Great UK Immigration Health Surcharge to Surge by 66% in 2024

2024 Brings a 66% Increase in UK Immigration Health Surcharge

UK  : In a recent announcement, the UK  government has set the stage for a significant shake-up in its immigration landscape. The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a key component of the UK’s visa application process, is poised to undergo a substantial 66% increase.

While the government initially hinted at this change in July 2023, the implementation date was left hanging in uncertainty. Now, draft regulations confirm that the IHS hike is scheduled for January 16, 2024, at the earliest.

UK : What is the UK Immigration Health Surcharge?

The IHS, introduced in 2015, is a mandatory fee imposed on individuals applying for UK visas. Payment of this charge grants these individuals access to the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK, mirroring the privilege enjoyed by UK residents. This fee is a one-time upfront cost and must be settled at the time of visa application submission.

The IHS is typically levied on visa applications in two scenarios:

  1. When an individual seeks permission to enter the UK for a duration of six months or longer.
  2. When an individual files a visa application from within the UK, irrespective of the intended stay duration, except for indefinite leave to remain applications.

What’s Changing?

Come January 16, 2024, or 21 days after the relevant legislation passes, whichever is later, the IHS is set to surge from £624 to £1,035 per person per year. Children and students, too, will be affected as the rate for this demographic will escalate from £470 to £776 annually.

Government’s Perspective

John Glen, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, sheds light on the government’s decision behind this move, stating, “We plan to increase the rates of the Immigration Health Surcharge, which have been frozen for the past three years, despite high inflation and wider pressures facing the economy and the system in general, to ensure that it covers the full healthcare costs of those who pay it…. That increase to the Surcharge will help to fund the pay rise for doctors.”

Preparing for the Change

Employers and visa applicants should be proactive in adapting to this change. Employers must consider how the fee increase might impact their recruitment budgets and overall immigration-related costs.

If feasible, submitting applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK before the change takes effect is advisable to avoid the higher charge. Applicants, too, can benefit from this by seeking the maximum immigration permission permitted for their situation before the new rates come into play.

Legal Implications

It’s essential to note that refusing to hire an overseas worker solely due to the increased visa costs can potentially constitute unlawful discrimination. The “cost-plus” approach, which acknowledges that cost can be a legitimate aim but not the sole one, needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis to manage potential risks.


While the impending increase in the immigration health surcharge affects a broad spectrum of visa applicants, some reports suggest that it won’t apply to visitors or individuals seeking permanent residency in the United Kingdom.

A Broader Context

This surge in the IHS aligns with the UK’s recent fee adjustments for various visa categories, including a 15% increase in work and visit visa fees, a 20% hike in family, settlement, and citizenship visas, and a substantial 35% rise in student visas.

Also Read:Jenifer Rajkumar: Champion of Equality, Justice, and Inclusivity

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