Increases to Visa Fees to be implemented next month
15th September, 2023
Following legislation laid in Parliament, the Home Office has announced increases to immigration and nationality fees which are set to come into effect on 4 October 2023.
These increases will affect employers, visa applicants and their families.
The Home Office statement confirms that the fee increases have been brought in to pay for vital services and allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises. Whilst income from visa fees no doubt plays a vital role in the Home Office’s ability to run a sustainable immigration and nationality system, many commentators have highlighted the fact that the UK’s visa fees are already amongst the highest in the world. Further, during a cost of living crisis, the fee rises announced are likely to cause financial challenges to both individuals and businesses.
The new fee increases are significant. For example, the fees for most Skilled Worker visa applications are increasing by 15% whilst those applying for indefinite leave to enter or remain will see increases of up to 20%. We set out the headline percentage increases in the table below.
|Most visit visas
|Up to 15%
|Most Skilled Worker visa applications
|Indefinite leave to remain applications
|Up to 20%
|Health and Care Skilled Worker visas
|Most Certificates of Sponsorship
The cost for most of the priority services for visa applications (both inside and out of the UK) is also set to rise.
What can businesses do to prepare?
- Accelerate any pending visa applications to take advantage of the current lower fees, submitting applications before the increases take effect on 4 October 2023;
- Make budgetary preparations now to take account of the increased visa fees for future recruitment and talent acquisition;
- Consider what approach to take in relation to supporting employees with the visa application costs for themselves (and their families) going forwards. Businesses may want to think about supporting employees by way of contributing to these costs to avoid the risk of losing key talent and strategic hires. This might be by way of salary advances, loans or simply paying for these costs on their behalf. Employers will need to be mindful of any associated employment law implications of these arrangements;
- Where employers will be paying fees on applicants’ behalf they may want to consider implementing clawback agreements to recover some/all of the associated visa costs if employees leave employment within an agreed period after the visa is approved. Again, employers will need to consider the employment law implications and requirements for such arrangements.
Further fee increases
The Government has confirmed that the proposed increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge will now not take effect until the end of 2023/beginning of 2024 at the earliest as these changes will need prior Parliamentary approval.
For more information and advice, please contact one of our expert Immigration Solicitors.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
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