Nigerians, and other foreign nationals coming into the United Kingdom will have to pay more for visa applications.
Also, the Immigration Health Surcharge paid by immigrants applying for visas will “increase significantly”, the United Kingdom has said.
The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, made the announcement on the increase in visa application fees on Thursday.
The prime minister said the increase would help bridge the gap after the country approved a pay increase in public sector wages.
He explained that the increment in visa applications and NHS surcharge had become imperative since the fees have not been increased recently.
He said, “If we’re going to prioritise paying public sector workers more, that money has to come from somewhere else because I’m not prepared to put up people’s taxes and I don’t think it would be responsible or right to borrow more because that would just make inflation worse.
“So, what we have done are two things to find this money. The first is, we are going to increase the charges that we have for migrants who are coming to this country when they apply for visas and indeed something called the immigration health surcharge (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS.
“All of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over £1 billion. So, across the board visa application fees are going to go up significantly and similarly for the IHS,” he said after announcing a wage increase.”
The surcharge – paid as part of a visa application – will go up to £1,035, while the cost of work and visit visas will go up by 15 percent.
The cost of study visas, certificates of sponsorship, wide entry clearance, leave-to-remain and priority visas, and others, will rise by at least 20 percent.
More than one million public sector workers, including teachers, police and doctors, have been offered pay rises of between 5 per cent – 7 per cent, the government says.
Under the proposals, police and prison officers in England and Wales would receive a 7 per cent pay rise, while teachers and junior doctors in England would get 6.5 per cent and 6per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, some social media users have faulted the move, saying increment in application fee is not the ‘lasting solution’ to the issue.
A twitter user with the username @taadelodun urged prospective applicants to brace up and prepare for the increment.
“This is not good news to visa applicants, please prepare for it. Especially those with family. It will cost a lot more, if you are here already, start working on building your credit from day one, see if you could have access to some finance by the time,” he wrote.
Also, Chiedozie Hez with the username @ChiedozieHez, while faulting the increment, described the decision by the British PM as “out of touch”.
He said, “Unfortunately, I find this decision by @RishiSunak very out of touch. As an academic, I know that most of our Universities in the U.K. will not survive without the foreign students who come to study here at a much higher cost than locals.
“The cost of visas are already high, these immigrants get jobs and pay taxes as well and most never have to use the health services.
“In a world that has become more open and welcoming to foreigners, U.K. is misaligning itself and will surely become weaker.
“Considering that the prospects of most students finding jobs here is slim, why would they choose to study here? This is a question we must answer.
“Targeting foreigners with the financial burden of the U.K. is not a lasting solution and U.K. will loose out. I hope that this can be re-thought and fixed asap to avoid its consequences.”