Nina Holmes reports on the latest update on the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) coming up on the 6th of February 2024 and what it means for employers.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee imposed on the majority of individuals applying for immigration permission in the UK to allow them access to the National Health Service in the UK on the same basis as a UK resident. It is an annual upfront cost paid alongside the submission of most visa applications and normally applies to individuals applying for permission to enter the UK for a period of 6-months or more.
From the 6th of February 2024, the IHS will increase by 66% from £624 to £1,035 per year and will apply to all visa applications submitted on or after this date.
The discounted rates for students, under 18s and Youth Mobility Scheme applications will also increase from £470 to £776.
The increase comes about following the Government’s 2019 manifesto commitment by ‘ensuring that the full cost of providing NHS services for those who pay the Health Charges are covered’.
This will depend on how long you intend to stay in the UK and whether you’re applying as an adult or a child:
Note that the IHS is charged in 6-monthly increments, meaning that applicants must pay half of their annual fee for a period of 6 months or less, and the full annual fee for any period more than 6 months.
Immigration visa applications made on or after the 6th of February 2024 must pay the increased fee, so applicants wishing to avoid being hit by this fee should consider applying for UK immigration permission before the new fees take effect.
Employers may also wish to consider proceeding with applications for foreign national employees as soon as possible to avoid being caught by the fee changes. You will also need to be mindful of the timescales for receiving a Certificate of Sponsorship (which will allow the applicant to progress with their visa application and pay the IHS), which depends on whether a visa application is made inside or outside the UK.
Any failure to pay the IHS will result in an invalid application and the visa application will not be processed. Applications submitted within the UK will be rejected in just 10 working days, while those submitted from outside the UK will receive notification within 7 working days.
There is no IHS for health and care workers, visitors or applicants under the EU Settlement Scheme. Likewise, there is no IHS for those claiming asylum or those applying for entry clearance under the Ukraine Scheme. This also applies to those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British Citizenship.
If you are worried about the increase fees or want to discuss these changes in further detail, please get in touch.
For all other immigration queries, contact our dedicated and experienced immigration team here.