13 Oct 2018
UK visa cost to increase significantly for Indians, non-EU immigrants
With plans in place to raise the immigration health surcharge (IHS) that is payable when students, professionals, and family members apply for a UK visa, the overall cost for a UK visa is set to go up for Indians as well as non-EU immigrants.
Introduced in 2015, the IHS enables immigrants to access the UK's National Health Service (NHS).
Here are the details.
The new rates will take effect from December
According to plans the surcharge will be doubled from the current £200 a year to £400 a year. However, students and those on a youth mobility scheme would have to pay a discounted rate of £300 per annum.
The new rates are expected to be put into effect from December after parliamentary approval, and understandably, costs for a UK visa will rise significantly.
The revised rates reflect the costs incurred by the NHS
Commenting on the proposed rise in rates, UK immigration minister Caroline Nokes said that the increases reflect the actual costs incurred by the NHS for treating immigrants.
It is estimated that the NHS, on an average, spends around £470 per annum per person for treating immigrants who pay the surcharge.
Meanwhile, the NHS charges short-term immigrants on the spot for secondary healthcare.
Since 2015, the IHS has raised £600mn from non-EU immigrants
Since 2015, the IHS has raised over £600mn from Indians and other non-EU immigrants with visas valid for over six months. The IHS is not levied on immigrants who achieve the status of permanent residents after an extended period of legal stay in the UK.
Despite the rate hike, NHS still offers a good deal
"It's only fair that people who come to the UK make a contribution to the running of the NHS, and even with the increase we still continue to offer a good deal on healthcare for those seeking to live in the UK temporarily," said Nokes.