Business Immigration Update: Increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge from 16 January 2024
Most individuals that apply for a UK visa to obtain the right to live and work in the UK are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) so that they can access NHS healthcare for free until expiration of their visa.
Already, the IHS is a significant cost to applicants but, following a recent Government announcement, that cost is set to rise. From 16 January 2024 (at the earliest), for most applicants, the IHS will increase from £624 to £1,035 per year (an increase of £411 per year). For children under 18 years old, students and individuals applying to via the Youth Mobility Scheme, the increase will be from £470 per year to £776 per year (an increase of £306 per year).
To lay bare the impact of the increase: From 16 January 2024, the IHS to be paid by an individual applying for a skilled worker visa with leave to remain for five years would be £5,175 rather than the current rate of £3,120. If the individual wished to be joined by her dependent husband and two children, the IHS would be a staggering £18,110 rather than the current rate of £10,940.
Payment of the IHS primarily rests with the applicant however, in recognition that UK visa costs (including the IHS) often put off good candidates applying for roles and / or accepting positions in the UK, employers often agree to cover them. If this applies to you and your organisation, you should consider how the increase to the IHS might impact both your recruitment budget and, in turn, your appetite to continue to cover IHS costs for prospective employees. If you do agree to continue to cover the IHS (and, in any event, if you agree to cover any other visa application costs other than the IHS), you should ensure that relevant employees’ contracts of employment provide for repayment of such costs if they choose to leave your employment within a certain timeframe.
If you have a candidate in mind who will be required to make a visa application in order to work for your organisation, they should be encouraged to make the application ahead of 16 January 2024 to take advantage of the current, lower IHS rate.
Please do get in touch with us if you would like to discuss how the rise in the IHS might you and your business by clicking here