This week, on July 13th, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a substantial increase in visa application fees, along with a corresponding rise in the immigration health surcharge, granting migrants access to the National Health Service (NHS).

He clarified that the increase in fees was intended to assist the government in generating additional funds for various public expenditure areas. However, it is important to understand the reasons behind the rise in visa application fees, the current fee structure, and what migrants can anticipate with the implementation of the new fees. Here is a comprehensive overview of all the available information.

Why are Visa Fees Rising?

In a speech addressing recent strikes regarding public sector wages, the Prime Minister announced the increase in visa application fees.

After months of industrial action, the Prime Minister issued a confirmation that teachers will receive a 6.5% pay raise, while junior doctors will obtain a 6% increase. Additionally, police officers, who are not allowed to strike, will witness a 7% salary raise.

Mr Sunak explained that the government will derive a portion of the funding for the public sector wage increase from the fees paid by foreign migrants who wish to live and work in the United Kingdom.

“To secure these funds, we have implemented two measures. Firstly, we will raise the fees imposed on migrants when they apply for visas to enter the country.”

“And indeed, we are also increasing the immigration health surcharge, which is the fee migrants pay to access the National Health Service (NHS). As a result, all of these fees will be raised, ultimately generating over a billion pounds.”

Rishi Sunak – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Sunak clarified that the pay increases presented by the Government were the final offer, and no further negotiations would take place throughout the year, irrespective of any potential future strikes.

Current UK Visa Fees

Several factors determine the visa fees paid by migrants, including the type of visa they seek, the intended duration of their stay, the primary purpose of their visit, the number of entries required, the industry of their employment, and other relevant considerations.

For the most up-to-date UK visa fees across all categories, one can refer to the Government website. When the immigration health surcharge was first introduced in March 2015, migrants had to pay £200 per application.

In December 2018, the fee for the immigration health surcharge doubled to £400. Subsequently, in December 2020, it further increased to £624 for adult applicants and £470 for discounted applicants, which encompassed children and students.

New UK Visa Fees

The Government has announced a 15% increase in work and visa fees for the UK, with all other visa fees anticipated to rise by a minimum of 20%. The specific date for the implementation of these new fees remains uncertain at present. The immigration health surcharge has undergone an increase, and it now stands at £1,035 per person per year.

Students and children who qualify for a discount will now need to pay £776, signifying a notable 66% increase.