The United Kingdom government is set to introduce a new pricing structure for work permits and visas by 2024, with experts predicting a substantial increase of around 20%. This move has raised concerns among individuals planning to emigrate to the UK for work, as the higher fees could pose financial challenges.
While the new measure is yet to be implemented, experts advise prospective migrants to act promptly to avoid the impact of the impending fee hike.
Immigration Fee Changes
Experts believe that the proposed changes in fees for work permits and visas in the UK are likely to be implemented imminently, driven by a strong political will to address immigration concerns before the upcoming General Election.
Notably, the immigration fee changes are presented before Parliament at least 21 days before their implementation.
New Visa Fee Structure and Impact on Applicants
Under the proposed pricing structure, work and visit visa fees will increase by 15%, while other visa types are expected to face a minimum 20% hike.
Additionally, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a contentious fee paid by migrants for healthcare, is set to surge significantly. For adults, the IHS will rise from £624 to £1,035 per year, and for children, it will increase from £470 to £776.
|Visa Type||Fee Increase||Previous Fee (GBP)||New Fee (GBP)|
|Work and Visit Visas||15%||N/A||N/A|
|Other Visa Types||Minimum 20%||N/A||N/A|
|Immigration Health Surcharge – Adults||From £624 to £1,035 per year||£624||£1,035|
|Immigration Health Surcharge – Children||From £470 to £776 per year||£470||£776|
|Skilled Worker Visa (including partners and children) – Three-year visa||N/A||£7,029||£10,695|
The sharp increase in fees has sparked concerns, particularly for individuals holding Skilled Worker visas who intend to bring their partners and children to the UK. For them, a three-year visa cost will rise from £7,029 to £10,695, representing a considerable financial burden.
How to Avoid Paying More for Your UK Visa
While the UK visa fees have not increased yet, if you are planning to visit the UK later this year or in the near future, you can benefit from the following tips to save on visa expenses:
1. Plan Ahead
If you are considering emigrating to the UK for work, start preparing your visa application well in advance. Submitting your application early may allow you to avoid the increased fees if the changes come into effect after your application is processed.
2. Check Eligibility for Discounted Visas
Explore if you qualify for any special visa categories or programs that offer reduced fees. For instance, certain skilled occupations or shortage list jobs may have different pricing structures.
3. Consider Long-Term Visa Options
If you anticipate staying in the UK for an extended period, opting for longer-term visa options might be cost-effective. Longer visas often come with lower overall fees than renewing multiple shorter-term visas.
4. Seek Professional Advice
Engage with immigration experts or solicitors who can guide you through the visa application process. They can help you understand the potential cost implications and suggest the most suitable visa pathway for your situation.
5. Monitor Official Updates
Stay informed about any official announcements regarding visa fee changes. Keep track of news from reliable sources or official government websites to ensure you are aware of the latest developments.
In conclusion, the UK government’s plan to raise work permit and visa charges is likely to have a significant impact on prospective migrants. As the implementation date approaches, individuals with plans to work in the UK are advised to act swiftly and finalize their applications before the fee hike takes effect.