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Immigration specialist Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons Solicitors, in Bury St Edmunds, warns of big health surcharge increases for migrant workers.

For many years now, most migrants applying to enter or remain in the United Kingdom 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 per adult applicant per year and this was then increased to £400. It was subsequently increased to the current level of £624 per adult applicant, per year.

Sohan Sidhu, partner and head of immigration for Ellisons. Picture submitted
Sohan Sidhu, partner and head of immigration for Ellisons. Picture submitted

For example therefore, if a work permit holder were to apply to enter the UK for a five year work permit, then they would pay an IHS charge of £3,120 and the same fee would apply to any spouse or dependent children who were going to accompany the main applicant, again for the five year period.

For applicants under the age of 18, the charge is £470 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 per year in place of the current level of £624 per year and this equates to an increase of over 60 per cent. Child applicants will pay £776 per year against the current level of £470. Looking at the above example therefore, when the increase kicks in, a five 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, upfront and in one go.

Ellisons Solictiors
Ellisons Solictiors

In October of last year, the Home Office also increased many visa fees by around 20 per cent 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, contact Sohan Sidhu by email at sohan.sidhu@ ellisonssolicitors.com or on 01284763333.