UK might increase health surcharge and visa fee

Picture source - Reuters
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The National Health Service (NHS), in which visa applicants are required to pay a health surcharge, may soon see its fee raised, according to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, to keep up with the nation’s public sector wage growth.

The Indian-origin PM was under pressure, it was revealed, to accept the request for an independent evaluation of the pay for police, teachers, young physicians, and other government personnel.

He has officially announced a rise of 5% to 7% for all departments.

Sunak promised that this hike would not be funded by additional taxes because doing so would worsen the nation’s inflation situation. Therefore, the expenses (visa fee) will be compensated from another source.

He said, “If we’re going to prioritize paying public sector workers more, that money has to come from somewhere else because I’m not prepared to put people’s taxes up and I don’t think it would be responsible or right to borrow more because that would just make inflation worse.”

Sunak was speaking to reporters at a press conference at Downing Street.

He stated that there are two ways to pay for this expense, including the visa costs and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a tax that immigrants must pay to use the NHS. Sunak estimates that this will bring in about £1 billion.

He claimed that the hike was warranted because the visa costs hadn’t been increased in a while and that it was also appropriate given the recent rise in prices in general.

The exact breakdown of which visa categories will see price increases and when they will take effect will be announced by the UK Home Office in the upcoming months.