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Immigration Health Surcharge to double in December 2018

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration


The Home Office announced on 11 October that the cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge is to double for most applicants to £400 per year, with this likely to take effect in December. There will continue to be a reduced rate payable for students and participants in the Youth Mobility Scheme.

This increase was widely expected from previous announcements. The Immigration Minister advised in a statement that this was fair and good value for those staying temporarily in the UK. An estimate was provided that, at present, the NHS spends £470 per person per year on treating those who are required to pay the surcharge.

The health surcharge is currently paid by each applicant when seeking to remain in the UK for more than six months and applies equally to dependants. A family of five people currently need to pay £1,000 per year of residence in the UK which, from December, will become £2,000. The rise in the health surcharge is in line with previous increases in application fees and the introduction of the Immigration Skills Charge in 2017. Application fees for long-term assignments to the UK with dependants now regularly exceed £10,000, payable before a visa application may be considered.

Employers should note the increase and, if possible, try to ensure applicants make the necessary request for entry clearance or leave to remain before this change is implemented. More generally, the cost of immigration applications is increasingly a factor in the length of assignments. Proper consideration must be given by HR teams to the full cost of application fees at the outset of a recruitment process and there should be clear, consistent policies about the circumstances in which the employer is to pay or loan the cost of application fees if not already obliged to do so. Given the current scale of the costs, checking that a potential assignee has funds to meet the cost of the visa application fee and health surcharge before confirming an offer of employment may also be appropriate.