children, can expect to pay a fee of £20,700.00, upfront and in one go.

In October of last year, the Home Office also increased many visa fees by around 20% and applying for a UK visa to either enter or remain in the UK now is quite an expensive business, for both individuals and employers.

For advice on this or any other immigration issues, please do not hesitate to contact Sohan Sidhu.