The UK will implement increased Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees following the approval of a law by the UK Parliament on 16 January 2024. These changes affect adult, child, student applicants, and their dependents.
The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 was approved by both houses of parliament and made into law. The Order comes into force 21 days later, meaning the increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge will come into force on 06 February 2024.
Fee Adjustments: What You Need to Know
For adult applicants, the annual IHS fee will see a significant increase from GBP 624 to GBP 1,035, marking a 66 percent rise. Children and student applicants, along with their dependents, will also experience a 65 percent increase, with the annual fee rising from GBP 470 to GBP 776.
This adjustment is part of the UK Government’s comprehensive review of fees within the immigration and nationality system, following the application fee increases in October 2023.
Understanding the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
The IHS is a mandatory fee for most visa applicants, payable alongside the application fee. Charged per year of permission requested, it grants migrants access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK during their visa duration.
Exemptions apply to visitors, EU Settlement Scheme applicants, and those applying under Health and Care provisions. NHS staff and their dependents are also exempt, as are those applying for immigration permission with a duration of less than six months from outside the UK.
The IHS has not increased since October 2020, and the Home Office attributes the rise to the “increased cost of healthcare provision and the extra pressures which migrant-driven population growth is placing on the NHS.”
Impact on Businesses
Businesses relying on the UK immigration system for employing foreign nationals must reassess their budgets and application strategies in light of these fee changes. These adjustments are part of a broader strategy, initiated in mid-2023, to cover a wage increase averaging 6.5 percent for key public sector workers in the year 2023/24.
Originally slated for implementation on 16 January 2024, parliamentary delays have pushed the effective date to 6 February 2024. Alongside the IHS increase, other measures, including visa fee hikes and proposed increases to salary thresholds, are expected to contribute to the overall cost of immigration to the UK.
Can Applications be Submitted Earlier?
Applications submitted before 06 February 2024 will benefit from the lower IHS rates. Businesses may also choose to expedite employee transfers or extensions before 06 February 2024, to capitalize on the current IHS rates.
How we can help
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