UK increases visa fees, health surcharge for Nigerians, others
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced an increase in visa application fee paid by immigrants.
The announcement came after a speech regarding an increase in public sector wages.
Sunak confirmed that part of the funding for the wage increase will be raised from the foreign migrants who come to the United Kingdom to live and work, the British media said.
He also said the surcharge paid for the state-funded national health service (NHS) by visa applicants by immigrants will “increase significantly”.
The PM, had said a few weeks earlier, at the United States embassy that he would be increasing fees for processing non-immigrant visa (NIV) applications.
The US embassy, according to a statement on its website said the new fees for various visa categories will be implemented from June 17, 2023.
Sunak explained that this was “entirely right” as these fees have not been increased recently.
He said, “If we’re going to prioritise paying public sector workers more, that money has to come from somewhere else because I’m not prepared to put up people’s taxes and I don’t think it would be responsible or right to borrow more because that would just make inflation worse
“So, what we have done are two things to find this money. The first is, we are going to increase the charges that we have for migrants who are coming to this country when they apply for visas and indeed something called the immigration health surcharge (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS.
“All of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over £1 billion. So, across the board visa application fees are going to go up significantly and similarly for the IHS.”
According to Sunak, this move will have no effect on inflation because there would be no new borrowing or spending to fund the increases.
He said the government believes it is appropriate given that the costs have risen since the last hike.
In a tweet, Sunak said: “I just announced a fair way to end the strikes – and already all teaching unions are backing it. It’s a fair deal for workers. And a fair deal for the British taxpayer. This is a major breakthrough for parents and families across the country.”