July 14, (THEWILL) – The United Kingdom has announced plans to increase visa fee for applicants from across the world.
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who confirmed the increase, said those who intend to visit the country will now have to pay more, as the fees and health surcharge paid towards the UK’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS) by visa applicants are set to rise “significantly”.
Sunak, who spoke on Thursday, during a Downing Street press conference, said migrants will also pay more for visa applications.
“If we’re going to prioritise paying public sector workers more, that money has to come from somewhere else because I’m not prepared to put up people’s taxes and I don’t think it would be responsible or right to borrow more because that would just make inflation worse.
“So, what we have done are two things to find this money. The first is, 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 (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS.
“All of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over £1 billion. So, across the board visa application fees are going to go up significantly and similarly for the IHS”, Sunak said, adding that this was “entirely right” as these fees have not been increased recently.
He said the government believes it is appropriate, given that the costs have risen since the last hike.
According to Sunak, the move will have no effect on inflation because there would be no new borrowing or spending to fund the increases.
“Teachers’ pay rises would be funded by a reallocation of the existing department budget”, he said.
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