Sanwar Ali: Immigration Health Surcharge increase 1 October 2020


Boris Johnson visits the Jenner Institute, Oxford where coronavirus research is carried out 18 September 2020


Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

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By Sanwar Ali:

Update: Please note that that the start date for the Immigration Health Surcharge increase to £624 per year, in most cases, is now 27 October 2020

If you wish to apply for a UK visa you should consider submitting your application by the end of September 2020.  We understand that you need to make sure that you have submitted your online application and paid the Immigration Health Surcharge fee by 30 September 2020 to come under the lower fee scale.  From 1 October 2020 there will be a huge increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge for most cases from £400 a year to £624 a year.  The original cost was £200 a year in 2015.  This already doubled to £400 a year on 8 January 2019.  It will be even higher from 1 October 2020.

The Immigration Health Surcharge needs to be paid by most migrants who are applying for temporary status in the UK for longer than six months.  Those affected by the increase in the fee include Tier 2 visa, Tier 5 visa, Tier 4 visa, Spouse visa applicants, etc.  From 1 January 2021 newly arriving EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will have to pay the increased immigration health surcharge.  It should be noted that you need to pay for the immigration health surcharge in advance for the duration of the visa.

Immigration Health Surcharge increase for family of four

The fees below may be relevant, for example, in a situation where you have a family of four coming under the Tier 2 General visa scheme.  The rate for children under 18 years of age from 1 October 2020 is £470 a year.  Below are the changes in the health surcharge fee for a five year visa for a family of four including two children.

Paid with five year visa now: £8000

Paid with five year visa from 1 October 2020: £10,940

Lower Immigration Health Surcharge fees for children and Tier 4 visa students

All children under the age of 18 years of age will pay the lower rate of £470 a year as will Tier 4 visa students and Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa applicants.

NHS exemption to the Immigration Health Surcharge

Following a great deal of bad publicity in the media during the coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown the Boris Johnson Government did a u-turn and exempted NHS workers from the surcharge.  All NHS workers including health and social care staff are exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).  Also, staff in companies providing services to the NHS are also exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge. 

Immigration Health Surcharge controversial

This fee remains a controversial fee as migrants are already typically taxed when they come to the UK.  They come under the income tax and National Insurance scheme.  So migrants are already paying for the NHS via the taxes that they pay.  On top of this they have to also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which by 1 October 2020 would have more than tripled in cost for most people since it was first introduced in 2015. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice on Tier 2 Sponsor Licences, UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail)