Brace Your Pockets: Visa and Health Surcharge Fees Surge in the UK- Here’s the New Toll on Your Wallet!

Autumn’s Approach ushers in new visa and health surcharge fees surge in the UK 


Often we Indians have a dream of visiting the UK at least once in our lifetime. It may be simply through a tourist visa to see the iconic Victorian landmarks, breath-taking coastal views, or the Scottish Highlands, or a student visa to pursue higher education at one of the historical universities, or a work visa to get employed in a top notch UK-based firm/organization/company. We may have different plans, but it is important to update oneself with the latest changes in the visa application.


And one such latest update from the UK government is regarding the new fee structure for visa and health surcharge applications. Aimed towards meeting the surge in public sector wages, as the government attempts to settle disputes with trade unions over salary and employment terms. A hike of 15 % and 66% in the Visa and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) (hereinafter “health surcharge”) fees has been set out, respectively, across the board. However, there has been no official announcement from the incumbency as to when this substantial top up in the fees will come into effect. Moreover, the timing of the updates suggest that it may be as soon as Autumn 2023. 



Key changes expected:-


Precise information with respect to the latest rules and regulations are expected soon, but the key changes are:

  • Health Surcharge is expected to rise from GBP 624 to GBP 1035 per year for adults, and GBP 776 per annum for youth and children below 18.
  • Hike in the visa application fees by 15 %.
  • Fees for student visa, certificate of sponsorship, settlement, citizenship, and all the other related applications might surge by at least 20%.
  • No changes in the price of priority services whether the applicants apply inside or outside the UK.

Rise in the health surcharge, and exceptions to the same:-


Frosted for the past three years, a surge in the health surcharge would heavily impact the total price of visa applications. And this is especially with respect to families. It is important to understand that the payment of a health surcharge is important as it ensures access to cost-free health care services for the visa applicants through the National Health Service (NHS). Now this is irrespective of the fact that the applicant has private medical insurance cover. Further, the payment of the health surcharge is made in a lump sum together with the other visa fees. The expected hike in the overall health surcharge will help compensate for the rise in the payment to doctors.


It is not necessary for everyone to pay the health surcharge fee. A person applying for a work visa for more than a period of 6 months must pay the same. However, there are certain applicants who are exempted from making the said payment. These include:

  • an applicant outside the UK for a visa of at least 6 months or less
  • an applicant for a visitor visa
  • an applicant for settlement or citizenship of Britain
  • an applicant to the EU Settlement Scheme or pre-settled status or settled status.

Suggestions to the Employer


Amidst the cost of living crisis, the hike in the fee structure will result in some real difficulties for individuals and businesses, with special emphasis upon new start-ups and Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs).


It is utterly important that a few factors are well considered by these employers to minimize these challenges:


  • Give a shot in the arm to the future applicants of the UK visa to see if they can benefit from the current lower fee rates before the upcoming changes come into effect. For instance, a worker applying for a 5-year visa will save up to GBP 2000 in health surcharges alone if the application is made before the changes roll out. 
  • Have a sequential outlook on the cost of a visa the business would cover on behalf of employees. There are instances wherein the employers would agree to cover all the visa costs barring the accompanying family members. While others would agree to meet few of the costs of their newly appointed employees. But it is important to comprehend that in sponsored cases, it is illegal to pay for the immigration skill charge, as the sponsors are liable to pay for the same.
  • An employer should definitely consider a “clawback agreement”, which basically requires the employee/benefactor to payback a portion of visa costs if they leave the job within a stipulated time period post- visa approval. This agreement should be drafted with due concentration by a lawyer, as it is important to have a “reasonable” agreement devoid of any penalty, for it to be enforceable. This reasonableness depends upon the overall salary package of the employee to see whether the sum to be repaid is reasonable and legal. And would commonly mean that the sum repayable should be reduced over time. 

Connect with our team of immigration lawyers for expert assistance


These headways are always tracked by the Irish Expert. Should you have any query, or need some expert advice and assistance in relation to the UK immigration laws, including crucial updates on the visa application, contact our team of immigration lawyers. Our experienced immigration lawyers assist individuals with visas, and other immigration matters across India, UK, and the UAE. We provide every client personalized access to a team of lawyers who minutely understand the complicated nexus of immigration laws and the extensive impact of these legal rules on an individual’s life. Our aim is to guide and help you !

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