The government has recently announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is payable by nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area who stay in the United Kingdom for six months or longer, will soon rise from £200 to £400 a year. The discounted rate for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme will go up from £150 to £300.
While a huge increase, it is below the tripling of the charge which was proposed in the Conservative Party’s Manifesto of 2017, and there is therefore concern that the amounts could increase further in the future. The IHS already represents a significant financial burden for many applicants and the increase will only worsen the impact: a spouse applying to join their partner in the UK will face an outlay of £1200 in addition to the expensive Home Office application fees.
The government say the rise will provide “an extra £220 million a year to support the NHS”. Quite how far an extra £220m will stretch against an annual budget of £122 billion remains to be seen.
We think that this change will come into force at the beginning of April 2018. Therefore if you are in a position to make an application before then, you may want to consider doing so. Equally, for those who are part-way through their five year route to settlement, we would expect the higher amount to be due on the extension application and you will need to plan accordingly. In most cases, this means that you will need to find another £500 to make a successful application.
If you have questions about the increase, or would like to book an initial consultation for tailored, individual advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.