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Big Immigration Health Surcharge increase for Q1 2024

24 October 2023

The Immigration Health Surcharge will increase from 16 January 2024 at the earliest. The new yearly rate for most affected applicants will jump from £624 to £1,035. Employers and affected applicants should consider applying ahead of the rise where possible.

What is changing?

Subject to limited exceptions, individuals applying for time-limited UK immigration permission are required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Payment of the charge allows access to the same NHS services that UK residents are allowed to access free of charge.

In July 2023, the Government announced an intention to increase the IHS, however the date of implementation was not stated.

Draft regulations now confirm the following rises will take place from 16 January 2024 at the earliest:

Immigration Category Current IHS per year (GBP)  New IHS per year (GBP)
Student, Student dependant, Youth Mobility scheme and applications made by children under 18 on the date of application 470 776
All other relevant immigration categories  624 1035

What should employers and applicants consider in response to this change?

To minimise costs, sponsorship and immigration applications should be made ahead of the rise where possible. Applicants should also consider applying for the maximum immigration permission allowed for their circumstances.

We would suggest employers who sponsor workers should consider taking the following actions:

  • Review the sponsorship pipeline and submit applications for initial sponsorship, extension and/or settlement ahead of the IHS rise wherever possible;
  • Review Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocations and if necessary to facilitate additional applications, request increases using the Priority change of circumstance service;
  • Make any upcoming applications for Skilled Worker defined CoS as soon as possible;
  • Consider assigning CoS for the maximum appropriate length, to avoid or defer paying higher IHS at extension stage, noting that:
    • CoS for fixed-term contracts should still be assigned in line with the length of the contract; and
    • There may be a maximum appropriate CoS length linked to the immigration category, or the situation of the sponsored worker, e.g. if they are relying on being a Skilled Worker new entrant.

Employers should also take the rises into account when budgeting for immigration-related costs going forward.

If you have questions about this development, please get in touch with a member of our Immigration Team.

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