24 June, 2024

Osbourne Pinner’s Essential Guide to the 2024 Immigration Health Surcharge Hike

Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, a distinguished law firm in London, is poised to assist clients in navigating the impending 2024 increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Anticipating the complexities this hike presents, the firm is committed to providing vital support for those considering a move to the UK or looking to extend their residency.

With the IHS rate set to rise in 2024, prospective immigrants are likely to encounter confusion and apprehension. To address these concerns, Osbourne Pinner is offering in-depth guidance and transparent information to help individuals affected by the changes make informed decisions.

The importance of understanding the financial implications of the upcoming IHS increase cannot be overstated for potential immigrants. The new rates signify a considerable change in the cost of moving to the UK, making it crucial for immigrants to prepare adequately.

The IHS is a mandatory fee that immigrants pay to support the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), granting them healthcare access comparable to that of UK residents. The fee is tiered, with different rates for adults, children under 18, students, and Youth Mobility visa applicants. Currently, most adults pay an annual rate of £624, while students, Youth Mobility visa holders, and under-18s are charged £470 each year.

Beginning 16th January 2024, the IHS rates will witness a sharp increase, marking a significant financial shift for those applying for visas. The surcharge will jump from £624 to £1,035, a move aimed at effectively managing migration and ensuring migrants contribute equitably to public services, particularly the NHS. Osbourne Pinner provides expert advice on the impact of this change for people and families planning to relocate to the UK.

Consider, for instance, a family of five applying for a Skilled Worker visa under the revised IHS rates; they would face a total cost of £25,875. This is calculated based on the new rate of £1,035 per person per year for the main applicant and four dependents, over a standard 5-year visa period, demonstrating the substantial financial planning necessary under the new framework.

The increased IHS rates will also significantly affect sponsors, including businesses and family members who support UK visa applicants. This change implies a more substantial financial obligation for sponsors, particularly those who opt to cover the IHS fees. For businesses, this could lead to increased expenditure in recruiting international talent, potentially impacting their hiring strategies. Family sponsors may also experience greater financial pressure, especially when supporting several family members, which could influence their sponsorship decisions.

The IHS rate rise will particularly impact families applying for spouse visas, imposing a formidable financial burden on their plans to reunite or settle in the UK.

In a strategic move to attract essential healthcare professionals, the UK government has exempted NHS staff and their dependents from the IHS, even after the policy changes in 2024. This exemption is a nod to their indispensable contribution to the healthcare sector and is designed to make the UK an attractive destination for skilled healthcare workers. By exempting these individuals from the IHS, the government demonstrates its commitment to bolstering the NHS and acknowledges the crucial role of health and care workers in maintaining public health.

The exemption of individuals under the Ukraine Scheme from the IHS is a pivotal element of the UK’s humanitarian response to the crisis in Ukraine. By foregoing the IHS for these applicants, the UK government aims to alleviate financial barriers, facilitating refuge and resettlement for those affected by the conflict. This policy forms part of a larger strategy to provide tangible support to those in need due to global crises.

Given the unique nature of every individual’s circumstances, obtaining legal advice during this transitional phase is crucial. Legal experts can offer vital assistance, helping applicants adjust to the increased financial demands of the IHS. Their services encompass evaluating different visa categories and their IHS charges, advising on optimal application timings to minimise the rate increase’s effects, exploring potential exemptions, and ensuring full compliance with the new regulations.

This guide is intended for general information purposes. Individuals impacted by the upcoming migration policy changes are encouraged to consult with legal experts. For further details, visit Osbourne Pinner.


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