Overall cost of a UK Visa for Indian and Non-EU citizens will rise from Tuesday as part of plans to raise Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is payable when students, professionals and family members apply for visa.
IHS, introduced in 2015, enables migrants to access National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK.
Since 2015, surcharge has raised over £600 million from Indian and non-EU citizens with UK visas valid for over six months.
A Home Office spokesperson told Hindustan Times on Monday that,“We can confirm that the Immigration Health Surcharge will be doubled on 8 January 2019. The surcharge will rise from £200 to £400 per year, with the discounted rate for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme increasing from £150 to £300”.
He further added that,“Migrants who make an application on or after January 8, 2019 will pay the new surcharge rate”.
The price hike will affect all visa applicants from India: professionals, students as well as family members. An Indian professional with a family of four, for example, moving to the UK to take up a job, will pay £1600 per year, besides other visa-related costs.
IHS is not levied on immigrants who achieve the status of permanent residents after a period of legal stay in the country.
IHS hike has been opposed by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Bapio), which wrote to home secretary Sajid Javid to drop it.
Bapio, which has been coordinating with health authorities to meet NHS shortages by recruiting from India on an ‘Earn, Learn and Return’ basis, said: “We believe a further charge of £200 per head is unfair and discriminatory”.