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In a recent turn of events, the anticipated 66% increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) has faced a delay. Originally scheduled for enforcement on 16 January 2024, the UK Government, following a House of Commons debate on 10 January 2024, has now deferred the increase to no earlier than 31 January 2024. This blog post, brought to you by Aspen Crown, delves into the details of the IHS, its impact, the substantial increase, and the rationale behind the government's decision. 
Understanding the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): 
The IHS is a mandatory payment accompanying most UK visa applications. Its purpose is to contribute to the costs of the National Health Service (NHS), making healthcare accessible to everyone residing in the UK. The concept revolves around the belief that migrants should share in the responsibility of sustaining the free healthcare available in the country. 
Who Does the IHS Affect? 
Typically, the IHS applies to individuals applying for entry clearance lasting 6 months or more or those applying within the UK for any duration. However, it does not apply to individuals seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK or naturalisation as British citizens. 
Current IHS Charges: 
As it stands, the IHS is £624 per adult applicant per year, aligned with the visa duration granted. Child applicants (under 18) are charged £470 per applicant for each year of the visa duration. The fee is a one-time payment during the online application submission. 
The 66% Increase: 
Following the postponed enforcement date, applicants will now face a significant 66% increase in IHS fees. Adult applicants can anticipate fees of £1,035 per year, up from the current £624, and child applicants will incur charges of £776 per year, increased from £470. 
Exemptions and Waivers: 
Certain categories of applicants are exempt from the IHS, including those under the EU Settlement Scheme, health and care workers, visitors, fiancé(e) visa applicants, and asylum seekers. Fee waivers are available for individuals who can demonstrate an inability to afford the IHS, requiring appropriate evidence. 
Impact on Migration: 
With the recent surge in application fees and the impending IHS increase, the overall affordability of UK visa applications is diminishing, particularly affecting employers and families. This trend may contribute to a decrease in net migration into the UK. 
How Aspen Crown Can Assist: 
Aspen Crown's Immigration Team, equipped with extensive experience in UK visa matters, is ready to provide guidance and support. If you have questions or concerns arising from these changes, do not hesitate to contact us for advice. 
The delay in the implementation of the increased Immigration Health Surcharge brings temporary relief, but the impending changes underscore the evolving landscape of UK immigration policies. Aspen Crown remains committed to keeping you informed and providing expert assistance to navigate these complex matters. For comprehensive legal advice, contact Aspen Crown for personalised support tailored to your unique situation. 
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