The UK government has announced upcoming changes to the IHS fees and application fees. The timing of those changes has not yet been confirmed, more information to follow in due course. Those looking to submit an application for a UK visa should consider doing it sooner rather than later. Some of the increases are substantial, please see below for more information.
Summary of the Main Changes
IHS Fee Increase:
- Standard rate for Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is due to increase from £624 to £1,035 per year for workers and family members staying for six months or more.
- Students, children, and youth mobility visa holders will see their IHS rate increase from £470 to £776 per year.
Application Fee Increase:
- Work and visit visas will rise by 15%.
- Student visas, certificates of sponsorship, settlement applications, citizenship, entry clearance, and leave to remain applications will increase by at least 20%.
- Settlement (ILR) applications (this includes Skilled Worker ILR, Spouse ILR and ILR on 10-Year Long Residence) will cost at least £2,885 per person.
Abolition and Simplifications:
- Biometric enrolment fee of £19.20 will be abolished.
- Transfer of conditions fee of £161 will be abolished.
- Fees will no longer be charged for amending details on physical documents such as name, sex marker, nationality, and photograph.
- Fees will be abolished for like-for-like replacement of a biometric residence permit (BRP) when the document has expired.
IHS Fee Increase in 2023/2024
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will undergo a fee increase, impacting the cost of an immigration application for migrants and their family members in the United Kingdom. The government stated that the purpose of this fee hike is to generate additional revenue for the government and to fund pay rises for healthcare professionals.
Under the new fee structure, the standard rate for the IHS will rise significantly from £624 to £1,035 per year for workers and family members staying in the UK for a period of six months or more. This increase applies to both migrants and British citizens who are sponsoring their family members. Similarly, students, children, and youth mobility visa holders will experience a notable fee increase, with their IHS rate going up from £470 to £776 per year.
The decision to raise the IHS fees has attracted attention and controversy. The minister responsible for the measure explicitly stated that this fee increase would directly fund the previously announced pay rise for doctors. By raising the IHS rates, the government aims to ensure that healthcare professionals receive better remuneration while also providing financial support for the healthcare system as a whole.
The timing of the increase has not yet been confirmed. We expect more information to follow in the coming weeks. Considering the scale of the increase, one would expect a lengthy notice to applicants before the changes are introduced.
Application Fees Increase
In addition to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee increase, the government has announced significant hikes in various immigration and nationality application fees. These fee adjustments cover a wide range of visa types and application processes, affecting individuals seeking work permits, visitor visas, student visas, settlement applications, citizenship, entry clearance, and leave to remain.
The fee increase for work and visit visas is set at 15%, while other types of applications will experience a more substantial rise of at least 20%. For example, settlement applications, which grant individuals the right to reside in the UK permanently, will now come with a minimum cost of £2,885 per person. This significant fee surge will undoubtedly place a considerable financial burden on those going through the settlement process, particularly for families or individuals with multiple dependents. The settlement fees are paid per applicant when the application is submitted.
While the increased fees pose challenges for migrants and their families, the government has introduced certain fee simplifications and abolished specific charges to mitigate the impact. As part of these changes, the government will eliminate the £19.20 fee for biometric enrolment and the £161 charge for the transfer of conditions. Furthermore, fees will no longer be applicable for amending details on physical documents, such as name, sex marker, nationality, and photographs. Another positive change is the abolition of fees for like-for-like replacement of a biometric residence permit when the document has expired, benefitting individuals with indefinite leave to remain.
However, despite these fee simplifications, the overall increase in application costs is likely to significantly impact migrants, their families, and organisations that sponsor workers from overseas. The additional financial burden imposed by the fee increases, coupled with potential expenses for additional Home Office services and legal representation, will make the immigration process considerably more expensive and may further exacerbate existing challenges faced by migrants and their families.