UK Visa Fee Increases for Students and Workers

UK Visa Fees for Students and Skilled Workers Rise, Effective Oct 4

Starting October 4, the fees for UK visas are set to increase for students, skilled workers, and immigrants. The new fee structure will see a 20% rise in the cost of family, settlement, and citizenship visas, with a corresponding 15% increase for work and visit visas. For instance, settlement fees will rise from approximately £2,400 to £2,900. Additionally, the health surcharge is slated to increase by 66% to £1,035 annually, with the exact date to be confirmed.

Specifically, student visa fees, including those for child students and dependents, will experience a 35% increase from £363 to £490. However, no fee adjustments will apply to short-term courses lasting between 6 and 11 months. For skilled workers, the visa fee for those with a certificate of sponsorship for three years or less will rise from £625 to £719. If the sponsorship certificate exceeds three years, the immigration fee will increase from £1,235 to £1,420, reflecting a 15% increase. Similarly, fees for skilled workers in shortage occupations will see a 15% increase, from £479 to £551 for three years or less, and from £943 to £1,084 for sponsorship certificates exceeding three years.
The overall fee hikes include a 15% increase for work and visitor visas, a 20% increase for family visas, settlement, and citizenship, and a substantial 66% increase in the immigration health surcharge.

These adjustments impact various categories, such as a three-year Skilled Worker visa in a shortage occupation, which will cost approximately £2,350 in application fees and surcharge. After both increases, the combined cost will amount to £3,650 (excluding employer levy and sponsorship certificate). Settlement fees are increasing from around £2,400 to £2,900.

The history of UK immigration fees reflects a significant increase over the past two decades. Previously, a student visa cost £33, and there were no charges for visa extensions, work permits, or settlements until 2003. Initial citizenship and visa fees, once affordable, now stand at £2,400 for applications to stay permanently in the UK.

In addition to the headline application fees, there is an annual immigration health premium of £624 for visas and extensions. Work permits also incur an employer charge of up to £1,000 annually. Previous costs for a five-year employment visa totaled around £7,000, while a two-and-a-half-year partner visa amounted to £3,400.

Comparative research from 2021 by the Royal Society reveals that UK immigration expenses surpass those in several other countries, including Canada, Germany, France, and the USA. The initial cost of a UK Skilled Worker visa, at £9,700, is reported to be 790% higher than the mean total upfront costs across other countries.

Source: Financial Express