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Date announced for immigration applications price hike as health surcharge set to increase

Houses of Parliament

7 October 2020

A date has finally been announced for the hike in the immigration health surcharge (IHS), payable with visa applications.

The Immigration Health Charge Amendment Order comes into effect on October 27. So anyone making any immigration applications is advised to make them before then.

In a price hike originally announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer back in March, the IHS is set to go up from £400 to £624 – more than triple the £200 when it was first introduced in 2015.

There will be a reduced fee of £470 for students, dependants of students, Youth Mobility visa holders and anyone under 18.

After much uproar about the effect on many migrants working to fight the pandemic in the UK, The Prime Minister also announced that NHS workers, health and social care staff are exempt for the charge.

The health surcharge is otherwise mandatory for those temporarily coming to the UK for more than six months who are then able to access National Health Service services freely.

Though arguably many will be paying for the NHS through their taxes.

At £1,220 per person for a Tier 2 General Visa over three years (£928 for those on the shortage occupation list), UK visa fees are currently among the highest in the world. And the hike in IHS will just add to the cost of moving to the UK.

Critics say the fee is an unwelcome addition to high visa fees while perpetuating the populist narrative of immigrants taking advantage of the system.

The British Medical Association estimates actual health tourism – people seeking medical care who aren’t entitled to it – costs the NHS just 0.3 per cent of the health budget.