All UK visas with a validity of over six months are about to cost a lot more for Indians as well as other non-EU migrants, following a decision by the British government to double the mandatory ‘Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)’.

The health ‘surcharge’ which was rolled out in 2015 allows the students and temporary workers to access the country subsidised public health care program, the National Health Service (NHS), during their stay, and is payable while submitting visa applications. The surcharge, however, won’t be due for migrants who have attained permanent residency.

Currently, the surcharge for a regular migrant is £200 a year, which has been raised to £400 a year. While for student visas under the Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier-5 visa), the same surcharge has been increased from £150 to £300. On an average, the cost for a general or family visa is nearly £92, while for a long-term visa may cost nearly £821. 

The British immigration office has said that the increased surcharge will prompt the employers to hire ‘domestic’ workers before considering outside working professionals. It has argued that it is fair that immigrants pay extra to access its National Health Services program.

The UK is also reportedly planning to tighten immigration rules further, allowing immigration based only on skills and not nationality.
 

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