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UK Immigration Health Surcharge Hike 6 Feb 2024

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By Sanwar Ali:

UK Immigration Health Surcharge Set for Significant Increase in February 2024: A Critical Analysis


The UK Parliament has approved an increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), effective from 6 February 2024. This decision, part of the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2024, represents an enormous increase in the financial requirements for those looking to live, work, or study in the UK.

Understanding the Immigration Health Surcharge

The IHS is a mandatory fee for most visa applicants, it is claimed to supplement the funding of the National Health Service (NHS). Visa holders have access to NHS services on the same terms as UK residents. This fee, paid upfront for the total visa period, is a requirement for visa approval.

Details of the Increase

From 6 February 2024, the standard IHS rate for adults will rise from £624 to £1,035 per year, a 66% increase. For children under 18, students, and Youth Mobility Scheme applicants, the rate will go up from £470 to £776 per year, a 65% increase.

Table of IHS Increases

Applicant CategoryPrevious Rate (per year)New Rate from February 2024 (per year)Percentage Increase
Children under 18£470£77665%
Students and Youth Mobility£470£77665%

Critical Analysis: Potential Motive and Double Payment

The substantial increase in the IHS could be viewed as an effort to curb immigration by escalating costs for migrants, aligning with broader immigration control measures. The concept of "double payment" is a critical point of contention. Migrants contribute to the UK economy through taxes and yet are required to pay the IHS as well, effectively paying twice for healthcare.

Broader Impacts and Comparative Perspective

The hike could affect sectors reliant on overseas talent, potentially leading to skill shortages or increased operational costs. A comparison of health care costs for migrants in other countries suggest that the UK's policy is unusually stringent.

Recommendations for a Balanced Approach

The government might consider mitigating mechanisms for certain groups and increased transparency about the utilization of these funds within the NHS.


The increase in the UK's IHS is a policy change with far-reaching implications. It raises concerns about fairness and the UK's attractiveness as a destination for international talent and students. This is likely a political decision designed to reduce immigration and gain votes.

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