UK visa has turned costlier for Indian and non-EU nationals on Tuesday (8) following a decision to increase the immigration health surcharge (IHS), which is payable when the applicants request for a UK visa.
The IHS introduced in 2015 which enables the migrants to access the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK. Since the introduction of IHS, the surcharge raised more than £600 million from the migrants with UK visa valid for more than six months.
The health surcharge has been doubled on Tuesday. Accordingly, the surcharge will rise from £200 to £400 a year with the discounted rate for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme increasing from £150 to £300.
The migrants who apply for a UK visa on or after Tuesday should pay the new surcharges.
The latest visa surcharge hike will affect all migrants including professionals, students, as well as members of the family who move to the UK. An Indian professional with a family of four who moves to the UK to stay and work must pay £1600 a year, besides other visa costs.
The IHS hike has been opposed by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, which wrote to home secretary Sajid Javid to drop it.
Immigrants who have achieved the status of permanent residents after a period of legal stay in the UK need not pay the surcharge.
The new announcement is likely to increase an estimated £220 million in extra funding for the government-run NHS. The surcharge permits any immigrant in the UK to work, study for six months or more to obtain the services of NHS akin to UK citizens.
Short-term migrants, including those on visitor visas, are generally charged for secondary care treatment by the NHS at the point of access.