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In the past year, the UK government has made various prominent changes to its visa, immigration, and study abroad policies. Their motive to do so is simple: a steady decline in the peak-high migration to the UK for the last three years. The latest news is that a compulsory fee, i.e., IHS, is set to be increased in 2024. Let’s start with the basics.

What is IHS?
As per the UK government, IHS is a fee that is mandatory to be paid as a part of your immigration application, if it applies to you. It is a fee that must be paid if you want to avail yourself of free healthcare at the NHS for the duration of your stay.

Who needs to pay for it?
One needs to pay the IHS (if they’re applying for a visa or immigration application):
  • For more than 6 months, if you’ve been applying from outside the UK.
  • For any length of time, if you’re applying from inside the UK.

 

Who does not need to pay for it?

  • One applying for a visitor visa.
  • One applying to remain in the UK permanently.

Otherwise, the IHS is mandatory to be paid (if it applies to you), even if you have private medical insurance.


What changes are coming?
The UK government has proposed in parliament an Immigration Health Surcharge Amendment for 2023, which follows the details of an expected increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

The decision will come into effect on January 16, 2024, if further approved by both houses of parliament.

Once the IHF amendment is approved, the following surge can be seen in IHS:

  • The fees will range from £624 to £1,035 annually, depending on the visa category.
  • For those under 18, students, and youth mobility scheme applicants, the fee will rise from £470 to £776 annually.

If you don’t wish to pay the increased fee, apply for your visa as soon as possible and before January 16, 2024. This change is going to affect every migrant, including the students, the workers, and the people migrating as a family.

 

The backlash:
The IHS, a mandatory fee for accessing NHS healthcare introduced in 2015, has been a subject of debate. Supporters argue that it helps offset healthcare costs, while critics point out that migrants already contribute through employment taxes. The IHS applies to applicants for
certain visas, but not all.
This increase in the fee, along with the other changes in the visa policies, might further lessen the number of immigrants coming to the UK in the coming year.

Conclusion:
Obtaining a UK visa already incurs one of the highest immigration fees, which will increase more because of these adjustments made to the HIS.
The points that should be taken into account are that costs can vary depending on the following factors:
  • Number of years one is planning to stay.
  • IHS is applied per person, so people immigrating as a family have a higher cost.

If you’re looking to apply for a UK visa, set up a meeting with a trusted immigration lawyer who will simplify every detail for you and save you from getting into any confusion. Plan your next move as soon as possible and save yourself from this significant change in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) before it comes into effect on January 16, 2024.


You can also visit https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application for an overview.
NOTE: The information provided is current as of December 16th, 2023, and could be subject to change (according to the UK government).

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