The Government has announced of pay rises in the public sector – and that they will be partly funded by 'significant' increases in UK visa and immigration health surcharge fees for foreign migrants who come to the UK to live, study and work.

Which fees will be impacted by the increase?

The two fees that will face the 'significant' increase will be:

  • UK Visa application fees
  • Immigration health surcharge fees

Increases in other fees, such as those for Certificates of Sponsorship and Confirmations of Acceptance for studies are more modest. This article will focus on the two most 'significant' impacts.

When will the fees increase be implemented?

The Home Office update published on 15 September 2023 announced fees will increase from 04 October 2023. See the announcement here.

The date for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) has not yet been confirmed, but is due to take place later in the Autumn. The current IHS calculator can be accessed be accessed here.

How much will the UK visa fees & Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)increase?

The Government initially announced an expected increase of at least 15% for UK visa fees, impacting entry clearance applications, in-country applications, settlement, and nationality applications.

New fee schedules for each application type can be accessed here.

It was reported that the default IHS for adults other than students is likely to increase from £624 to £1,035 (per year). For children and students, the increase is likely to increase from £470 to £776 (per year). This is to be confirmed by Government.

It seems we are in line for significantly increased cost to migrants who intend to apply for a UK visas, or who are already present in the UK with a valid visa and will be applying for extensions.

Impact of the intended increase of fees

The increases will impact applicants financially, particularly those who have dependants such as spouse and children accompanying them to the UK.

Often these costs are incurred by UK sponsor licence holders in the process of hiring migrants from overseas. Therefore, it is important to understand the costs involved when applying for any visa as the UK visa application fees & immigration health surcharge applies to each applicant and dependants separately.

Applicants applying under the health and care worker visa are likely to remain exempt from having to pay the immigration health surcharge.

Key considerations for Sponsor Licence holders

Sponsor licence holders should consider the impact of this on future recruitment for their business. This will impact popular visa routes such as the Skilled worker and Global Business Mobility route.

Business health check

What should you consider?

  • Budget for recruitment and new hires.
  • Clawback clauses – as many of the costs mentioned are incurred 'upfront' i.e. before the worker joins the business, it may be sensible to consider which fees an employer can recoup, should an employee not join eventually join or leave a few months after joining. A business may benefit from obtaining Employment law advice regarding clawback clauses. Please see below for deductions that cannot be passed on to the sponsored worker.

What you must not do

Prohibited clawbacks – the fees below must not under any circumstance be passed on to or recouped from the sponsored worker:

  • The Sponsor licence fee
  • The Certificate of Sponsorship fee
  • The Immigration Skills Surcharge

If the Home Office finds that you have attempted to recoup the fees listed under 'prohibited clawbacks' from a sponsored migrant, you will be very likely to lose your sponsor licence. This will severely impact the ability of the business to employ new migrants, as well as the current migrants should the business have their licence revoked.

Therefore, a final reminder for businesses to review the budgets allocated to recruitment, particularly recruitment of skilled worker migrants. Finally remembering to comply with sponsor duties throughout.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.