The increases will help pay for public sector pay hikes
The planned 15 to 20 percent increase in fees for a range of immigration and nationality services announced in July came into effect on 4th October 2023.
The money raised will help “pay for vital services and allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises,” according to a statement on the government website. It will also help the Home Office run a sustainable immigration and nationality system.
The changes include increases of 15 percent to most work and visit visa fees, a 35 percent increase to the student visa fee charged to those applying from overseas, 20 percent increases to wider entry clearance visa fees, as well as 20 percent increases to fees for British citizenship, settlement, and Certificates of Sponsorship or Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies.
The increase is subject to Parliamentary approval but does not include the planned rise to the Immigration Health Surcharge to £1,035 per year from £624. This will be introduced later in the Autumn. The changes mean that the cost for a visit visa for less than six months is rising by £15 to £115. The fee for applying for a student visa from outside the U.K. will rise by £127 to £490, to equal the amount charged for in-country applications.
The cost to apply to settle in the U.K. or `indefinite leave to remain’ will increase by 20 percent to £2,885 per person. For a family of four that would add up to £11,540. Similarly, the price of a settlement visa will rise to £1,846 per person.
The U.K. government is seeking to raise about £1 billion from the increase in visa fees and the health levy after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government approved recommendations to boost wages of teachers, doctors and police by between five and seven percent. He ruled out an increase in taxes to fund the pay rises. Net migration in the U.K. hit a record 606,000 in 2022, according to figures released in May, piling pressure on the government, which has pledged to cut dependency on foreign labour.
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