The Government has announced its intention to increase UK visa application fees by 15% for work visas and by a minimum of 20% for all other types of visa.
The immigration health surcharge will also increase from the current £624 per year to £1,035, and for children under 18, students and Youth Mobility applicants – from the current £470 to £776.
We expect that the changes will be implemented in early September. There has been no announcement about the timing but most likely the proposal will be laid before Parliament after the summer recess, that is after 4 September 2023, and will be put into effect soon after.
The increase will affect a wide range of immigration and nationality fees, which means that fees for naturalisation, registration and Indefinite leave to remain are also expected to increase.
In the context of family immigration, including partner visa and adult dependent relative visa,the increase can be by more than by 20%. The cost of indefinite leave to remain is likely to come up to £2800 per applicant. And applications for naturalisation may increase to close to £2000.
There has been no mention of priority service fees, which currently vary between £500 and £800.
Immigration lawyers have also noticed that there has been no mention of the the Immigration Skills Surcharge, Sponsor Licence application costs, or the costs of assigning a certificate of sponsorship. These have not been changed since the sponsor management system was introduced and and a price increase has been anticipated for a long time.
What is immigration health surcharge and who has to pay the IHS?
The Immigration Health Surcharge (the IHS) is a fee paid in addition to the visa application fee or fee for extension of stay. It applies to all types of visa permitting stay for longer than six months. The immigration Health Surcharge is calculated on a yearly basis. Sponsored employment for a five-year period will require five years worth of IHS. At present, it is £624 x 5=£3120. This amount will increase to £5175 (£1035 x 5). Children under 18 are charged at a lower rate – currently it is £470 per year. After the increase in the fees it will be £776.
Thus, a family of four (two adults and two children) accompanying a sponsored worker for a period of 5 years will be paying £18,110 in Immigration Health Surcharge, which is in addition to the visa fees which will add at least another £6000 to the equation.
An applicant for a partner visa will be paying £3105 in IHS in addition to at least £1800 visa application fee.
If you consider applying for entry clearance or extension of stay in the UK, we recommend making the application as early as possible.