US

Oct 07 2020

Immigration Health Surcharge Increase Forthcoming

United Kingdom

At a Glance

  • Effective October 27, 2020, the Immigration Health Surcharge – a mandatory fee that applies to all foreign nationals staying in the United Kingdom for at least six months – will increase to GBP 624 per year, up 56 percent from the previous amount.
  • The discounted rate for students, student dependants, Youth Mobility Scheme and children (under 18) applicants will increase to GBP 470, up 56.7 percent from the previous amount.
  • An exemption will apply to applicants using the Health and Care visa route.

The situation

On October 6, 2020, the UK government signed the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2020. Consequently, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a mandatory fee that applies to all foreign nationals staying in the United Kingdom for at least six months, will increase from October 27, 2020.

A closer look

  • Standard rate. The IHS will increase to GBP 624 per year, up from GBP 400 per year, for non-EU/European Economic Area nationals and their dependents successfully applying to enter the United Kingdom for six months or more, or those applying to extend their stay.
  • Discounted rate. The IHS will increase to GBP 470 per year, up from GBP 300 per year, for students, student dependants, Youth Mobility Scheme applicants and children (under 18).
  • Exemption. An exemption from the IHS fee will apply to applicants using the Health and Care visa route created by the UK government earlier this year.
  • EU/European Economic Area nationals. As a reminder, effective January 1, 2021, EU/European Economic Area nationals applying under the new UK immigration system must pay the IHS, among other visa fees.

 

Impact

Sponsoring employers who pay this charge on behalf of their workforce should budget for the substantial increase in overall cost.

Background

The previous draft Order did not account for the exemption from IHS for applicants using the Health and Care visa route created by the UK government this year.  The government has since withdrawn and redrafted the Order, causing a delay in the originally intended rollout date of October 1, 2020.

Paying the IHS allows visa holders to access the National Health Service (NHS), the United Kingdom’s health care system, similar to UK nationals or permanent residents. The IHS must be paid at the start of a visa application process and is reimbursed for unsuccessful applicants.

The IHS was introduced in April 2015, with gradual increases and expansion to more nationalities and permit types. Fees were last increased in January 2019, when the IHS was doubled.

Looking ahead

The current increase further raises already significant UK immigration fees, in line with the government’s preference for local workers and a desire to develop alternative solutions for foreign workers. Fragomen expects immigration fees in the United Kingdom to continue to increase.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].