Dubai: In what could be a blow to migration plans of thousands of applicants, the UK government is expected to bring an increased immigration health surcharge (IHS) into effect starting from January next year.
The surcharge is set to increase by over 65 per cent per applicant. The date is expected to be January 16, 2024 or 21 days after Parliament gives the go-ahead for the approved change – whichever is later.
The annual surcharge will increase from £624 (Dh2,810) to £1,035 (Dh4,661) per person. This increased charge is applicable only on applications submitted after the change scheduled in 2024. For children and student applicants, the fee will increase to £776 (Dh3495) from £470 (Dh2,117).
This change will also affect employers who focus on hiring foreign talent, as their budgets will now have to account for the increased charges applicable on each visa.
The change in fees was proposed in July after the government agreed to increase wages for public sector workers by 6.5 per cent. The IHS change is just one of the measures proposed to meet the cost of the wage increase.
With the deadline just over two months away, UK employers may bring forward foreign employee transfers and approved hires to save on charges. Meanwhile, immigration agencies are urging applicants to complete and send in applications before January 16 to save money on their visa fees.