UK visa fee hiked; Indians & other migrants to now pay more in country's National Health Service

UK Prime Minister announced a hike in the visa fee for migrants. This hike is aiming at an increase in the wages of public sector.

UK visa fee hiked; Indians & other migrants to now pay more in country's National Health Service -

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that visa application fees, as well as the immigration health surcharge, which allows migrants access to the NHS, are going to climb dramatically. This increase aims at increasing the country’s public sector wages.

What is the reason behind the visa fees rising?

The Prime Minister announced the increase in visa application fees during a speech about public sector wages following recent strikes. Following months of strike action, the Prime Minister announced that teachers would receive a 6.5 percent salary increase, while junior doctors would receive a 6% raise. Additionally, police officers who are not allowed to strike will receive a 7% raise.

Mr. Sunak highlighted that a portion of the funds for the public sector wage hike will come from foreign migrants who want to live and work in the UK.

“If we’re going to priorities 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," Rishi Sunak stated.

“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 added,"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 also clarified that this would be the last increase in pay this year and that there would be no further negotiations on this.

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How much will the visa fees increase now?

The government has confirmed a 15% increase in employment and immigration fees. Every other visa charge will increase by at least 20%. The immigration health surcharge was initially implemented in 2015, with a fee of £200 per application. It more than doubled to £400 in 2018 and is expected to reach £624 in 2020.

The visa fees a migrant pays are determined by the type of visa they seek, as well as the duration of their stay, the primary purpose of their visit, the number of entries into the nation desired, the industry in which they work, and other factors.

When is the hike expected?

The UK Home Office is scheduled to lay out the full specifics of which visa categories will face hikes and when the new higher prices will go into effect in the coming months. However, growing immigration fees for migrants seeking work in the UK place a major financial burden on business owners that rely on foreign labor, particularly when compared to countries such as the United States or France, potentially boosting recruitment spending.