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UK Visa Fees and Health Surcharge Set to Rise: PM Rishi Sunak

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UK Visa Fees and Health Surcharge Set to Rise: PM Rishi Sunak

(CTN News) – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that fees and health surcharges paid by visa applicants to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) will be increased significantly.

The move aims to cover the country’s public sector wage increase without resorting to higher government borrowing. Rishi Sunak emphasized the need to find alternative funding sources to avoid exacerbating inflation.

The higher charges for migrants and visa applicants are expected to generate over GBP 1 billion. This decision comes as the government faces pressure regarding public sector pay, with strikes affecting schools and hospitals.

Impact on Migrants and Visa Applicants: Higher Charges Expected

The UK’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS) is set to raise fees and health surcharges paid by visa applicants, including Indians, to meet the country’s public sector wage increase.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed a 5 to 7 percent hike across the board for teachers, police, junior doctors, and other public sector workers.

Rishi Sunak clarified that the increased costs would not lead to higher government borrowing, as it could contribute to inflation.

Instead, the additional funds would need to be obtained from other sources. One such measure includes raising charges for migrants applying for visas and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which grants access to the NHS.

The Prime Minister stated that visa application fees and the IHS would both see significant increases to raise over GBP 1 billion in revenue.

Rishi Sunak defended this decision by highlighting that these fees had not been raised recently, and the government believes it is appropriate given the rising costs since the last hike.

Sunak explained that the government would ask its departments to “reprioritize” rather than cut jobs and services. This approach would involve a realignment of focus toward different priorities.

The IHS, which applies to long-term migrants to the UK, including students, at a discounted rate, currently starts at around GBP 470 per year and increases to several thousand pounds for multiple-year visa applications.

Final Offer and End of Negotiations: Prime Minister’s Rishi Sunak Stance on Pay Settlements

The UK Home Office is expected to provide detailed information on the specific visa categories that will face increases and when the new rates will come into effect.

The Conservative Party-led government under Sunak has faced significant pressure and disputes over public sector pay, resulting in strikes in schools and hospitals over the past year. Junior doctors in England, for instance, began a five-day strike after their demands for a 35 percent pay increase were rejected.

In response to ongoing strikes, Rishi Sunak emphasized that the wage offer presented was “final” and that further industrial action would not change the decision.

He stated that there would be no more negotiations on pay settlements for this year, emphasizing that the settlement reached was fair for workers and taxpayers alike.

Sunak welcomed the support of teachers’ unions and expressed hope that the government’s offer would lead to the end of strike action and a return to normal relations.

Conclusion:

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a significant increase in visa fees and health surcharges paid by applicants to the UK’s NHS. The move is intended to cover the country’s public sector wage increase without resorting to additional government borrowing.

Sunak’s decision reflects the government’s effort to address public sector pay disputes and strikes. The details regarding which visa categories will face fee hikes and the implementation timeline are yet to be released by the UK Home Office.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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