The UK government is set to significantly raise the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) starting in January 2024. This increase will affect individuals from outside the UK who pay this surcharge during their visa application process, impacting their ability to access the National Health Service (NHS).
For those looking to live, work or study in the UK, it’s important to be aware of and understand these upcoming changes.
The IHS was introduced to help fund the NHS, providing non-UK residents access to healthcare services during their stay. It is paid by individuals who are applying for a visa to stay in the UK for more than six months.
This rise in the health surcharge is a key change for anyone coming to the UK, as it will affect how much it costs to access healthcare.
Currently (December 2023), the surcharge is £624 per year for most adults and £470 per year for students, youth mobility visa holders, and those under the age of 18.
New rates from January 2024
On 16th January 2024, the UK’s Immigration Health Surcharge will see a notable increase. For anyone over 18, it will jump from £624 to £1035. This is significant as increasing the financial requirements for immigrants will directly impact their ability to access healthcare services through the NHS.
It’s an important change that will make moving to the UK more expensive and requires careful budgeting. This is part of a bigger approach to balance healthcare funding with the benefits of having people from different countries in the UK.
Impact on immigrants
This news of the increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge may cause concern for those considering moving to Britain, as they will have to think about its impact on their plans.
Financially, this rise in the IHS means a significant increase in the total cost of the immigration process, which could influence decisions about studying, working or reuniting with family in the UK.
However, despite this increase, paying the IHS still grants immigrants access to the NHS on similar terms as UK residents, allowing them to use healthcare services without additional fees for most treatments once the surcharge is paid.
How will it affect different visa categories?
Students and workers
The increase in the UK’s Immigration Health Surcharge will especially affect families moving to Britain. Now, every family member has to pay the higher charge, which makes the total cost of moving much more expensive. This could make families think twice about relocating.
Response and criticism
The increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge has sparked a mix of responses and criticisms. Some people support the hike, arguing that it’s necessary for immigrants to contribute more to the UK’s healthcare system.
On the other hand, critics argue that the increase places an unfair financial burden on immigrants, particularly those coming for work or study, and could discourage skilled individuals from moving to the UK.
This debate highlights the challenge of balancing the need for healthcare funding with maintaining an open and accessible immigration policy.
The importance of budgeting for the change
When planning to move to the UK and budgeting for the Immigration Health Surcharge increase, it’s important to factor in the new rates for each family member.
Start by calculating the total surcharge based on the number of people and the duration of your stay. It’s also wise to set aside a contingency fund to cover any unexpected changes in surcharge rates or exchange rate fluctuations.
Planning well in advance and incorporating the IHS into your overall immigration budget will help ensure a smoother financial transition to life in the UK.
Immigration guidance with Osbourne Pinner
If you are considering applying for a visa under any immigration visa category or for a Global Talent Visa or want to know more about the immigration health surcharge increase, we are here to help. Osbourne Pinner provides tailored and empathetic legal services, making them a trusted partner in navigating UK immigration law, including the nuances of the Global Talent Visa.