Update: Confirmed date for increase to Immigration Health Surcharge

The government first announced an increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in July 2023, stating that they expected this to come into force in Autumn 2023.

As a result of the required parliamentary process, that increase has been delayed for some months, but the process is now close to completion and the final date for the increase is confirmed.

Earlier this week, The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 was approved by both houses of parliament and made into law. The Order comes into force 21 days later, meaning the increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge will come into force on 6 February 2024. 

From 6 February 2024, the IHS will increase by 66%. The current standard IHS rate is £624 per person per year of leave to remain granted and this will increase to £1,035 per year. Similarly, the discounted rate for students and under-18s will increase from £470 per year to £776. 

The government argues that the increase to the surcharge will help to fund the NHS and ensure that it covers the full cost to the NHS of treating people required to pay it.

It is certain that the increase will impact overseas nationals who are living in the UK or wish to move here on a long-term basis (the IHS is payable where a visa is granted for more than 6 months). Employers of overseas nationals, who often rely on the option of sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route may also now struggle to find candidates willing to bear these costs to make the move to the UK. Although employers are not required to pay for a sponsored worker’s visa application fees and immigration health surcharge, it is common for employers to offer to pay for this as part of the employment package, meaning that employers may now need to re-consider the cost benefit before offering this, or rely on Clawback Agreements to recover these fees (we look at this point more closely in our earlier article). 

For those who need to pay the IHS soon, either for themselves or for their employees, it’s absolutely worthwhile to consider whether any upcoming applications to enter the UK, extend leave to remain or settle in the UK should be made as soon as possible to avoid paying higher fees, where the current immigration status and route to settlement will allow for this.

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.

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