Why it is important for UK Immigrants to act early
News is now circulating about the imminent and substantial increase in the immigration health surcharge. Therefore, now is the opportune moment for individuals residing in the UK or planning to move here soon. Certainly, candidates need to explore the possibility of submitting early applications. The surge in fees for instance, is expected to elevate from £624 to £1,035 per year for most applicants and from £470 to £776 per year for children, students, and student dependants.
Health Surcharge Timeline
Thus, keeping track of the timeline for the health surcharge increase is crucial. The Delegated Legislation Committee is scheduled to debate the draft Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 on Wednesday. While the House of Lords has already given its approval, the House of Commons is yet to vote. Second, the order will come into force 21 days after ministerial approval. Third, with over three weeks before the potential increase takes effect, it is prudent for individuals to consider the option of an early application.
What is the impact of the Health Surcharge Increase?
The impact of this fee hike is substantial. For instance, the cost of a spouse entry clearance application is set to rise from £3,718 to £4,951. Similarly, a five-year UK Ancestry visa, currently priced at £3,757, is projected to soar to £5,812. This then, emphasizes the urgency for affected individuals to evaluate the feasibility of early applications whilst also meeting the eligibility criteria.
Why is timing crucial?
For those contemplating a move to the UK, assessing the timing of their application is critical. By way of example, spouse visa applicants based on employment must consider the four-month waiting period. Moreover they must ensure their employment has been held for at least six months. Skilled Workers, on the other hand, must follow the three-month rule. It means applying no earlier than three months before the job start date. Additionally, they need a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued in the last three months.
Furthermore, individuals already here with permission to stay can explore an early application option reducing the price hike’s impact. Importantly, here is no 28-day limitation for applying for limited leave before the expiry of current leave. Indeed, this is a common misconception. While guidance suggests applying within 28 days, it’s important to note that it’s not a legal requirement.
The 28-day myth stems from the fact that the Home Office may add a maximum of 28 days to the period of leave being granted. However this is if an application is granted while the applicant still has extant leave. Conversely, applying too early may have consequences, potentially resulting in the need for additional applications and incuring higher costs in the long run.
In conclusion, staying informed about the immigration health surcharge increase and its potential impact is vital. Taylor Hampton Solicitors encourages individuals to carefully assess their circumstances. They propose that where applicable, consider making early applications to navigate these changes effectively. As the landscape of immigration policies evolves, our commitment remains steadfast in providing timely and relevant updates to empower our clients in their immigration journey. Leena Chouhan is Head of Immigration at Taylor Hampton and can be contacted on 0044 207 427 5972