Immigration costs to increase again

23 / 03 / 2020

Whilst headlines have focused on COVID – 19 and implications for NHS resources, a couple of almost unnoticed lines in the Rishi Sunak’s budget will increase costs for many overseas workers and their employers in the UK.

The Immigration Health Surcharge is charged on all applications for temporary visas and extensions for more than 6 months. The amount payable is calculated as an annual cost based on the length of the immigration permission requested – although the full amount is payable upfront at the time of the immigration application.

Initially introduced in 2015 and set at £200 per person per year the fee doubled in 2019 to £400 per person per year. From October this year the fee will increase again, this time jumping to £624 per person per year an increase of 212% over 6 years.

For Tier 2 worker applying for a 3 year visa, for example, this will mean that in addition to the visa application fee of £610 a further £1872 will be payable for the Immigration Health Surcharge. As this cost is often reimbursed by the employer this will increase yet again the punitive costs on employers of sponsoring overseas workers. (See my earlier piece
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/immigration-fees-hit-record-levels-julia-jackson/.)

Tier 4 students and Youth Mobility visa holders currently pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the lower rate of £300 per person per year. They will see an increase of over 50% to £470 per person per year in October this year. This same rate will also payable by any children under 18 coming to the UK, for example as dependants of a Tier 2 worker.

Employers are advised to consider working with their overseas employees to apply for new
visas and extensions early (ideally August or September) to avoid the increased costs.