The UK government has recently announced significant increases to application fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The IHS is a fee that migrants pay for using NHS services. The government justifies these increases by having to fund pay rises for NHS doctors and other public sector workers. Ironically, a big proportion of NHS doctors and public sector workers are migrants.
| Proposed increase to visa fees
It is proposed that visit visas should increase by 15%. Other visas, applications to extend stay in the UK, applications for settlement (ILR), and applications for British citizenship should increase by at least 20%.
The current application fee for settlement is £2,404; it should increase to at least £2,884. A family of four would, therefore, pay in excess of £11,500 just to submit their application to settle in the UK. And this comes after years of paying various application fees to enter the UK and extend their stay in the UK. A migrant will typically need to spend between five and ten years in the UK before being in a position to apply for settlement.
| Increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was £200 per year when introduced in 2015. It is currently £624 per year and the government proposes to increase it to £1,035 per year. Instead of the current fee of £1,872, a spouse applying for a partner visa will now pay a sum of £3,105 in Immigration Health Surcharge only for the first three years of their stay in the UK. This is on top of a visa application fee that will be increased to more than £1,800.