2024 Immigration Health Surcharge Increase: Osbourne Pinner’s Guide

Press Release: December 15, 2023

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2024 Immigration Health Surcharge Increase: Osbourne Pinner’s Guide
LONDON, UK. 15th December 2023 – Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, a leading law firm based in London, is dedicated to guiding clients through the upcoming changes in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). With the 2024 IHS rate increase approaching, the firm recognises the complexities and challenges this change presents. They are committed to providing essential support to individuals and families who are planning to move to the UK or extend their stay.


The impending increase in IHS rates is likely to cause confusion and concern among prospective immigrants. In response, Osbourne Pinner offers comprehensive guidance and clear information, helping those affected navigate the intricacies of the new regulations. 


As we approach the 2024 IHS increase, it’s more important than ever for potential immigrants to understand the financial implications of these changes. The new IHS rates represent a significant shift in the cost of migrating to the UK, and it’s essential to be prepared for this.


The IHS is a required fee for immigrants to help support the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), allowing them the same healthcare access as UK residents. 


The fee varies based on different groups: adults, children under 18, students and Youth Mobility visa applicants, with each group paying a rate specific to their category. Currently, the standard rate is £624 annually for most adults, while students, Youth Mobility visa holders and individuals under 18 are charged £470 each year.


From 16th January 2024, the IHS rates will increase rapidly, representing a significant financial adjustment for prospective visa applicants. The reason for this is an attempt to manage migration effectively, with the health surcharge increasing from £624 to £1,035. 


This increase is also intended to ensure that migrants contribute fairly to the costs of public services, particularly the NHS, and prevent any undue strain on these resources. Osbourne Pinner offers expert guidance and advice on what exactly this will mean for individuals and families hoping to move to the UK. 


For example, for a family of five applying for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK under the new IHS rates, the total cost would be £25,875. 


This calculation assumes the new rate of £1,035 per person per year, applied to both the main applicant and four dependents, over the typical 5-year duration of the visa. This clearly highlights the significant financial planning required for applicants under the new policy.


The increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will also notably impact sponsors, such as businesses and family members, who support visa applicants coming to the UK. The new rates mean a greater financial commitment for sponsors, particularly in cases where they agree to cover the IHS as part of the sponsorship. For businesses, this could mean higher costs when hiring international talent, potentially affecting their recruitment strategies. 


Similarly, family sponsors might face increased financial strain, especially when supporting multiple family members. This change could lead sponsors to reassess their capacity to support immigrants, possibly influencing their decisions about whom and how many to sponsor.


The upcoming increase in the IHS is set to significantly impact families, particularly those applying for spouse visas. The financial burden of these changes can be daunting for families planning to reunite or settle in the UK. 


The UK government has exempted healthcare workers from the IHS as a strategic move to encourage vital professionals to work in the UK. 


When the policy changes in 2024, NHS staff and their dependents will still maintain their exemption from the IHS. This exemption acknowledges their essential contribution to the healthcare sector and aims to make the UK an appealing destination for these skilled workers. 


By waiving the IHS for these individuals, the government demonstrates its commitment to strengthening the National Health Service (NHS) and highlights the value it places on the health and care workers’ role in maintaining public health. This policy is a clear effort to support and enhance the healthcare system by attracting and retaining essential healthcare talent.


The exemption of individuals applying under the Ukraine Scheme from the IHS is a critical aspect of the UK’s humanitarian response to the crisis in Ukraine. This policy decision reflects the UK’s commitment to providing aid and support to those directly impacted by the conflict. 


By not implementing the IHS rates for these applicants, the UK government aims to reduce the financial burden. This could then remove any barriers that might prevent affected individuals from seeking refuge or resettlement in the UK. This exemption is a part of a broader strategy to offer practical support and assistance to those in dire need due to international crises.


Every individual’s situation is unique and requires specific analysis by a legal professional, which is why seeking legal advice during this period of change is crucial. Legal experts can offer invaluable guidance and support, helping applicants navigate the increased financial demands of the IHS. They are skilled in advising on effective strategies to minimise the surcharge’s impact on families, a concern that is understandably significant.


These legal services extend to evaluating different visa types and their associated IHS charges, as well as advising on the optimal time to apply to mitigate the effects of the rate increase. Additionally, legal professionals can explore potential exemptions and ensure that visa applications are fully compliant with the new regulations.


This guide is for general informational purposes. For those affected by the upcoming changes in migration policies, it’s advisable to consult with legal experts. For more information, visit Osbourne Pinner.

ENDS


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