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UK Visa & Immigration Updates [Nov 2023]

Hey there

I'm going to make this quick. I promise. I've quite literally read all the comments on how I tend to ramble and I confirm that the message has landed.

Unfortunately it isn’t good news like you’ve probably guessed because visa fees to move to the UK are going up by more. So without wasting any time let’s get right into it.

So earlier this month the UK visa application fees to move to the UK increased. The 4th of October to be precise. The UK government had also stated it would increase the IHS fees but there was no date mentioned for that.

Well, they’ve announced the date as well as the increase in fees and it's NOT LOOKING GOOD!

What is the IHS?
For those of you not aware, visa costs are broken down into
Visa application fees + IHS fees

This is the money you need to pay the UK government to get a visa to live in the UK. Apart from this there’s also the money you need to prove you have to show that you can support yourself in the UK but we’re not discussing that now so back to the application fees + IHS.

What does the IHS cover?

IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge) is basically the healthcare surcharge that you need to pay to live in the UK and from the name, you can guess, only immigrants pay this. Not UK citizens.

So when people say the UK offers free healthcare that’s true for citizens. Citizens don’t pay a health surcharge. A part of the taxes they pay go towards the NHS.

But for people like you and more who live in the UK with a work permit or a student visa, they need to pay for healthcare in terms of visa fees.

Once you pay this fee, you will get access to free healthcare in the UK. So free visits to the doctor under the NHS (National Health Services) for checkups, accidents & emergencies, minor injuries, family planning services - everything.

So every time you visit a doctor in the UK- you don’t have to pay any consultation charges

It covers some dental procedures at certain dental clinics but dental is mostly charged in the UK. What’s also charged is prescriptions or your medicines.

What's changing?

Now back to the hike. From the 16th of January 2024....

The IHS will rise from £624 per year to £1,035.

The fee for under-18s, students and Youth Mobility Scheme applicants will rise from £470 per year to £776 per year.

So to give you an idea, if you take the instance of someone applying for a skilled worker visa for 3 years. They currently would pay £624 per person per year as IHS. But from Jan 2024, they would have to pay £1035 per person per year. So for a 3 year visa, that’s a total of £3105 which was earlier £1872.

If you take a family of 4 who plan to move to the UK on a 5 year skilled worker visa. If they apply before Jan, they’d need to pay a total of £10,940 for 5 years but come Jan 2024, they need to pay $18,110 for 5 years. Which is an increase of £7,170. Which is the equivalent of Rs. 700,000. Which is a lot of money!

If you’d like to read more on this, you can head over to the House of Commons Library where you can find more information.

How does this impact you?

Now you already know things in the UK are expensive. And while some companies cover the cost of relocation which includes visa fees, a lot of other companies do not cover visa costs. So you, the person applying for the visa would need to cover these health surcharge costs and the visa application costs.

So if you do plan on moving to the UK, I’ll say this again.

Please work out your finances to ensure you’ll actually be making more than you’ll spend in the UK and eventually much more than you currently save in your country.

What should you do?

So what can you do?

Not much to be honest, but if I were you and I planned on moving to the UK shortly, I’d try and expedite the process with your employer as much as possible to try and apply for the visa before the 16th of January, 2024.

Other than that, there isn’t much you can do.

So here’ the thing. If you’d like to know more on the cost of living in the UK head over here.

Until next time!

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