July 19, 2023

UK Government Announces Significant Increase to Immigration Fees

On 13 July 2023, the UK Government announced a significant increase to visa application fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Key points to note:

  • The fees for work and visit visas will increase by 15%.
  • The fees for student visas, certificates of sponsorship (CoS), settlement, citizenship, wider entry clearance and leave to remain, as well as priority visas will increase by at least 20%.
  • Student visas and priority service applications will be equalised, so that applicants pay the same whether they apply from inside or from outside the UK.
  • The main Immigration Health Surcharge rate will increase to £1,035, with the lower rate for students and applicants under the age of 18 increasing to £776.
  • The Immigration Skills Charge fee, currently set at £1000/£364 per year (depending on the size of the company, may also be increased; however this was not made clear in the announcement.

Current UK visa fees can be found on the UK Government website here.

The Minister for Immigration later announced a number of changes intended to simplify the fee structure and application process. Specifically, fees that have become or will soon be redundant as a result of the transition to a system of digital evidence of immigration status are being abolished or ‘are no longer required to support the wider policy objectives’. These changes include:

  • Removal of the £19.20 biometric enrolment fee.
  • Removal of £161 fee for transfer of conditions applications.
  • Removal of fees for amendments such as a migrant’s name, nationality, sex marker and photograph on physical documents.
  • Removal of fees for Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) where a document has expired and entails no further changes, such as expiration of BRPs for migrants holding Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Finally, the Minister also announced that the current sponsorship scheme is being reformed and replaced by a new scheme, ‘Sponsor a Worker’. In the current system, certificates of sponsorships are issued to visa applicants by their employers, and the applicants submit the documents with their visa applications. The Sponsor a Worker scheme will be tested in 2024 and will initially be operating alongside the existing CoS system.

Looking Ahead

No announcement has been made on when the fee increases will take effect.

Employers and sponsors of overseas workers, as well as individuals who require permission to live and work in the UK, should take note of the upcoming fee increases and consider making applications early to offset the risk of paying more for future applications.

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