HOME OFFICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Increase in UK Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) officially announced.
In a pivotal announcement, the UK Government has officially confirmed a significant 66% increase in Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees. Initially disclosed on 13th October 2023, with a scheduled implementation date of 16th January, 2024, the increase faced a legislative delay. Following deliberations by a delegated legislation committee of the House of Commons, the draft Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 was successfully passed on 17th January, 2024. Consequently, the IHS fees will now surge by no earlier than 6th February 2024.
Understanding the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
Introduced on 6th April, 2015, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is designed to ensure that migrants contribute to the cost of healthcare provided by the NHS. Payable upfront alongside most visa applications, the IHS grants individuals full access to the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK. Applicable to those seeking permission to enter the UK for six months or more, as well as individuals making visa applications from within the UK, the IHS covers the duration of any visa application.
Revised Timeline for IHS Increase
Originally set to take effect from 16th January, 2024, the IHS fee increase faced a delay due to deliberations by a delegated legislation committee of the House of Commons. With the passing of the draft Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 on 17th January, 2024, the increased fees will be implemented by no later than 6th February, 2024.
Rationale Behind IHS Increase
The decision to increase the Immigration Health Surcharge aligns with the 2019 manifesto commitment, emphasizing that the Health Charge should reflect the full cost to the NHS of treating Health Charge payers. The increase aims to ensure that the full cost of providing NHS services for Health Charge payers is covered. While initially proposed to fund public sector pay increases, this objective was dropped due to legality issues.
Details of the IHS Increase
The Immigration Health Surcharge is an obligatory payment for individuals seeking UK entry clearance or leave to remain, encompassing access to most healthcare services provided by the National Health Service (NHS). Presently set at £624.00 per year, the imminent changes herald a substantial 66% increase, elevating the annual fee to £1,035.00 for the majority of applicants. Certain categories, such as students, Youth Mobility Scheme applicants, and those under the age of 18, will witness slightly more moderate increments, with fees adjusting to £776.00 annually from the current £470.00. Despite these nuanced variations, all applicants should brace themselves for a significant impact on their financial commitments.
Exemptions from IHS Increase
Certain categories are exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge increase, including Health and Care workers, visitors, applicants under the EU Settlement Scheme, Fiancé applicants under Appendix FM, asylum seekers, and those applying under the Ukraine Scheme. Additionally, individuals applying for indefinite leave to remain, or British Citizenship are not required to pay the IHS.
Applicants facing financial constraints can request a fee waiver, provided they credibly demonstrate their inability to afford the fee.
HOW KTS CAN HELP YOU?
If you require support with an upcoming visa application, KTS Legal Solicitors & Advocates can help. To speak to a member of our immigration team, please contact us on 0044 20 8367 0505 or by email to email@example.com with brief details of your query.