UK To Increase Visa Fees, Health Charges For Immigrants

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In a bid to secure funds for pay raises in the public sector, the United Kingdom has declared its intention to raise visa fees and immigration health surcharges (IHS) by a considerable margin.

UK To Increase Visa Fees, Health Charges For Immigrants
UK PM, Rishi Sunak

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, unveiled this plan during a press conference held at Downing Street on Thursday.

During the press conference, Prime Minister Sunak highlighted the need to increase charges for migrants applying for visas, along with the immigration health surcharge that grants access to the National Health Service (NHS).

He emphasized that if the government intends to prioritize higher wages for public sector employees, alternative funding sources are required. Prime Minister Sunak firmly asserted that increasing taxes or borrowing more funds would neither be responsible nor appropriate, as such measures would only exacerbate inflation.

“With these fee adjustments, we expect to raise over a billion pounds. Visa application fees across the board will experience significant increases, as will the immigration health surcharge for migrants entering the country legally,” stated Prime Minister Sunak.

He further justified these measures by noting that neither of these fees has been adjusted in recent times, despite the steady rise in general costs. Prime Minister Sunak affirmed that this step would make a substantial contribution to supporting the government’s efforts to compensate public sector workers adequately.

In recent times, public sector workers in the UK, including teachers and health workers, have initiated strikes demanding pay increases. In response to the recommendations made by an independent pay review body, the government has now agreed to raise wages by a range of five to seven percent.

The announced pay raise will be funded through the increased visa fees and health surcharges paid by foreigners entering the UK, according to the prime minister.

Currently, the surcharge stands at £470 per year for students and those on Youth Mobility Scheme visas, while all other visa and immigration applications require payment of £624 per year. The same amounts must be paid for any dependents. However, following the prime minister’s announcement, these charges will see an upward adjustment.

Reports indicate that junior doctors in the UK had initiated a five-day strike, marking their longest strike to date. The doctors are demanding a pay increase of approximately 35 percent. This strike follows months of negotiations between the National Health Service (NHS), unions, and the government regarding wage adjustments.

Prime Minister Sunak announced a wage increase ranging from five to six percent, emphasizing that this decision is final and that no amount of strikes will alter it.

The British Medical Association criticized the government for driving doctors away from the health service and missing an opportunity to present a credible pay offer that would resolve the ongoing strikes.

This development will also affect Nigerian migrant health workers and other migrant health professionals. The UK General Medical Council reports that there are approximately 11,000 Nigerian-trained doctors working in the UK, making Nigerians the third-highest group of foreign doctors in the country, after India and Pakistan.

According to the UK government, pay for junior doctors will increase by an average of around 8.8 percent, with specific adjustments ranging from 8.1 to 10.3 percent based on the doctors’ training level. This falls considerably short of the junior doctors’ demand for a 35 percent pay increase. UK To Increase Visa Fees, Health Charges For Immigrants

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