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UK Announces Visa Fee Hike Effective October 4

The British government is set to implement a proposed visa fee hike starting Wednesday, October 4.

The British government is set to implement a proposed visa fee hike starting Wednesday, October 4. This increase will impact travelers worldwide, including Indians, who wish to visit or study in the UK.

Visa Fee Adjustments:

As per the legislation tabled in Parliament last month, the changes include:

  • Visit visas for under six months will see an increase of £15 in their application fee.
  • Student visas, applied for from outside the UK, will become £127 more expensive. This increase is aimed at equalizing the fee with in-country student visa applications.

Rationale Behind the Fee Increase:

The UK Home Office has explained that these changes are necessary to fund vital public services and contribute to public sector pay. 

The move follows an announcement by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in July, stating that visa fees and health surcharges for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) would rise significantly.

Significant Fee Adjustments:

  • The fee changes involve a 15 percent increase in the cost of most work and visit visas.
  • Study visas, Priority visas, and sponsorship certificates will increase by at least 20 percent.

Impact Across Visa Categories:

These fee hikes will apply across various visa categories, including:

  • Visit visas for different durations (up to six months, two, five, and ten years)
  • Majority of fees for entry clearance and certain leave-to-remain applications (including work and study)
  • Fees for indefinite leave to enter and remain
  • Health and care visas
  • Fees related to certificates of sponsorship and confirmation of acceptance for studies
  • Applications for registering and naturalizing as a British Citizen

A proposed increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to support the NHS is expected to be introduced later this year.

Government’s Perspective:

The Home Office emphasized that the income generated from these fees is crucial in sustaining the UK’s immigration and nationality system. 

The adjustments aim to reduce the financial burden on British taxpayers while maintaining an attractive service for those looking to work and study in the UK.

Criticism and Concerns:

However, the fee hikes have faced criticism from groups like the UK’s Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. 

They argue that increasing visa fees during a cost-of-living crisis is unfair and leaves families struggling to afford essentials. 

High visa costs can lead to financial challenges for individuals and families trying to make the UK their home.

The fee adjustments are part of broader changes in immigration and visa policies in the UK as the government seeks to balance its budget and meet increased demands on public services.

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