UK Visa fees and charges have increased – and there may be more to come. The Government announced pay rises in the public sector and that they would be partly funded by ‘significant’ increases in UK visa and immigration health surcharge fees for foreign migrants who come to the UK to live, study and work.
Which fees will be impacted by the increase?
The two fees with a ‘significant’ increase are:
- UK Visa application fees
- Immigration health surcharge fees
Increases in other fees, such as those for Certificates of Sponsorship and Confirmations of Acceptance for studies are more modest. This article focuses on the two most ‘significant’ impacts.
When will the fees increase be implemented?
- The Home Office update published on 15 September 2023 announced fees would increase from 04 October 2023. See the announcement here.
- The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) are set to rise from 16 January 2024. The current IHS calculator can be accessed be accessed here
How much will the UK visa fees & Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) increase?
The Government initially announced an expected increase of at least 15% for UK visa fees, impacting entry clearance applications, in-country applications, settlement, and nationality applications.
New fee schedules for each application type can be accessed here.
It is reported that the default IHS for adults other than students is likely to increase from £624 to £1,035 (per year). For children and students, the increase is likely to increase from £470 to £776 (per year). This is yet to be confirmed by the Government.
It seems we are in line for significantly increased costs to migrants who intend to apply for a UK visa, or who are already present in the UK with a valid visa and will be applying for extensions.
Impact of the intended increase in fees
The increases will impact applicants financially, particularly those who have dependants such as spouses and children accompanying them to the UK.
Often these costs are incurred by UK sponsor licence holders in the process of hiring migrants from overseas. Therefore, it is important to understand the costs involved when applying for any visa as the UK visa application fees and immigration health surcharge apply to each applicant and dependants separately.
Applicants applying under the health and care worker visa are likely to remain exempt from having to pay the immigration health surcharge.
Key considerations for Sponsor Licence holders
Sponsor licence holders should consider the impact of this on future recruitment for their business. This will impact popular visa routes such as the Skilled worker and Global Business Mobility route.
Business health check
What should you consider?
- Budget for recruitment and new hires.
- Clawback clauses – as many of the costs mentioned are incurred ‘upfront’ i.e. before the worker joins the business, it may be sensible to consider which fees an employer can recoup, should an employee not join eventually join or leave a few months after joining. A business may benefit from obtaining Employment law advice regarding clawback clauses. Please see below for deductions that cannot be passed on to the sponsored worker.
What you must not do
Prohibited clawbacks – the fees below must not under any circumstance be passed on to or recouped from the sponsored worker:
- The Sponsor Licence fee
- The Certificate of Sponsorship fee
- The Immigration Skills Surcharge
If the Home Office finds that you have attempted to recoup the fees listed under ‘prohibited clawbacks’ from a sponsored migrant, you will be very likely to lose your sponsor licence. This will severely impact the ability of the business to employ new migrants, as well as the current migrants should the business have its licence revoked.
Therefore, a final reminder for businesses to review the budgets allocated to recruitment, particularly recruitment of skilled worker migrants. Finally, remember to comply with sponsor duties throughout.