Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Immigration health surcharge rise to come into effect no earlier than 16 January 2024


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On 16 January 2024 or later, the immigration health surcharge will increase from £470 per year to £776 per year for children, students, their dependants and youth mobility workers. The charge will increase from £624 per year to a whopping £1,035 per year for everyone else. We now have confirmation of these details as the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 which provides for the increase to the immigration health surcharge has been laid. The increase will come into force on the later of 16th January 2024 or the twenty-first day after the day on which it is made. The Order needs to be approved by both Houses of Parliament.

The history of the charge is set out in detail in the equality impact assessment, which states that:

The increase continues to deliver the 2019 manifesto commitment to ensure that the Health Charge reflects the full cost to the NHS of treating Health Charge payers. The increases to the Health Charge will ensure that the full cost of providing NHS services for those who pay the Health Charges are covered.

The original announcement of the fee increase said that it would be used to fund public sector pay increases but that reason appears to have been dropped after concerns were raised about its legality. Colin has gone into detail here about how unacceptable the size of these fees are. A reminder, as ever, that our guide on making fee waiver applications is here.

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Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan is an experienced immigration, asylum and public law solicitor. She has been practising for over ten years and was previously legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and legal and policy director at Rainbow Migration. Sonia is the Editor of Free Movement.