United Kingdom to increase visa fees, health charges for migrants
The United Kingdom said it will ‘significantly’ increase visa fees and immigration health surcharge (IHS) to help fund pay increases in its public sector.
This news was contained in an address to the press in London and capture by our media team.
“First we are going to increase the charges that we have for migrants who are coming to this country when they apply for visas and indeed something called the immigration health surcharge which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at a press conference.
He said if the government is to prioritize paying public sector workers more, the money had to come from somewhere else because he is not prepared to increase people’s taxes and does not think it would be responsible or right to borrow more as it would only worsen inflation.
“All of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over a billion pounds. Across the board visa application fees are gonna go up significantly and similarly for the immigration health surcharge for migrants who are coming to this country legally……,” Mr Sunak added.
He noted that it is the appropriate thing to do so as neither of these fees has been increased in recent times even as general costs have continued to increase, adding that it is a significant contribution to helping the government pay public sector workers.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Public sector workers in the UK including teacher s and health workers have recently embarked on strikes demanding a pay increase. Accepting the recommendation of the independent pay review body, the government has now agreed to pay increase of between 5 – 7 %.
This pay increase will be funded by foreigners coming to the UK through increased visa feed and health surcharged, the prime minister said.
The surcharge is currently £470 per year for students and those on Youth Mobility Scheme visas and £624 per year for all other visa and immigration applications. The same amount must be paid for any dependents.
This will now increase following the prime ministers’ announcement.
Junior doctors in the UK embarked on a five – day strike starting Thursday last week being July 13, 2023. It will go down as the longest yet.
They are demanding an increase of about 35 per cent and will return to wards on Tuesdays this week. This is coming after months of wrangling between the NHS, unions and the government over pay increases.
The prime minister announced an increase of between 5 to six per cent noting that it was final and no amount of strikes will change it.
The British Medical Association said the government was “driving doctors away” from the health service and had missed an opportunity to put a credible pay offer on the table to end strikes.
Nigerian migrant health workers and other migrant health workers will also be affected by this development . there are about 11, 000 Nigerian-trained doctors in the UK, according to the UK General Medical Council.
Nigerians make up the third-highest number of foreign doctors working in the United Kingdom. The top countries are India and Pakistan.
Lastly, according to the UK government, pay for junior doctors will be increased by an average of around 8.8 per cent. It will be uplifted by between 8.1 and 10.3 per cent depending on where they are in their training.
This falls substantially below the 35 per cent pay increase demand made by junior doctors.