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UK Immigration Health Surcharge Increase January 2024

The United Kingdom's Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is set to increase significantly on 16th January 2024, impacting individuals planning to enter or extend their stay in the country. The impending hike, outlined in the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023, which awaits final parliamentary approval, signals a substantial rise in healthcare fees. This adjustment, at 66%, is expected to have far-reaching implications for those seeking UK entry clearance or leave to remain.

The Immigration Health Surcharge is a mandatory payment for individuals applying for UK entry clearance or leave to remain, covering access to most healthcare services through the National Health Service (NHS). The existing standard IHS fee stands at £624 per year. However, the forthcoming changes will see a substantial increase, pushing the annual cost to £1,035 for the majority of applicants.

While specific categories, such as students, Youth Mobility Scheme applicants, and individuals under the age of 18, will experience a more modest increase, with fees set at £776 annually (up from £470), all applicants should prepare for a noticeable impact on their financial planning.

Origins of the Immigration Health Surcharge

Introduced in 2015, the Immigration Health Surcharge aimed to alleviate the strain on the NHS due to the growth in immigration. The revenue generated from these fees serves as a supplement to direct NHS funding, helping manage the increased demand for healthcare services. The UK Home Office points to escalating healthcare costs as the primary driver behind the need for the impending fee hikes.

Financial Implications

Under the current system, applicants typically pay the Immigration Health Surcharge upfront as a lump sum along with their main visa application. This payment covers the entire multi-year period of the visa. With the upcoming fee increases, individuals looking to enter or remain in the UK long term will face higher upfront costs.

Skilled Worker Visa IHS fee comparison current vs new

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As the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 awaits final parliamentary approval, applicants are urged to carefully consider the financial implications of these changes. The higher upfront costs necessitate a more strategic approach to budgeting, emphasizing the importance of staying informed and planning ahead for those navigating the complex landscape of UK immigration.

Moreover, applicants should be vigilant for further updates and potential amendments to the order, as the landscape of immigration policies can evolve. This awareness is crucial for individuals and businesses alike, ensuring they adapt to the changing financial landscape associated with UK immigration.

The impending 66% increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge marks a significant development for individuals seeking entry or leave to remain in the United Kingdom. As the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 progresses toward final parliamentary approval, applicants must remain vigilant and well-informed to navigate the evolving immigration landscape. The higher upfront costs necessitate strategic financial planning, underscoring the importance of staying abreast of changes and making informed decisions when navigating the complexities of UK immigration.


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