The United Kingdom government has announced it will be increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge, a fee that is applicable to those applying for a UK visa and will take effect from December 2018.

The announcement for the possible increase was made by the UK government in February 2018 and has been finalised to take effect by the UK Home Office in December, subject to the final approval from Parliament.

The Immigration Health Surcharge provides funds towards the National Health Service that applicants will be able to access, once they are living in the UK and have been granted their visa.

Applicants must pay for an Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their process to obtaining a UK visa. Applicants must also meet the following criteria; be nationals from a country outside of the European Economic Area, applying for a visa to work, study or join family in the UK for more than six months or be applying for a UK ancestry visa lasting five years.

Individuals applying for a visitors visa are exempted from paying the surcharge.

Currently, South Africans pay an estimated R 3765  (£200) as part of their immigration visa application, the increase will see the cost rise to a staggering R 7530 (£ 400).

UK Government estimates that an average of R 8848 (£470) is spent by individuals who are required to pay the health surcharge fee once in the country. The increase is estimated to add a whopping £220-million into the pockets of the UK National Health Service.

Those filing for a UK ancestry visa to reside in the country for five years, will fork out a huge sum of R37 652 (£2000) for the Immigration Health Surcharge. Applicants applying for a student visa or youth mobility visa will pay a discounted rate of R5647  (£300) as of December 2018.

Breytenbach’s Immigration Consultants explained more about the health surcharge in a statement.

“Persons applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship do not have to pay the immigration health surcharge. Vulnerable groups, such as slavery victims and asylum seekers are exempt,” said the Breytenbach’s Immigration Consultants statement.

South Africans are urged to get their UK visa applications in before December 2018, to avoid paying the high costs that will soon be implemented.

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Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about social issues, the environment and current affairs.