The Government has today published the draft Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023, which confirms that the expected increases to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will take effect from 16th January 2024, or 21 days after the order is passed by Parliament, whichever is later.
Although the order is subject to the Affirmative Procedure and so must be approved by Parliament, there is little doubt that the order will pass well before the end of December, so the implementation date will almost certainly be 16th January 2024.
As expected, the increases to the Immigration Health Surcharge will be as follows:
- Students, Youth Mobility Scheme applicants and children under 18: £470 > £776 per year
- All other applicants: £624 > £1,035 per year
Health & Care Worker visa applicants will continue to be exempt from the IHS.
The Immigration Health Surcharge will continue to be payable at the time of the visa application, in full, for the full length of the visa applied for. By way of an example, the IHS payments for a family of four applying for 3-year Skilled Worker visas will increase significantly from £6,564 to £10,866.
These increases will apply to anyone submitting an application on or after the implementation date (almost certainly 16 January 2024), including Skilled Worker visa holders changing employers, or anyone extending their visa or switching to a different category.
Visa holders who are applying to switch category or change employers before their visa ends will have to pay the increased amount for any overlapping periods. Unless UKVI changes its policy, it is likely that UKVI will refund the lower amount that has been paid previously for any overlapping periods. This means that a Skilled Worker visa holder who already has a 5-year visa and who wants to switch employer after 3 years will need to pay £1,035 per year for the new period they are applying for but will only receive a refund of £624 per year for any overlapping period.
As with all fee increases, the best way to avoid this increase is to apply before 16th January 2024, which is the earliest date these increases will take effect.
If you have any questions about how this change will impact the migrant workers you sponsor or those you are intending to sponsor, please get in touch for a free initial assessment and a conversation about how best to proceed and how we could help.